Marvel Ventures Into Phase Four With Wonderfully Weird ‘WandaVision’

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is kicking off Phase 4 with a most unlikely combination: a superpowered couple, homages to classic sitcoms and a tantalizing, yet incredibly perplexing mystery.

**Warning: Spoilers Ahead**

Initially premiering on Jan. 15, “WandaVision'' marks the MCU’s first venture into exclusive television content for Disney+. Similar to other popular Disney+ series, like “The Mandalorian,” new episodes of “Wandavision'' are scheduled to be released on a week-to-week basis, culminating in a total of nine mindbending episodes. While “WandaVision'' is paving the way for future Marvel TV shows, fans can also look forward to “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Loki'' coming to the streaming platform later this year. 

“WandaVision” follows Avengers Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” Abruptly, and without preamble, we find the pair now married and living in an eerie pseudo-reality reminiscent of classic American sitcoms. In the first few episodes, the miniseries draws heavy inspiration from “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Bewitched,” and “The Brady Bunch” as Wanda and Vision attempt to adjust to suburban life despite their growing suspicions that something is seriously wrong with their new home.

“WandaVision” is perhaps the MCU’s boldest project to date, as it recklessly abandons much of the more formulaic elements of the powerhouse franchise. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany shine with palpable chemistry and are finally granted the refreshing freedom to demonstrate the extent of their acting chops. 

Deprived of their grave expressions from the high-stakes “Avengers'' films, Olsen and Bettany perfectly befit the show’s zany script and more humorous moments. By deterring from the MCU’s established tone, the mini-series allows fans to delight in Wanda and Vision’s various suburbanite antics, like the pair hosting a frenzied dinner party, Vision performing magic under the influence of chewing gum, and Wanda going through three trimesters of pregnancy in twenty-four hours.

Aside from Olsen and Bettany’s star power, a witty script, and incredibly clever nods to classic sitcoms, the show’s plot is one massive question mark. As most Marvel fans will recall, Vision was one of the most memorable fatalities of “Avengers: Infinity War,” and yet “WandaVision” finds the android indisputably sentient to some capacity. Additionally, we don’t know how Wanda and Vision came to reside in this reality, who the other individuals in their neighborhood are, or whether Wanda is actually in control or not.

The show’s week-to-week release presents a challenge to its audience, as the thirty-minute episodes reveal information about the larger story at a painstakingly slow rate. According to showrunner Jac Schaeffer, the show was always intended to be a slow burn mystery. “Kevin [Feige] was 100% in for doling it out slowly. And I think he also has a lot of faith in the fans and the Marvel audience, that they’re so interested in paying attention and they know they’ll be rewarded, so we started out slow.”

As is the case with a majority of the MCU, background knowledge on the previous films is definitely required to fully comprehend and appreciate “WandaVision’s” story. Although someone happening upon it while scrolling through Disney+ could certainly watch and enjoy it, they would probably find themselves confused and ignorant to the numerous Easter eggs peppered in. 

On the other hand, if you are already schooled on the previous twenty-three Marvel films, you’ll still want to add “WandaVision'' to your watchlist, as it is said to directly tie into the upcoming “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and the untitled third “Spider-Man'' installment. Additionally, given the birth of Wanda and Vision’s twin sons in episode 3, it is entirely feasible that the adorable newborns, Billy and Tommy -- who have a lengthy history in Marvel Comics -- will play a vital role in the MCU’s future. 

So, what can we expect from the six upcoming episodes of “WandaVision?” Fans can look forward to Wanda and Vision’s continued evolution throughout various eras of American sitcoms as the mini-series draws ever closer to its highly anticipated revelation. Although Marvel fans don’t hold all the cards just yet, many popular theories have been circling that appear to hold some merit

Among the most popular is that Wanda has created an alternate reality where Vision is alive; the popular Marvel Comics villain Mephisto is the show’s big bad and is manipulating Wanda’s reality; Wanda and Vision’s neighbor, Agnes (Kathryn Hahn), is Agatha Harkness, a character from Marvel Comics with magical abilities; and finally, that Aaron Taylor-Johson’s Pietro Maximoff and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange will make an appearance at some point.

However, if I know anything about “WandaVision”, it’s that I know nothing at all. We’ll just have to wait and see how Wanda and Vision’s wonderfully weird tale plays out over the course of these next six episodes.

New episodes of “WandaVision” stream every Friday on Disney+.