If you were watching the virtual 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards last night, you no doubt caught the debut of a new trailer for WandaVision, the first standalone series to be released in Phase Four of the MCU. The studio offered a sneak peek last year during D23 Expo 2019, Disney’s annual fan extravaganza. Lacking any actual footage, that teaser was just snippets of The Dick van Dyke Show interspersed with snippets of the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) from the various MCU films. At the time, I was skeptical of the concept, but this new trailer is quite promising and gives me hope that Marvel can pull it off.
WandaVision is meant to be a kind of sitcom/epic superhero mashup, with Kat Dennings reprising her role as Darcy from the Thor films, alongside Randall Park reprising his Ant Man and the Wasp role as FBI agent Jimmy Woo. Kathryn Hahn (Crossing Jordan) will play a “nosy neighbor,” and Teyonah Parris (Mad Men) plays a grown-up Monica Rambeau, daughter of Carol Danvers’ BFF Maria Rambeau, introduced in Captain Marvel. Within the MCU timeline, it takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, and its events will directly tie in to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, currently slated for a 2022 release.
Per the official description: “WandaVision will follow the story of Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s superhero characters, the Scarlet Witch and Vision. The series is a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision—two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.”
During last fall’s New York Comic-Con, Tom King mentioned that the show would draw on the 2016 comic book limited series by King and Gabriel H. Walta, The Vision. In that storyline, Vision “creates” a wife and two children and settles into a seemingly idyllic suburban life in Washington, DC—but things soon take a darker turn. (There’s also a comics storyline in which Wanda creates a world where everyone gets their heart’s desire, so reality-warping is certainly within her canonical powers.) The studio also released a few set photos earlier this year that confirmed rumors that WandaVision would feature the live-action debut of S.W.O.R.D. (the Sentient World Observation and Response Department), a subdivision of S.H.I.E.L.D. charged with handling alien threats to Earth.
The trailer opens in the style of a wholesome 1950s family sitcom as “Twilight Time” by The Platters plays in the background. (Side note: I will forever be creeped out by this song after it was used in the 1998 The X-Files episode “Kill Switch,” co-written by none other than William Gibson.) “This is our home now. I want us to fit in,” Wanda tells Vision, and voila! He suddenly has a more human appearance, just in time for dinner with the neighbors. But they find they can’t answer even the simplest personal questions: when they moved in, where they moved from, and of course, why they don’t have any children (it is the 1950s).
That’s the cue to shift into different eras of classic television in succession, including a brief glimpse of Monica Rambeau. It looks like showrunner Jac Schaeffer and the writing team are having a lot of fun with the concept, and that lighthearted energy dominates the trailer. “We are an unusual couple, you know,” Wanda says as we briefly shift back to the 1950s at the end. “Oh, I don’t think that was ever in question,” Vision replies. And it looks like this will be a most unusual series.
There’s no official release date yet, but WandaVision is expected to debut on Disney+ in December 2020. (The original plan was for a spring 2021 release, so we’re getting it a bit earlier than expected.)
Listing image by YouTube/Disney+