Much has happened in the past two months since Marvel’s WandaVision premiered on Disney+. Join Rachel Stewart, Will Johnson, and JP Nunez, as they make sense of all that transpired for those held captive in Wanda’s technicolor TVland. Spoiler warnings on!
Rachel Stewart: Hello out there in TVLand, dear readers…we’re back, as promised, to discuss the finale of WandaVision. What a whirlwind. It’s funny to think a little over two months ago, we were completely in the dark and now…well, damn. We got the Scarlet Witch.
Will Johnson: I think we are still in the dark a bit…and that is okay! I really think fans—and I blame myself too—expected this to be a TV series that tells one complete story. While it does do a wonderful character study of Wanda, it also sets up Phase 4 of the MCU and, like The Infinity Saga, we might not get total answers for a decade! Like we wouldn’t have the pay-off of “And I am Iron Man!” in Avengers: Endgame without its set-up ten years previous at the end of Iron Man. Marvel is playing the long game and I think fan frustration will dissipate when they realize the long game suits the narrative.
Rachel: Exactly! If there’s one thing Marvel can do, it’s playing the long game. And up until this series, Wanda and Vision had around just 20 minutes of screen time in the films. To see that expanded upon, with such depth and emotion, was a real treat.
Will: I won’t lie…when WandaVision was announced I was very skeptical. I never fully bought into their relationship in the films. But the series does a wonderful job of filling in some gaps in the story and it made me literally fall in love with Wanda and Vision.
JP Nunez: I’m with you there, Will. When I saw them together in Avengers: Infinity War, it seemed a bit forced, but they had amazing chemistry throughout this entire series.
I actually had the complete opposite reaction to the finale. I was expecting way more setup for Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but what we got was simply the story of how Wanda’s grief got the best of her and how she was able to finally come to terms with it. Then we only got a few hints of future world-building here and there, especially in the post-credits scenes.
Rachel: I’ll admit, I totally clowned on thinking we’d get a Dr. Strange cameo. Absolutely clowned.
Will: That is true and I credit Marvel for holding back. Back in Phase 1, they always seemed to be ready to jump ahead and tease a new character or arc and it sometimes overshadowed the main character being presented. I guess what I mean is, WandaVision introduces a lot of concepts that will be built on later in a more fluid way and decided to not resolve every outstanding issue in the time of nine episodes, hence the long game. I mean, just look at all the new mythology they brought in. Magic and possible genetic mutation are now a part of the MCU!
JP: I totally agree. I think this show was the perfect balance of focusing on the story at hand while still setting up future stories. It did that much better than some of their earlier films, like Iron Man 2 and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Rachel: Going back to Will’s earlier point about Wanda and Vision, I’ve always had a soft spot for them both, but this series solidified them as one of my top five film or TV couples. Just the power they have. Going back to Avengers: Infinity War, when he’s telling her to destroy the stone (which means he’ll die) he’s so gentle. That whole line of “it’s not fair, it shouldn’t be you, but it is” just gets me every time. And that gentleness was sort of woven through this series. Olsen and Bettany play a whole range of emotions from comic lovebirds to struggling, stressed parents to grieving lovers. It ticks all the boxes.
Will: I think that is the true benefit of the television format: more time to dig deep and expand characterization. Wanda and Vision always seemed like secondary characters to me but perhaps I wasn’t paying attention as much as I should have because what we get in WandaVision is a valid extension of what we had before. This isn’t like Frasier from Cheers turning into a whole different character when he got his own show. Marvel has been remarkably consistent and I can’t wait to dig back into prior films to value Wanda and Vision’s relationship.
And that is true of many series. Remember Game of Thrones before it sucked? You could hate a character for four years and then end up loving them. Marvel allowed me to grow into Wanda and Vision.
Rachel: For sure. And now we’re going to see Wanda’s journey into fully harnessing dark magic to get what she wants, which I feel will ultimately be getting Vision and the kids back.
JP: I think it’s going to be more about the kids. For one, we heard their voices in that post-credits scene, and secondly, there’s already a version of Vision out there that she doesn’t need to use black magic to reach.
Will: Ah, White Vision. The only egregious error WandaVision made was some decisions they made with that Vision.
Rachel: Exactly. And knowing Marvel, I feel like this White Vision will be what pulls her back from the dark again. I feel like that’s why we saw so little of him. I mean, robots having philosophical discussions as a boss fight was not on my WandaVision finale bingo card.
JP: Could be. At this point, just about anything is possible for White Vision’s and Wanda’s futures.
Will: OK, you mention the philosophical discussion. I’m sorry I have to be crude but when White Vision demanded “elaboration” and they went into a deep dive into what reality is, I think I became sexually attracted to Vision. (Haha, just kidding.) But that bit blew me away. Now, on to my problem. Let’s go back to Star Trek as an example. In Star Trek: Nemesis, the character of Data sacrificed himself for his friends. It was a moving moment and one that had decades of backstory and emotion behind it. The problem? Ten minutes after the sacrifice, Data’s memories and emotions were conveniently downloaded into a double called B4, thus preserving Data forever, rendering his sacrifice mostly moot. I feel by giving White Vision freedom and access to the “old” Vision, it dulls the pain of Wanda sacrificing her magic-molded Vision. I think Vision should have stayed dead, frankly.
JP: Well it seems like White Vision isn’t really the same Vision that Wanda loved. It’s a new person who simply has the old Vision’s memories, but it’s not really him, so it doesn’t just erase the impact of Vision’s deaths in Infinity War and WandaVision. While Marvel could potentially screw it up and end up essentially turning White Vision into old Vision, they haven’t done that yet, and it seems like they’re not planning on it (at least not right away).
Rachel: Yeah, it’s not an outright fake-out, more like a loose plot point that I hope gets weaved into the next few movies. And there could be some interesting interactions there—Vision could be coming to terms with who he was versus who he is now. Wanda might try to kill him only to realize that he is—technically—her Vision. It’s complicated.
Will: True, Marvel could surprise me (as they have done quite a bit in the last few years) but my first instinct was to recoil a bit at the possibility that this new Vision could eventually fully replace the one that died. Then again, I had no problem with alternate-timeline Gamora existing in place of the dead Gamora in Avengers: Endgame so I guess I’m a hypocrite, haha!
Rachel: If they want to turn up the angst, they have the tools. I do hope they steer away from hurting Wanda for a while, though, because this series hurt. I’d either end up crying during episodes or cursing the “PLEASE STAND BY” title card.
Will: See Rachel, that’s where I have an issue. If it ends up being her Vision, I suppose the only way to make that narrative arc work would be for her to have to kill him. But if he returns as just a slightly different Vision, I might be disappointed. But hell…trust in Marvel!
JP: I don’t think we can really judge that decision yet. Since we don’t know what Marvel has planned for White Vision, we don’t know if they’re going to use him well or not. All we can say right now is how we feel about him in this particular series, and I thought they used him well. I really enjoyed the Vision vs. Vision fight, philosophy and all. Vision has such a cool fighting style that it was great seeing two of him.
Will: Yes, I’m not sure why I am being so negative towards a show that is inspiring me to get a damn tattoo! Haha. But you are convincing me to take a glass half full approach to Vision. As for Wanda’s Vision, what a wonderful, nuanced performance from Paul Bettany.
JP: Oh definitely, the performances from both Bettany and Olsen were fantastic. They made the show.
Rachel: Yes—I’m willing to wait that one out. But the thing I’m mad about is Quicksilver. It felt like Marvel flexed by bringing Evan Peters on to be Quicksilver in this universe and then it was a full-on fake-out with him being some dope named Ralph. Marvel, I WANTED X-MEN. After Episode 5, I was literally screaming in my DMs with friends all day at the possibilities. The thought of Wanda being so powerful that she pulled Pietro FROM AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT UNIVERSE was MIND BLOWING. Plus the X-Men: First Class film series is CLASS and we need mutants.
Will: Now, now! You’re telling me to preach patience! Follow suit. Ralph was clearly Agatha’s husband, right? Or was that the bunny? That was a loose end. I don’t think we should count out Evan Peters just yet. Keep in mind, Ralph Bohner (*snicker*) had speed powers for some reason. Mutants are still possible, too…it is clear Wanda is a genetic anomaly.
JP: Well he also had super strength. He flicked away Monica with just one finger. That’s not a Quicksilver power, so he probably got all his powers from Agatha possessing him. And yes, Agnes always said her husband was named Ralph, so Ralph Bohner was clearly the guy she was talking about.
I have a theory about Wanda being a genetic anomaly. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, they say that she and Pietro were the only ones who survived the experiments with the Mind Stone, and Agatha theorized that she was already a witch who just got enhanced powers from the stone. Now, if that theory is right, then it seems that Wanda survived the experiments because she already had powers. And if that’s the case, then it implies that Pietro also survived because he already had powers, not because he was just lucky. If I’m right about that, it definitely opens the door for the eventual introduction of mutants, starting with Wanda herself.
Rachel: I mean, a lot of fans have already pointed out how Wanda’s new costume is stylistically close to Magneto’s (in X-Men: Apocalypse) so I’ll be interested to see if Marvel connects all the dots in that regard. Maybe Ralph really is Quicksilver. That plot point felt misleading after being so emotional and thrilling. And speaking of thrilling, can we get a round of applause for Agatha Harkness being a big bad witch with a catchy theme song?
JP: Oh yeah, her theme song was super catchy. I liked it better than any of the WandaVision theme songs they did.
Will: Speaking of theme songs, as I dig deep into that for an article, I was struck by how integral to the plot the themes are. They aren’t just loving homages to great sitcoms of the past. The lyrics are actually indicative of the on-going plot. One of my favorite themes is “Let’s Keep It Going” which is the Malcolm in the Middle-themed episode. The lyrics actually spell out Wanda’s major psychological issues and hint her walls are breaking down. That’s great writing and attention to detail!
Rachel: The music for WandaVision is so expansive. I was listening to the whole playlist on Spotify tonight and the orchestral cues are so emotional whereas the theme songs are so catchy and fun. I know Will and I talked a lot about all the different eras of TV in our first roundtable, but this series was able to cram a superhero’s origin story into sitcom/genre television while staying true to its own brand once that fourth wall broke. Even if we’re unsure where they may be going with some of the setups, no one else can do what Marvel is doing in terms of storytelling and bringing comic book logic to other mediums.
Will: You nailed it Marvel bestie! Christophe Beck is a wonderful composer. He also did the Ant-Man films which, if anyone out there hasn’t taken the time to listen to them, are incredible, especially the main Ant-Man theme. Now that I got talking about Ant-Man out of the way, haha, Beck’s WandaVision theme is haunting! A wonderful theme that added to the eeriness of seeing “PLEASE STAND BY” at the end of every episode.
I mention it in a previous article I wrote about how director Kevin Smith was amazed that Kevin Feige and Marvel are now adding the concept of retconning in comics to their cinematic storytelling. He says WandaVision is the closest to reading comics he has ever had while using a different medium.
Rachel: Which is why I’m expecting by the time we get to the next Doctor Strange film, that everything is just gonna be, well, madness. Three Spider-men, Scarlet Witch, Deadpool, and probably other surprises? We’re gonna look back and see this was just the warm-up, haha.
Will: A little trivia I learned courtesy New Rockstars on YouTube: the music in the final end credit scene (with two Wandas and the Darkhold) is actually the score from the first Doctor Strange film.
JP: I suspect that whatever mechanism they use to bring Deadpool into the MCU is also going to bring in the X-Men. If Deadpool exists in the Fox world, how can they bring him in without at least some other characters from his world? I think it’s going to get really messy, but I have faith that Marvel can handle it. And that’s really cool (about the Doctor Strange score). I definitely had flashbacks to Doctor Strange studying during his sleep when I saw that scene.
Will: I know Rachel loves the First Class saga of the X-Men film series, but while I enjoy aspects of it, it is not the way to tell a sustained, multi-decade story. That four-film series is a mess.
JP: As a whole, it definitely is, but those first two movies are fantastic, and they really nailed some of the casting. As much faith as I have in Marvel, perfectly casting Professor X and Magneto a third time would be a tall order.
Rachel: James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender deserve to be a part of the MCU and I’ll die on that hill. And I’m okay with a little mess, although X-Men: The Last Stand was the worst and I was never so glad when they retconned that.
JP: I think that’s part of the reason I really wanted Evan Peters to be the Fox version of Quicksilver. He’s one of the great casting choices those movies made.
Rachel: Yes! I didn’t hate the Marvel version of Quicksilver, but Evan Peters just has this joy and sass about him that’s infectious.
JP: Same here.
Rachel: And that’s no disrespect to Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the slightest. He did a good job, he just took a different angle with his characterization and was more protective of Wanda while Evan Peters had room to be more carefree and fun.
Will: I hated MCU Quicksilver but I also hate Avengers:Age of Ultron. DON’T GET ME STARTED.
Rachel: “I’ve got no strings on me…”
JP: I think Avengers:Age of Ultron is underrated. It’s not great, but it has enough great stuff in it to outweigh its admittedly many flaws.
Rachel: I agree. I mean, even Marvel has messes. They’ve learned to refine as they’ve gone along and then that’s why we got a series like WandaVision. So, to close it out—what’s everyone’s favorite aspect of the show? What are you looking forward to now that Wanda’s journey is wrapped up for now?
JP: My favorite thing about this show was just how different it is from anything else in the entire superhero genre. I think for the genre to stay alive, it has to evolve and give us different kinds of stories than just your typical good guy vs bad guy fights, and WandaVision did exactly that.
Sure, it had a good guy vs bad guy element, but it wasn’t about that. It’s an exploration of Wanda’s grief, and that’s way deeper than just about anything else the genre has ever given us.
Looking towards the future, I’m always excited for everything the MCU does, but in particular, I’m super intrigued by the Loki show and by the continuation of WandaVision‘s story in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Not only are those two of my favorite superheroes, but I think the multiverse opens up endless storytelling possibilities that weren’t there before. Plus, as a horror fanatic, Sam Raimi is one of my favorite directors.
Will: I like that Marvel stayed laser-focused on telling a complete Wanda story, filling in bits of MCU lore without overpowering her story. Like the best MCU stories, this one stayed personal and relatable but I think took it to even more complex level. I think we’ve got major emotional moments from characters like Iron Man and Captain America but, overall, most of their stories come down to ideology. WandaVision truly tackled emotionally internal issues and for someone like me, who suffers from OCD and anxiety, it was nice to not just nod my head and say “I agree” but “I agree, and I FEEL you.”
Rachel: I have to agree with both of you. I’ll be delving into Wanda’s grief in another article, but the weight and depth they allowed her to explore in this nine-episode series was just incredible. Then they add the extra layers of pop culture sitcoms and comic book callbacks and it becomes something really unique from a television standpoint.
I feel like we went on a journey with Wanda here and that will fare well for the upcoming movies as the multiverse concept is developed. I also think the fact that this hit during the pandemic when we’re all stuck in our own little worlds—for better or worse—that we’re either trying to escape things or face them. As an audience, WandaVision let us do both.
Will: Who is ready for Falcon and the Winter Soldier now? It drops March 19th! And just so readers know, we WILL be covering that series in full from March through April. The MCU coverage is just beginning!
JP: Next Friday is going to feel empty without a new episode of an MCU show.
Will: PLEASE STAND BY
Rachel: And that’s a wrap!