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Producer Mary Livanos Spills WandaVision Secrets That Fans Want To Hear - Exclusive Interview

Now that WandaVision is over, we've all pivoted from speculation to dissection — and who's better to help with that than the actual creative team behind the hit series? Rhetorical question, of course, but the answer is still the same: No one. That's why Looper spoke with the top creative decision makers at the Disney+ smash hit. This includes Mary Livanos, the show's producer.

During our conversation, Livanos broke down what Agatha Harkness was doing all along, Kathryn Hahn's presence on the set, and the mystery of Fake Pietro. She also told us about costuming — especially those Halloween costumes — and what's next for Wanda in a certain multiverse of madness. (And yes, she's as big a fan of the Hahn winking meme as the rest of us).

Location of Westview and Agatha's activities

So for starters, I've asked this of all your coworkers: Where do you think Westview is in New Jersey?

I think Kevin Feige is from Westfield, New Jersey, so let's say close to there.

Let's go with that, yeah. So what was Agatha doing all along?

Agatha is a really clever villain. Her MO was to emotionally disrupt Wanda throughout the series to jolt her awake from this absurd fantasy that she had created and to reveal to Agatha who she actually was. And to reveal how she actually made Westview, which Agatha tried to do via Pietro, or Fietro, but she was unsuccessful. We saw in episode six, Pietro tried to get information out of Wanda, but it did not work and Wanda sort of became wise to the fact that he was not a benevolent presence. So, emotionally disrupting Wanda, yes. That's what she was doing.


So you, you mentioned Fietro, as you called him.


Could you tell me a little bit more about the casting on that, if you were involved with that?

Yeah. Early days in the room, we knew that we really wanted to bring back Quicksilver in one way or another. And the story that we were crafting in Agatha's villain plot, how we were crafting that, we really wanted to find a way to mess with Wanda emotionally and also trick the audience as well. So the notion that Wanda, at this point in the series, has in a way lost control of her powers and brought back her brother was really cool and disturbing to us.

It's actually a fact that when people lose loved ones, one of the sad things that starts to happen is your memory recall becomes fuzzy. And so you forget exactly what they look like and so that notion was really... it hit at the core of Wanda's grief track for us and so the idea that her power is on the fritz and brought him back wrong, we found really intriguing. And so Evan Peters was the natural go-to casting choice with that conceit. And so it was something that we pursued for a long time and that was tricky, but we were able to pull it off and Evan was so gracious to come work with us and pull off this cool, wacky character that we had imagined. I'm grateful to him, for sure.

How did he react to finally officially being part of the actual MCU?

He's just the nicest, coolest guy. He just showed up to work excited to do whatever we had to do that day. The sort of wacky older brother type who gets the kids and the family into trouble. It was cool to see him play. And the notion that he turns out to be this route that Agatha has been referring to throughout the entire series was zany in a way, but I think Evan appreciated it.

I also heard from, I think it was Jac, that he was a very good improviser?

Oh yes. Yeah. He was great in, especially in our finale episode, the scenes with Monica, he would just strum on his guitar and that's when that character's veil is fully lifted. So Evan was able to really... Plus the material, he was drinking a milkshake out of wonder. Really great improv-er for sure.


How often were you on set?

With my role for the point producer who is on each project? We're lucky at Marvel, we get to dedicate our full attention to a project or, towards the end of the project's life, maybe two projects at a time. And we go out where we're on location for the full time that the director is. And so I was there every day.

So what was the last day on set like?

Well, the last day on set for us at all was actually here in L.A. because we had more work to finish up, which fell during the pandemic. We actually wrapped on Halloween, which was pretty cool. The last thing we shot was the Monica tag, where she enters the movie theater and encounters the Skrull agent. And so we shot that actually on the Disney studio lot at our main theater, which was cool because I haven't been able to go to work or stepped foot on that lot in a very long time, but we wrapped on the Disney lot and I think it was probably just after midnight or something, but it was Halloween, which is cool and fitting, especially since we have a Halloween episode.

Absolutely. Speaking of which, what was your old thought process behind getting all the traditional costumes for the Halloween episode?

You know, that was a wish and a hope that we had very early on. Once we figured out that we wanted to do a Halloween episode, it was always a goal and a wish, particularly of Kevin's, to see them in those outfits and to make them feel homemade and funny, as ridiculous as they are in the comics. So that was really fun to execute and something that we wanted to do from very early on in the development phase.

Rumor is that a previous director once told Elizabeth — Lizzie, rather, as you're all calling her — that she would never get a chance to wear the traditional Scarlet Witch costume. Is there any truth to that? And if so, how did she react to finally getting it?

I've heard Lizzie say that yes, a previous director promised her that she wouldn't have to wear that leotard with the, you know, pink tights and the leotard. And she was relieved when she first heard that when she came on to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but this was actually a fun opportunity for us to be able to execute those looks in a fun way that actually celebrated how hyped they are.

Especially given that her new costume at the end is a variation of it.

Yeah. We're always inspired by the comics, Andy Park, from our visual development department in-house at Marvel, did a fantastic job developing the new Scarlet Witch look without the cloak and with the cloak. It was cool, I don't think we've quite ever seen a character with exposed arms and full skirt before. And so it was a new silhouette and look that we all became very excited about and I think Lizzie was delighted.

Doctor Strange connection

So what do you think is going to happen going forward with Scarlet Witch — or really any of the characters?

Well, we know that the Scarlet Witch will be debuting in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness next, so that's fantastic. And I think it's just the hope that we don't know anything concrete yet that the narrative threads that we introduce here in WandaVision inspire cool new opportunities in the universe moving forward. We don't know exactly what will come next for each one of the characters. We're all inspired and starting to think.

How in contact were you with the Doctor Strange crew for this?

A good amount. We work very closely at Marvel. We made sure to stay in touch frequently. So I was in touch with Richie Palmer, who's a producer on that movie, and we would call each other up, talk about ideas back and forth. And it was always a super helpful dialogue as we figured out exactly what the tag needed to be to tee Wanda up in a great way for Doctor Strange too.

So did they give you any ideas specifically, any that you can talk about, or is this something that you can't talk about?

No, actually, the idea that we ended up going with was an idea that we had earlier on in the WandaVision room. So it was cool to have that be what we landed on.

Memes, Hahn, and what's next

So I'm sure by now you've seen a lot of the memes. I've been told you've all been sharing them with each other. Turtleneck Vision, "What is blank if not blank persevering?," so on and so forth. Are there any favorites of yours?

Anything with Kathryn Hahn winking. A hundred percent.

Tell me a little bit more about Kathryn Hahn, because she was fantastic in this. Everybody loved her.

Kathryn Hahn is incredible. She came in to meet with us at Marvel while we were looking for the Agatha role. And we were banging our heads against the wall, trying to figure out who could be perfect for that. And like the angel she is, Kathryn Hahn fell in our laps and she was just perfect for it. I think it was like the quickest turnaround from regular Marvel meeting into casting as our main villain. It was an insanely quick turnaround — a magical opportunity, if you will.

So were there any clues that you left for some storyline that you were surprised people didn't pick up on?

Not off the top of my head. There's so many wonderful fan theories out there. I feel like everyone picked up on quite a lot, but there certainly are plentiful opportunities in the future to just spin each character story off in surprising ways. So we'll see.

So is there anything you want to bring up about the show that you want to highlight that I haven't mentioned yet, or you think is really cool about the show?

What I love about the show is that the response that we all sort of got from friends and family and folks who are watching is... each episode felt like everyone's favorite episode, which was so wonderful. And what I find so special about the series is that each episode is so insanely different and the writing process was so wonderful. It feels like every episode is the best version of itself. And so it's wonderful to go back and watch each one because each episode feels really special. And I think that is pretty unique to a series. So it was cool to accomplish, and the writers' room, they did a fantastic job.

So what's next for you, Marvel or anywhere?

For me? Next up for me, I'm headed to Captain Marvel 2. Yes. And that will be next. So excited to continue the work with Tiana as Monica Rambeau, and it'll be a fun journey for sure. Very excited.