by Langa Mohlala
Content warning: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD.
Before its release, WandaVision was set up to be an 80s and 90s inspired sitcom about the titular characters as they battled with concealing their powers from a town that was none the wiser. The Matt Shakman directed miniseries was also said to address Marvel fans' burning questions and theories about how this show would kick off Phase Four of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).
Set in the town of Westview, Wanda and Vision present themselves as the unusually perfect (and perfectly unusual) couple. Aside from a few hiccups, everything goes well until the third episode wherein Wanda's friend Geraldine (who is actually Captain Monica Rambeau of S.W.O.R.D.) slips up and is cast out of Westview. It becomes evident that Wanda is controlling the town and its residents and she created her own reality where she could live [in Westview] with Vision and their children. This reality presents itself as a sitcom that becomes more modern with each new episode.
While Dr. Darcy Lewis, FBI agent Jimmy Woo and S.W.O.R.D. – an intelligence organisation led by director Tyler Hayward – try to intervene, things get more complicated. In episode 7 it is revealed that Agnes, Wanda's nosy neighbour, is actually Agatha Harkness – a powerful witch who is behind many of the strange events that took place in the series (including the appearance of a ‘recast’ version of Wanda's brother, Pietro). In the series finale, Wanda defeats Agnes and is visibly more powerful and has more control over her powers. She sets Westview and its residents free, and bids an emotional farewell to her family before going into hiding.
With approval ratings of 91% and 81% on Rotten Tomatoes by critics and viewers respectively, WandaVision does an amazing job of being a comedic sitcom and exciting superhero series while exploring complex themes such as grief and acceptance. One critic went on to say that WandaVision “is a must-see show, and has rightfully been praised for its strong themes related to grief, love and family."
Another critic said, "it's unlikely that this show ... could ever have been successful without Elizabeth Olsen's indelible central performance.”
The show is further boosted by viewers’ reactions on TikTok and memes on Twitter (“LaWanda and ViShawn” is a popular one that provides a few giggles). MCU enthusiasts have made sure to praise the show and its creators for the several nods WandaVision has made to previous MCU films and Marvel comics. All of the adverts seen throughout the series that referenced people and/or events in the MCU serve as fun Easter eggs. The Halloween costumes worn by Vision and the Maximoffs in the sixth episode are nods to the characters’ costumes in the comics.
It was also lovely to see how various MCU characters have grown. Ant-Man and the Wasp fans will note that Jimmy Woo went from a parole officer to an FBI agent. Fans of the Thor franchise – specifically its first two films – will appreciate that Darcy, who was once Jane Foster's assistant and the films' comic relief, obtained her doctorate in astrophysics. The mid-credits scene of the series finale will definitely excite Captain Marvel fans, and the realization that Monica has powers fuels multiple theories that Monica will be Ms. Marvel in her next MCU appearance.
WandaVision is a phenomenal start to phase four of the MCU. It has cemented Wanda as one of, if not, its most powerful superheroes. It is known that she will play a pivotal role in the upcoming film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and it is speculated that she will be the film's villain. If that is the case, it will be interesting to see how the Sorcerer Supreme goes toe-to-toe with the Scarlet Witch (especially when the latter's power has reached its peak). Evan Peters' appearance as ‘Pietro’/John Bohner is a sly reference to the X-Men franchise where he plays another version of Quicksilver named Peter Maximoff. Even though this has been played off as a coincidence, one wonders if the X-Men or other Mutants will make an appearance in the MCU.
Viewers have also wondered how and when Agnes/Agatha will make appearances in the MCU, and whether or not WandaVision will have a second season. The post-credits scene of the series finale – where Wanda hears her children crying for help – only fuels fans' curiosity. Will Vision make another appearance? Will the Mephisto theories be realized? Perhaps future MCU projects such as The Eternals and Spiderman: No Way Home will address some of these concerns.
With the end of WandaVision, the current streaming of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and an upcoming release of Loki and Black Widow among many other projects, the MCU has shown no signs of slowing down. If everything is as great as WandaVision was, Marvel fans will be extremely blessed.