Marvel Studio’s WandaVision

The Beginning of Phase Four

William Stanziano, Editor

Marvel Studio’s most recent release, WandaVision, is a vibrant fusion of classic American sitcom aesthetics (from the 50’s all the way to modern day television) with the exciting and psychedelic stories of superhero Wanda Maximoff, and her role in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The series is about Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (played by Paul Bettany)—two extremely powerful super-beings living normal lives in the suburbs—as they soon begin to suspect that everything about their seemingly perfect lives is not quite as it seems.

Both Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany returned to reprise their superhero-roles as the title characters: Wanda Maximoff, aka “The Scarlet Witch,” and her significant other, Vision.

Elizabeth Olsen (32) is the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (34), the twins who both famously played the part of Michelle Tanner in the beloved ABC family sitcom, Full House (1987-1995).  Her first acting role in a movie was in the 2011 thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene.  Both the film and her performance as the titular character, Martha: a girl suffering from delusions after fleeing her life in a cult and returning to her family, were praised by critics after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.  She is best known for starring in Godzilla (2013), Ingrid Goes West, and of course as the magic-wielding Sokovian, Wanda Maximoff.  Wanda gained her powers after she and her brother Pietro (aka Quicksilver) joined HYDRA and agreed to undergo experiments involving Loki’s scepter, under the supervision of Wolfgang von Strucker. 

Paul Bettany (49) is best known as J.A.R.V.I.S., the voice of Tony Stark’s assistant program, as Geoffry Chaucer in A Knight’s Tale, as the villain Dryden Voss in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and of course as Vision, the Synthezoid (synthetic humanoid) created as a weapon by the villainous robot Ultron, who quickly turns on his creator and fights as an Avenger for the good of mankind.

WandaVision is the first in the upcoming line of Marvel Cinematic Universe original television series’, all to be released on the Walt Disney Company’s Disney+ streaming service.  After the Infinity Saga of movies ended in 2019 with Avengers: Endgame (the highest grossing movie of all time), the plan was for something that Marvel calls Phase 4 to kick off in 2020.  Arrangements were made for both Black Widow and Eternals to debut in theatres, and for the Falcon and the Winter Soldier series to hit Disney+ in the fall of 2020.  However, with closed theatres and halted television/movie production due to the COVID-19 pandemic raging since March of 2020, WandaVision just happened to be the project closest to completion.  As a result, the mind and genre-bending WandaVision was the first part of Phase 4 to be released, (on January 15th, 2021).

WandaVision has proved itself to be a wonderful first project for Marvel’s Phase 4, with immense popular and critical success.  Its brilliantly-executed combination of classic TV homages and kaleidoscopic science fiction has earned WandaVision its current position as the most popular television show right now.