I can guarantee that every Marvel fan gets excited at the sound of the studio’s opening theme.
We can all thank Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Marvel’s “Iron Man” for kicking off the widespread obsession with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Within the last decade, Marvel has dominated the entertainment industry with its action-filled, comedic superhero films. So it is no surprise that this successful franchise is branching out to television and preparing to take its fans on a ride through a completely new phase of storylines with an emphasis on underdog characters. During Comic-Con 2019, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige unveiled the plan for Marvel’s massive Phase Four, revealing a plethora of new films and television series scheduled for future release.
After a few minor setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marvel has begun its new journey with the Disney+ TV series “WandaVision.” The series focuses on two prominent characters (and lovebirds) from the Marvel Universe: Vision (Paul Bettany, “Uncle Frank”) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen, “Sorry For Your Loss”), also known as Scarlet Witch. It is introduced as an ode to ’50s-style classic sitcoms like “I Love Lucy” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” with its jaunty theme song, laugh track and black-and-white film elements. After the festivities of “Avengers: Endgame,” the couple decides to settle into a suburban town to fit in with normal humans and suppress their powers. But, as the story continues, weird things happen. It turns out that the neighborhood and its residents aren’t so normal after all.
Despite only having 30-minute episodes, “WandaVision” uses its brief runtime to capture the qualities that have made the MCU a standout success. It attracts viewers with its comedic effects and intriguing moments, and you can’t help but immerse yourself in the storyline. “WandaVision” produces a storyline for these characters that we don’t know much about but nevertheless are important to the future of the MCU.
Placed after the ending of “Avengers: Endgame,” this series provokes some important questions. How is Vision alive after getting killed by Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War”? What is the relevance of the Stark Toast Mate 2000 commercial midway through the first episode? These subtle details keep you wanting more and make this series the perfect starting point for Phase Four. According to Elizabeth Olsen, “WandaVision” has some plot points that will be in continuance with the events of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” Therefore, the series encourages viewers to look forward to new episodes and generates the desire to see how “WandaVision” and its storyline will influence the course of this new Phase.
It is the intertwining of several stories that creates a powerful impact on the show’s viewers. The decision to tell untold stories that bounce off of other characters and create this world of chaos somehow makes more sense than going with a simple linear narrative. The series is simply the setup for what is to come — its events carry weight well beyond “WandaVision.”
You don’t necessarily have to be a fan of Marvel in order to watch “WandaVision.” The series will surely be fascinating to someone with no knowledge of Marvel comics. As a longtime fan, it’s amazing to see these two characters, who are mostly overshadowed by the popularity of the main Avengers, finally receive their standalone series. I’m excited to see how these two characters leave an impact on the MCU, as they are much different from the characters that lead the studio’s blockbuster films. “WandaVision” is certainly the beginning of a wild ride through Marvel’s Phase Four.
Daily Arts Writer Jessica Curney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.