Casual Marvel fans may find themselves downright perplexed when the first episode of WandaVision ends. The half-hour premiere delivers plenty of delights, including the introduction of Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen — Vision and Wanda respectively — as a genuinely funny sitcom duo. Something we don’t get in those first 30 minutes, however, are answers. It’s a lush introduction to the series, but with very little to go on. And since the Disney+ series drops a single new episode each Friday, you’ll just have to learn to live with the weekly sensation that you must have missed something. You did, and you didn’t. And that’s entirely by design. Watching WandaVision is an exercise in patience.
It’s not exactly the strongest selling point for any TV show, especially one dropping at the start of 2021. Americans have been asked to stay home, cancel their plans, and be patient for nine months while a COVID-19 vaccine was developed. Now, we’ll have to wait many more months before that vaccine can change anything about our daily lives. And you want us to patiently wait for a superhero show to give us the superhero goods?
“Answers are coming,” WandaVision actor Teyonah Parris promised in a Zoom call with Refinery29. “We're going to get to it and it's going to be so worth it. But this setup is really integral to the rest of the show and the way it moves forward.”
There are a few things we do know for certain, though not all of them are necessarily spelled out at the start of the series. We know that Wanda, also known as Scarlet Witch, and Vision are the loves of each other’s lives and a Marvel Cinematic Universe romance predestined in the pages of many a Marvel comic. Wanda’s first foray into the Avengers movie timeline came with a serving of tragedy: Her brother Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) was killed while she and her fellow superheroes fought an unhinged A.I.-turned-supervillain in Age of Ultron. Later, in Captain America: Civil War, Wanda began to fall for Vision, a living being born out of A.I. similar to the technology that killed her brother. She’s been through it.
And now, WandaVision takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, a film that confirms the apparent death of Bettany’s Vision at the hands of his beloved in Avengers: Infinity War. Those facts don’t necessarily confirm anything about the plot of WandaVision — there are several possible explanations as to why we’re suddenly seeing Bettany back in live-action, especially considering that Wanda’s powers have only partially been explored in the MCU.
We also know that eventually, Monica Rambeau will appear, played by Parris. In the comics, Monica is kind of a big deal — the supe is incredibly powerful and eventually becomes the first woman leader of the Avengers. But in the MCU, we’ve only seen her as a child. Her mother, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) is the best friend of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), and we met all three of them in 2019’s Captain Marvel. The very mention of Monica’s name in relation to WandaVision ensures that beyond the answers to our Wanda and Vision questions, there is something else very, very big on the way.
That becomes clearer as clues drip in subtly and slowly in WandaVision — a symbol here, a familiar moniker there. Not much is explained or said out loud in the first few episodes provided to the press, which is a bit of a change of pace for MCU audiences, who’ve generally come to expect an explanation by the time the credits start rolling. I personally felt like I should be taking notes and rewinding each episode to find the details I missed, but while that may be a “fun” endeavour, per star Kathryn Hahn, it’s not a requirement.
“I'm a newbie to this world — I can't even tell you how just recently I found out what ‘Easter egg’ even meant — but there are many, many, many layers and clues and fun things for fans who want to look for that stuff. It will absolutely hold up to multiple viewings and more things will be discovered every time. And nothing is haphazard or just to be cute,” Hahn told Refinery29 via Zoom. But she insists that if you feel like you’re in over your head, know that you don’t necessarily need to know it all. Those clues and Easter eggs “just add to it.” The only answer you really need is patience and a little perspective.
“We all know that it's not just faithfully recreating sitcoms from different areas for no reason,” Hahn says. “We know that something else is happening and churning, so it's like, how long can you hold that pressure?”