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The Story Behind WandaVision's Hardest Hitting Quote

In the world of Marvel Cinematic Universe media, audiences come for the action and story and stay for the timeless quotes. Every movie and show has at least one iconic phrase that sticks in viewers' minds. Many flock to Iron Man's poignant statement of, "If you're nothing without the suit, then you shouldn't have it," in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Meanwhile, others rally behind the glorious Black Panther battle cry of, "Wakanda Forever!" And almost everyone giggles when Ant-Man says, "That's America's a**," in Avengers: Endgame. WandaVision carries on this proud tradition of spawning memorable phrases.

WandaVision's Gettysburg moment occurred during Episode 8 when Vision, trying to help Wanda Maximoff through grief, uttered, "What is grief, if not love persevering?" According to outlets such as Esquire, that quote has become the show's crowning achievement. After all, the show aired while the world was in the middle of a pandemic that caused an increase in depression (via The Washington Post). Viewers needed a good mood-boosting shot in the arm, and WandaVision delivered.

When tackling an issue like grief, you need to be surgical. Brute-forcing the message with a Hulk-sized fist is detrimental, so Vision's line is the result of much thought, and the story behind its development is fascinating. Not all quote crafting sessions can be as quick as the one behind "He's a friend from work."

WandaVision was always meant to hinge on that one line

In a recent interview with The New York Times, WandaVision creator Jac Schaeffer revealed many behind-the-scenes writer room stories, including how they perfected Vision's speech about grief. It all started with a vision (pardon the pun): Map the show to the stages of grief. On more than one occasion, a grief counselor visited the writer's room to discuss the subject.

From the start, Schaeffer had big plans for Vision's line. She described it as "the perfect distillation of the show," but even when the episode had been written, the writers still had to fine-tune the quote. So, they drew inspiration from Vision sayings of yore, such as, "A thing isn't beautiful because it lasts."

Schaeffer said that Vision's actor, Paul Bettany, was "really hungering for, what's the thing that Vision can say that will bring her comfort?" More importantly, how would he say it in a way that was pure Vision? The first draft of this hypothetical quote was, "What is grief but love surviving?" A solid attempt, but not quite there. Schaeffer's assistant, Laura Monti, apparently came up with the idea of replacing "surviving" with the synonym "persevering," and the rest fell into place.

Despite all the work Schaeffer put into the line, even she couldn't have predicted its gravitas.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.