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Why The Med Tech In WandaVision Looks So Familiar

It's almost Friday night, which means the mood is getting right for another twist-filled episode of Marvel's gonzo Disney+ streamer WandaVision. And as far as "oh my god did that just happen" twists go, episode 5 of WandaVision — slyly named "On A Very Special Episode" — just dropped one that may well turn the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on its head. Don't worry, we have zero desire to spoil that neutron bomb of a twist for any of you, save to say that it involves an unexpected (and most welcome) cameo from a very familiar Marvel face. 

While it'll no doubt take MCU fans more than a few moments to catch their breath and process the implications of that "new" character's appearance on WandaVision, that actor's face isn't the only familiar one to turn up in the episode. In fact, we're betting some of the more sharp-eyed cineastes out there were quick to seize upon the face of the S.W.O.R.D. Med Tech, who opens the episode tending to the wounds of Teyonah Parris' Monica Rambeau after Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) sent her packing back to the real world at the end of episode 4. That face belongs to an up-and-coming triple-threat actor-writer-director and general cinematic jack of all trades Jenna Kanell. And while many of you might recognize her from her illuminating 2016 Ted Talk, it's far more likely you know her from dozens of memorable onscreen appearances in recent years.

Here's why Med Tech from WandaVision looks so familiar.

Jenna Kanell tangled with a most terrible clown in Terrifier

At the risk of oversimplifying humanity, there are really only two types of people in the world: Those who love the painted faces, giant shoes, and big red noses of clowns, and those who very much do not. 

If you count yourself among the former group, it's entirely possible that you also love a good clown-centric horror flick and have already endured the ghastly delights of 2016's splatterpunk classic Terrifier. If you're in the latter group, you'd do well to avoid Terrifier altogether as it has nothing to offer you other than a lifetime of nightmares and years of therapy. Even if clown horror is actually your bag, you should know Terrifier might still be a difficult watch, as it giddily pushes the boundaries of cinematic gore and good taste in general.

Warnings aside, we can confirm that Terrifier will also be a hell of a lot of fun for the right sort of viewer as its twisted, Halloween-set tale of party girls Tara and Dawn being terrorized by a psychotic, clown-faced killer (David Howard Thornton in a truly crazed performance) proves that more really is more when it comes to clown-centric horror. Yes, that was Jenna Kanell portraying one of the ill-fated party girls, Tara, opposite Catherine Corcoran's Dawn in Terrifier. And yes, she totally joined the Scream Queen Hall of Fame with her wonderful work in the film. 

Unfortunately, her Dawn was not the Final Girl Terrifier needed, and she eventually meets a horrible end in the film — though we can confirm her exit from Terrifier is far less gruesome than pretty much everyone else's. 

The Bye Bye Man found Jenna Kanell earning serious genre cred

After earning some serious genre street cred with her turn in the grisly Terrifier, Jenna Kanell followed up with 2017's supernatural creeper The Bye Bye Man. While it's a far tamer affair than Terrifier in virtually every way, The Bye Bye Man is no less unsettling in its overall effect, taking the tried-and-true urban legend horror subgenre for a ride that often goes off the rails in wonderfully horrifying fashion.

The tale this time around involves a group of college kids who find themselves in mortal peril after mentioning the titular baddie during a late-night séance. Once they've opened the door for the Bye Bye Man to step into their lives, his vile energy spreads like a disease, dooming all who mutter or even think his name to certain death. That setup doesn't exactly scream "wildly original," of course. But what The Bye Bye Man may lack in originality, it more than makes up for in mood and sinister spirit.

As for Jenna Kanell, she appears in the film as Kim, who sadly becomes one of the first of those college kids to fall victim to the Bye Bye Man and his curse. While Kanell's screen time may be a bit brief, she still brings the heat to her role, easily holding her own and even standing out among big-screen stalwarts like Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix), Doug Jones (The Shape of Water), Faye Dunaway (Bonnie and Clyde), and actor-director Leigh Whannell (UpgradeThe Invisible Man). 

Jenna Kanell proved her dramatic chops in The Front Runner

After cutting her teeth on that pair of horror flicks, Jenna Kanell stepped into the prestige picture spotlight in 2018 when she scored a supporting role in a scorching political drama from director Jason Reitman (JunoUp In the Air, the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife). That film was none other than the Hugh Jackman vehicle The Front Runner, which details the staggering fall from grace of U.S. Senator Gary Hart. If you're unfamiliar with that tale, Hart was indeed shaping up as the shoo-in to be nominated as the 1988 Democratic presidential candidate, but his campaign was upended in a matter of days after it was discovered he'd been having an extra-marital affair (probably).

Equal parts searing indictment of sex-obsessed reporters and stylish political thriller steeped in mood and pathos, The Front Runner features Jackman in top dramatic form, delivering a muted turn as Hart that probably should've earned a lot more notice during the 2018 awards season. Ditto for many of his high-profile co-stars including Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring), J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man), Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2), Alex Karpovsky (Girls), and of course Jenna Kanell, who steals several scenes as one of Gary Hart's most ambitious underlings, Ginny Terzano.

In truth, Kanell's character may be one of the most vital to the entire film, as her new-arrival status with the Hart campaign essentially serves as viewers' own entryway into the often sordid world of primetime politics. With such stellar work in her past, and a profile-raising spot in WandaVision, Hollywood is clearly starting to take notice of an actor very much on the rise.