To kick off 2021, Marvel treated us with their first Disney+ MCU series, Wandavision, and I have to say having watched Episode 3 yesterday this series is like nothing before. As mentioned in my post last week, we have had quite a Marvel drought since Covid hit and we have been left to ponder the ramifications of the final scenes of Spider-Man: Far From Home as well as the future implications coming out of Avengers: Endgame. With the introduction of Wandavision it shows an incredibly strong intention to explore areas of both the comics and superhero tropes that we don’t normally see as well as a willingness to explore a different approach to storytelling. I will warn you, this post will contain spoilers so venture on at your own risk…
Right… still here? And you have seen it? Good – let’s go!
I want to begin with the overall feeling and personality of the show because despite being coming across as a sitcom while paying homage to decades of influential shows, the show feels eerie, dark and tense. This isn’t a bad thing at all because it all ties into the overall narrative that something is amiss and it plays it so well. It reminds me of Twin Peaks to a certain extent where there is this constant sense of foreboding and, although uncomfortable isn’t the word I’d use, it all just feels slightly off. I can’t do this feeling justice without you yourself experiencing it, however hopefully because you are reading this you know what I mean. And normally if you use these words and descriptions in relation to anything else it would be seen as a negative however in this case they work exactly as intended. Following on from Endgame with the death of Vision, we don’t really know the metal stability of Wanda. If you remember, she saw Vision get the mind gem ripped from his skull, shortly after she herself killed him where shortly after she was snapped out of existence only to be snapped back into a battle against Thanos where she manages to go toe to toe with the villain but then get bombed out of the fight. You would expect that she would be going through some things but here we are now watching her live her best life with her dead lover and magical twins to boot. It all feels strange and it feels like there is an element of coping or reality avoiding going on.
I want to tackle a few points here but these are by no means the only theories and thoughts to take from what we have seen so far. Here, I will talk about a few obvious points as well as a few lesser ones in an attempt to understand the 90 odd minutes of footage we have seen and the implications of whats to come.
What or who is Vision?
Before we get into other points, the obvious question most people wonder is how is Vision alive and what is his true nature? Given the last we saw he was dead and he isn’t exactly someone you can simply rebuild, the obvious answer is that he forms part of Wanda’s reality bending world and that it will transpire down the line that he, much like everyone else involved, is a figment of the imaginary world. Something to note though is that if the inhabitants were all truly created by Wanda (knowingly or otherwise) they do seem to have a semblance of self-awareness as we see with Agnes and Herb in Episode 3 where they clearly want to tell Vision something. Vision as well, notices things are strange and is even questioning what is happening before Wanda forcibly resets the show. To me this suggests that there is something more real about those that live in, but can’t escape, the town. That still doesn’t answer the question about who or what Vision is however.
Something I noticed in Episode 1, and it may have been a coincidence, is that Vision doesn’t really do anything without Wanda’s say so – the most noticeable is when Mr Heart is choking and Vision only acts when Wanda says ‘Vision save him.’ This could be because he wants her approval to go ahead and use his powers or it could be because he is actually at the mercy of Wanda’s commands, much like everyone would be if she is the creator of that world. I don’t believe that to truly be the case though but at this point I can’t give a proper suggestion on how he has come to be. Several rumours I have seen is that he is actually Mephisto in disguise and is serving as the true creator and jailor of the Wandavision show, allowing him to remain close to one of the most powerful beings in the MCU and influence her. This could be true, but his own surprise about the strangeness of the world makes me think he is not the true instigator and that Mephisto instead could be Agnes’ husband Ralph who we are yet to see. The Verge breaks this theory down very well so you should check it out here. Needless to say, I buy into this theory about Mephisto’s role in the show which once again leaves us with the questions – who and how is Vision there?
Another way he could exist is through the multiverse and that Wanda has plucked an alternative version of Vision from another universe and is keeping him in her own little world. Given Wanda’s future involvement in Dr Strange: Multiverse of Madness and the fact it is clear we haven’t seen Wanda’s powers fully realised yet, she could be a key to entering and traversing this multiverse. You also have to note that Evan Peters who played Quicksilver in the X-Men films is rumoured to be part of the cast, opening up a potential link between Fox’s X-Men universe and the MCU. As far as ideas go, I think it is plausible but I don’t believe it to be the most likely. If I had to put my money on an idea now I would go for Occam’s Razor and say that he was created by Wanda and doesn’t truly exist outside the town as of yet. I believe him to be the only one that is fully created by Wanda though with the other denizens being either S.W.O.R.D agents or just unlucky residents trapped within that reality. I reckon he would have been created by Wanda or the mastermind of the reality (probably Mephisto) as a way for her to either cope with the trauma she has experienced (remember before that she lost her brother Pietro in Age of Ultron, a point she clearly remembers when it is mentioned by Geraldine) or he was created as a way to control her/keep her happy and therefore not question their existence or try escape.
The commercials and their significance
A very interesting part of Wandavision is the mid episode commercial breaks that showcase different products related to aspects of Wanda’s past. Episode 1 shows us the Stark Toaster, with Stark being the reason her family were killed by a bomb which set her on the path of vengeance and into the arms of both Ultron and Strucker, the Strucker watch which could represent the fact it was Strucker’s experimentation with the mind stone that gave her her powers in the first place and then in Episode 3 we get the Hydra’s Blue Soap. Now Hydra’s soap has cropped up before as mentioned in Agents of Shield by Phil Coulson where he claims that Hydra mind controlled people through the use of soap that implanted fake memories in the user… it could simply be a throw back nod to this snetence or it could suggest that Hydra isn’t as dead as first expected and instead could have a hand in Wanda’s predicament. It is also worth noting that despite the mind stone being yellow when broken out of it’s casing, it is blue in Loki’s sceptre which was also pretty persuasive.
It’s clear that these all mean something to Wanda and they are going to tie into the wider universe but what that will be remains to be seen. If I was to guess, a lot of these tie in to Wanda’s experiences and history, so I think this could be her way of processing key figures and events in her life in a way that ties in with the world that she is in. In Episode 4, maybe we will see something that links to Civil War and her experience within the raft before being broken out by Cap and I imagine further along we will see something that is ‘infinity’ themed as well as Thanos themed. I don’t think that this is Hydra based though… I think that this is a bit too mystical in nature to be those guys.
I’m getting Butterflies
You may have noticed that in Episode 3, Wanda makes the baby’s butterfly mobile come alive and the butterflies flutter around the room, one of which lands on Vision’s face but this isn’t the first time that a butterfly has played a role in the use if magic. If you cast your mind back to when Dr Strange was flying around the multiverse there is a brief moment where he floats above the Earth and reaches out to touch… a butterfly… If you need a reminder it’s near the start of the video below. Again, this could be a nice little nod but it could also represent that Wanda’s powers are a lot more mystical in nature which again ties back to her involvement in Dr Strange 2.
Asides from the mystical element, it also begs the question of the nature of the world she is currently living in. If you remember in Episode 1 she tried to unburn a chicken and in turn brought it back to life and made it an egg meaning that she either has the power of life and death or time. I would argue that the fact she made the mobile come to life would mean that, of the two, she has the power over creating life as she also created Billy and Tommy pretty swiftly across the end of Episode 2 and the duration of Episode 3. Of course, these may not be her actual powers and they could be reality bending projections instead meaning that it appears that she has the power to create life and rewind time when in fact she is just playing with reality and these aren’t alive in a true sense. Consider Thanos on Knowhere when he alters the reality of what the Guardians see, even to the point where he simulates Gamora slitting his throat. Given Wanda’s powers come directly from the stone, it would be no surprise if her power could rival that.
There is a lot to unpack with Wandavision, and as it goes on I think it will likely both shed more light on Wanda’s situation but also raise more questions about the universe in general. Also, the points I have discussed here are only a few of the points to take from the episodes so far. To begin with, I haven’t even touched on S.W.O.R.D and the perimeter around the reality that Wanda has created or the fact that having Tommy and Billy means that we have confirmation that in one way or another Wiccan and Speed now exist in the MCU making the case for the New Avengers that bit tastier. Given the wealth of theories and implications coming out of each episodes, I am aiming to do a blog every episode or two to recap and cover new ground while looking back at my thoughts to see just how wrong I am. As it stands, I think she is in a reality of her own making but with a false sense or and unknown sense of control over it meaning that there is clearly someone else acting as a puppet master, and for that my money is on Mephisto.
I also believe that Wandavision is going to set the scene for Phase 4, setting up some of the direction (magic and multiverse) that a lot of Phase 4 will explore which will bleed into Dr Strange, Spider-Man and probably some of the unexpected films too. I am very impressed with what I have seen so far and I am impressed with how Disney are embracing the TV Series model to supplement the MCU in a different and very current way. Stylistically, the jumping between decades helps make each episode different so I look forward to what is to come, but I am also excited to see if they can carry this confident storytelling into other series such as Loki and Falcon and the Winter Solider in their own unique ways.