Marvel fans will soon witness WandaVision, the first of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s series premiering on Disney Plus. The show is about to usher in Phase 4 and go places the MCU has never been before. Created by Jac Shaeffer, directed by Matt Shakman and executive produced by Kevin Feige, the series marks a refreshing genre and tonal shift. Its stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, who reprise their roles as Wanda Maximoff and Vision can be seen jumping from one decade to another in their own sitcoms. Set, after the events of Avengers: Endgame, WandaVision revolves around the seemingly blissful domestic life of the titular pair. Only, something isn’t quite right about their world. While it’s advisable to expect the unexpected, one thing is for certain, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are bringing their A-game.
In a press conference on Sunday, the cast and creators of WandaVision assembled to spill details about the show. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany chronicled the process of bringing Wanda and Vision into the sitcom world, evolving through the decades and digging deeper into the characters’ innate humanness.
The show sees Wanda and Vision are a superhuman couple living in their suburban home in Westview, Washington DC. Things are pretty normal, except the former can make kitchen utensils float while the latter can walk into the said kitchen without opening the door. Looking at the show through Wanda’s perspective, Elizabeth Olsen explained, “I believe from Wanda’s point of view she would describe, WandaVision as a family sitcom of two people trying to fit in. And not be discovered for being different.”
Olsen, like the rest of the actors on the show, attended a sitcom boot camp to work through the changing time periods in each episode starting all the way from the ‘50s. In a show that draws inspiration from The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, The Brady Bunch and Full House, the range required several transition. Talking about adapting to the settings, the actress said, “The way women move throughout the decades changes so much when it comes to what society wants from them. And so Jac [show creator] did write in quite a few nods to how those were evolving through the decades. In the ‘60s she gets to wear some pants, um, and that would adjust how someone moves through space and manners were a big part of, when we talk about vocal work and speech and manners were a huge part of every decade and so we would get this book of manners for the time as well. But we also have to remember that we’re not depicting an honest, um, reality of the 60s or the 70s. We are depicting the beats, not the reality, which is its own set of rules.”
Paul Bettany who cites Hugh Laurie and Dick Van Dike as influences talked about adapting Vision into a working man with a 9 to 5 job. Talking about playing on physical characteristics, Bettany teased a funny transition through the episodes. He mused, “I think there is a lot more, uh, slapstick and physical comedy early on. Luckily by the time we, um, we get to the 90s, they’ve all made me look so ridiculous that I didn’t really have to work that hard for the laughs, I think.”
Classic sitcoms have signature physical comedy and the behind-the-scenes experience is decidedly different from being on the set of a superhero movie. When asked if Wanda was able to explore her powers in the sitcom world, Elizabeth Olsen revealed with a laugh, “Well I can’t wiggle my nose so we had to figure out something else that was period-appropriate. So this kind of was our translation and to watch our special effects team that usually you know, blow things up, set things on fire, create wind, create smoke, these guys became like puppeteers of things floating in the sky and dealing with magnets in different ways to make things spin and it was just so incredible to watch our special effects team adapt to the air of specific ways of creating these practical effects by doing the research of what did they do on Bewitched.”
Parts of WandaVision were shot in front of a live studio audience for added authenticity on the laugh tracks, now that’s commitment! Recounting the experience of shooting in front of an audience, Olsen said, “There were a lot of quick changes and, um, it totally confused my brain — It really messed with my brain, the idea of not playing to an audience but feeding off an audience and having a camera and, um, I was really grateful when we added the fourth wall for our second episode.”
For more on the episode read: ‘WandaVision’ Cast And Creators Decode Sitcom Styles And How It All Ties Into The MCU
The makers of WandaVision recreated iconic sitcoms with all their intricate details and they did it will populating the frame with Marvel references, Easter eggs and exploring Wanda and Vision’s MCU arcs. And the result is nowhere as chaotic as it sounds. The show is a strange albeit perfect start to the MCU’s phase 4 and its a delight to watch Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany lead the way into the next era of Marvel stories.
WandaVision will premiere on Disney+ Hotstar Premium on January 15, 2021.
SEE ALSO: ‘WandaVision’: Kevin Feige On What The Disney Plus Show Means To MCU Phase 4
Cover artwork: Bhavya Poonia/Mashable India