Anyone who’s been tuning into Disney+ original series WandaVision knows that watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe project is an exercise in patience and humility; everything that you thought you knew about the story of Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) is wrong, and the truth is being slowly revealed to us episode by episode. As it turns out, the viewers aren’t the only ones having to exert a lot of brain power to watch the show. To craft Wanda’s twisted tale and create the TV-inspired world she’s living in, the creators of WandaVision also went through their fair share of stress.
The show's plot takes place shortly after the events of Avengers: Endgame and sees former Avenger Wanda struggling with her grief over the death of her lover and comrade Vision (Paul Bettany). As a result, the superhero spirals, and her emotional breakdown leads to the creation of an alternate universe within the city limits of the New Jersey town Westview. Inside of this altered reality, life plays out like a sitcom — titled WandaVision — in which Wanda and her other half are reunited and attempting to live normal lives as a married couple.
WandaVision is initially executed as a black and white TV sitcom akin to old 1950s classics like I Love Lucy and Leave It to Beaver, but over time, the show-within-the-show morphs to match the color series that marked the decades that followed. As episodes go by, it also expands to the real world beyond Westview, focusing on S.W.O.R.D.'s close watch of the metaphysical phenomenon taking place.
For head writer and producer Jac Schaeffer, putting together the fractured pieces of Wanda's story was incredibly difficult. The team had to pull from complicated Marvel comic book canon as well the larger interconnected plot points of unreleased MCU projects to come in order to make the show work — a truly herculean effort.
"I think that when we were breaking the story, it was really hard," Schaeffer explained in conversation with Digital Spy. "We had a lot of goals. There were a lot of different levels. I have a lot of memories. When I think about the early stages of breaking it – I remember a lot of headaches, and just being like, 'How do we hold this all in?'"
"We had so many different systems and color coding and formats to make it all work," she said. "And the decision-making of what's too much? What's gilding the lily? What's not enough? All of those early development decisions are really hard."
Though Schaeffer and her writer's room were able to get really creative with Wanda's story, she also revealed that there were some guidelines provided by the superhero franchise. Because everything in the MCU is ultimately connected, there were certain characters that had to be present in WandaVision because of their larger role in future plots, including S.W.O.R.D. captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), and astrophysicist Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings). Luckily, Schaeffer was able to make it work with what she was given; the cast of WandaVision is nothing to scoff at.
"It's not about shoehorning things in, which is why I think the movies and the shows work well," concluded the creator. "There is an organic quality to all of those choices."
Clearly, a lot of work was put into WandaVision to make it such a chaotic experience episode after episode. And I don't know about you, but knowing that even amidst the chaos of the Disney+ series, everything going on with Wanda will eventually make sense is actually comforting — even if that "eventually" is three or four MCU films away.