WandaVision premieres within a matter of days on January 15 and just like that, the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets its first show on Disney Plus. Starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany who reprise their role as Wanda Maximoff and Vision, the show is radically different from anything coming from Marvel. Arriving amidst sizeable buzz with its sitcom-esque exploration of the titular pair’s domestic adventures, the show picks up post-Avengers: Endgame. Wanda and Vision endeavour to fit into a small Washington DC town, going through everyday life, you know, making kitchen utensils fly, walking through doors, but we’re told something is decidedly amiss. Kickstarting the MCU’s Phase 4 with a show as wild as this one sounds like risky business but if Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is to be believed, “the idea always was to do something that could not be done as a feature” anyway.
In a press conference ahead of WandaVision‘s release, the cast including Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn and Tenoyah Parris, creator Jac Schaeffer, director Matt Shakman and studio head Kevin Feige who serves as an executive producer on the show assembled to spill details about the next best thing in the MCU. Feige shared his thoughts on the upcoming show’s unique position, his vision for Phase 4 and more.
Kevin Feige wants you to “get ready for the new” going into the MCU’s Phase 4.
WandaVision is a rollicking ride through the history of iconic sitcoms starting with The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy and The Brady Bunch. Marvel is clearly making a statement with the huge tonal shifts and it leaves one wondering where the cinematic universe is headed next. When asked about breaking the mould with newer shows on Disney Plus’s slate, Kevin Feige said, “Well we’ll see. This was our test run. Marvel, of course, has had a lot of good successful TV in the past. This was Marvel Studios’ first foray and directly with the cast and amazing characters that we’d seen in movies coming onto television. And the idea always was to do something that could not be done as a feature. That plays with the format and plays with the medium. And there were a lot of meetings before people actually sort of understood what we were trying to go for and we’re only sitting here because Jac and Matt did. And we’re able to turn a whacky idea into a spectacular show.”
The MCU’s Phase 4 was initially set to begin with the release of Black Widow in theatres and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier on the streaming platform, but the coronavirus pandemic called for a change of plans. With WandaVision kickstarting the next era of Marvel stories, the expansion course just became more unpredictable to fans than ever. Answering a question from the press about the schedule changes, Kevin explained, “Well I hope it says get ready for the new and the different and I hope all of our movies have said that, one after the other over the years. But certainly, with the Disney Plus opportunities, it is allowed us to expand creatively. Yes, the original plan was Falcon and The Winter Soldier was gonna debut first last year, followed very soon behind with WandaVision. So creatively, it didn’t reshuffle. Part of the plan is having the ability and the ideas of how to shuffle should the need arise. I’m not saying we were prepped for a global pandemic. We were not. But we’ve always over the past 12, 15 years of Marvel Studios, been able to shuffle around.”
What does the future of the MCU on Disney Plus look like?
Feige also revealed that The Mandalorian, a wildly successful Disney Plus show influenced, in some capacity, not just WandaVision but the plans for MCU shows on the streaming platform. He said, “We were all underway on WandaVision long before we saw The Mandalorian. There are lots and lots of The Mandalorian that has inspired us at Marvel Studios, not the least of which is the stagecraft, technology that they pioneered that we’re using on some upcoming project. I think though in terms of, it was wonderful to see the amazing job that Disney did and Disney marketing did in event-izing that. Um, one of the things I was always, um, concerned about was to say anything that we do we want to event-ize.”
He added, “We want to make people understand these projects on Disney Plus are as important as the projects going into theatres, and we want to feel that same excitement — on Disney plus with Mandalorian, and also the fun week-to-week, the discussion, which I guess happens on all week-to-week television. But sometimes series drop all at once on streaming services and Disney I think was very smart to do the week by week cause that conversation that happens every week, between episodes I think is very important.”
“And frankly just a lot of fun, and so each time I witness that and experience that and joined in that, uh, with Mandalorian, it got me excited for the way WandaVision had already been building WandaVision to be unveiled,” he further added.
Between WandaVision’s refreshing structure, Wanda Maximoff’s links to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it looks like Marvel’s future is going to be an amalgamation of genres and crossovers. And going by what we know from the teasers and early reactions, I cannot wait to see the studio unleash its full Phase 4 potential.
WandaVision will release on January 15 on Disney+ Hotstar Premium.
Cover artwork: Bhavya Poonia/Mashable India