Why WandaVision Was The Ideal Start To A New Era Of Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios has returned in full force with perhaps their most original project since 2012's The Avengers.

Over a single decade, Marvel Studios has become one of the foremost entertainment brands in pop culture. Building off world-famous characters pre-established in comic books and cartoons, Marvel has constructed an almost irrevocable trust with audiences worldwide. But truth be told Marvel is not the most diverse in terms of expanding their brand beyond the superhero origin fare and ending in a hero vs villain showdown. Marvel has developed a brand that has worked for them up to the present. In the clearest terms, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

However, Marvel is not the only major corporation releasing superhero content on a yearly basis. If anything, Marvel's success story has made others turn around and take notice of the lucrative finances that are to be made. Warner Bros, Netflix, and even Amazon Prime are now taking advantage of the goldmine that is the comic book medium. Everyone wants in on the superhero cash cow that is now flourishing thanks to Marvel. Though in hindsight, the superhero market may inevitably be in danger of becoming oversaturated with content. In order to stand out amongst the rest, Marvel is going to need to prove that they can still take risks and continually reinvent themselves.

It was Marvel's initial risks, basing their up-and-coming film division out of then relative C-list superhero Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man, and mastering the concept of a commercially successful shared cinematic universe with The Avengers in 2012. With the Infinity Saga beginning with 2008's Iron Man and culminating in 2019's Avengers Endgame, Marvel Studios are opening the first chapter of their new phase of films and content... WandaVision


The first chapter of Marvel Studios' new era of risk-taking comes not through the big screen but from the recently developed streaming service of their family-friendly parent company, Disney Plus. With Disney Plus, Marvel finally has the opportunity to delve into the psyche and development of these super-beings who were either sidelined completely or relegated as supporting characters in the feature films. Who are these superheroes when they are not busy saving the world and do they even want to save the world at the end of the day?

Taking inspiration from several fan-favorite Marvel Comics storylines, particularly 2005's Avengers / X-Men crossover event House of M by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Olivier Coipel, WandaVision appropriately centers on two well established cinematic Avengers Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and The Vision (Paul Bettany). Two doomed lovers and superheroes, one an enhanced human and the other an advanced artificial intelligence, torn apart by tragedy in the previous films of the Avengers franchise. Wanda's grief from her final encounter with Vision ultimately acts as the catalyst which sets the series into motion.


Olsen's Wanda has been a major player in the comic book source material for years, starting as a reluctant villain under her father and X-Men arch-foe Magneto, before defecting to the Avengers alongside her twin brother and fellow mutant Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. the speedster Quicksilver. The film counterpart of Wanda always had the potential to reach the heights of her comics incarnation but was relegated to Marvel's ensemble team-up films, where the character faced limited screen time amongst other players.

While it is not made completely clear initially, WandaVision serves as an immediate continuation to the events of 2018's massive crossover film Avengers Infinity War and its 2019 follow-up Avengers Endgame, two films that prove crucial to the grand scheme of the series. For longtime fans who have been with the MCU since the beginning, WandaVision's first two episodes Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience and Don't Touch That Dial, maybe polarizing for some. They are not superhero stories, but rather superheroes Wanda and Vision placed into a sitcom environment.

WandaVision acts as a homage to classic American sitcoms, particularly 1961's The Dick-Van-Dick Show and 1964's Bewitched. But the Marvel series is not just replicating the nostalgia of the aforementioned sitcoms but stylistic elements from their narrative structure, visuals, character archetypes, and of course... a laugh track.

As the show progresses, WandaVision begins to experiment with subsequent decades of American sitcoms well into the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, before taking viewers into the present-day through modern documentary-style sitcoms such as Modern Family and The Office. It is not until the second act of the series, with episode 4 We Interrupt This Program, where all the puzzle pieces begin to come into place. Rather than simply spoon-feed the audience all of the answers, WandaVision gradually drops clues into each episode leading to the big reveal.

Once the cat is out of the bag, the Marvel formula begins to reemerge. The massive CGI battles and action sequences will satiate fans who need those ingredients in their superhero stories, but WandaVision works best when its focus is on the idyllic albeit flawed suburban family drama of title characters Wanda Maximoff and Vision.


Marvel Studios have always had a tendency of teasing future characters as well as storylines in each of their films and shows, but WandaVision is a largely standalone narrative that is not beholden to future Marvel projects. Now, this does not mean that certain characters and plots that are introduced in the show won't play a much larger role down the line. However, characters that do come into play such as S.W.O.R.D. agent Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) adds relevance to Wanda's overall journey as a character rather than acting as a shoo-in for a future movie or show.

There is a mystery that runs throughout the entire series. In addition to getting to spend more time with characters through a 6-8 hour format as opposed to a two-hour film, the advantage of the Disney Plus streaming model is the weekly release.

With WandaVision currently being released as a miniseries, the weekly format allows the creators involved to withhold some of the answers from their audience. In an age where Netflix has made binging television a common occurrence, whether it is shows like Cobra Kai or Bridgerton, returning to the weekly release schedule can be quite jarring. However, WandaVision has brought back that feeling of excitement of sitting with friends and family each week, anticipating what would happen next to the central characters and who would be left standing when the dust cleared.

If Marvel Studios continues on the trajectory kicked off by WandaVision for their future Disney + shows and adjoining film slate, both new and old fans alike are in for a wonderfully different set of superhero-sized treats.

Current junior Writing Arts major attending Rowan University. I am an avid writer, comic book reader, and film enthusiast.

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