The WITCHING HOUR
Total Film|January 2021
It’s the twist no one saw coming – turning the MCU into a sitcom and asking Dick Van Dyke to help tell Marvel’s most ambitious story to date. The cast and crew of WandaVision tell us what to expect from Phase 4’s new chapter…
PAUL BRADSHAW

WandaVision is not an easy show to explain – even for the people who made it. We know it picks up right where Avengers: Endgame left off, and we know it’s about Wanda Maximoff and Vision living out a life together in the suburbs, but we also know it’s styled as a classic sitcom, and that whopping big bits of the MCU occasionally crash into each episode. We also know, of course, that Vision is dead…

“You have to understand, I thought I was getting fired!” laughs Paul Bettany. “I can’t remember the pitch because the moment I realised I wasn’t getting fired they were telling me this story and I kind of switched off, thinking, ‘I can keep the kids in school!’”

Written as a comedy love letter to the history of television and a bold new entry into the Phase 4 timeline, WandaVision marks Marvel Studios’ first TV series as well as their bravest and most ambitious venture to date.

“I think it will make everybody look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a whole new way,” says Bettany. “Marvel has always taken big swings… But we’re a really big swing. There are more VFX shots in WandaVision than we had in Endgame. That’s a big ask.”

Sharing a Zoom call with co-star Elizabeth Olsen, Bettany seems giddy with excitement to talk about the show, even if he is struggling to explain what’s actually going on (partly because he’s not allowed to, partly because it really is as odd as it sounds). Speaking to Total Film after the first cryptic trailer stirred the fanbase into a frenzy, the pair admit that the idea of moving the MCU to TV didn’t always sit quite so comfortably.

“We’ve been the emotional throughlines in the films,” admits Olsen. “So there’s a little bit of nerves about how you bring that to television. But I also feel like this is the first time you really get to see Wanda in a three-dimensional way. I feel like it’s only made these characters deeper and more interesting.”

Created by Jac Schaeffer (writer of Captain Marvel and Black Widow) and based on an idea that Kevin Feige had for filling the gaps between Phases 3 and 4, WandaVision puts Maximoff in a new reality drawn from classic sitcoms like I Love Lucy, Bewitched and The Dick Van Dyke Show. As the series progresses, so does the history of TV comedy, moving the story through the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s into the Modern Family and Office era. Recruiting former sitcom star and current sitcom director Matt Shakman to helm the series, Marvel put its most valuable property in the hands of the guy best known for making 47 episodes of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

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