Between WandaVision’s most recent pair of episodes, the show’s gone from being a kooky, slightly mysterious love letter to television itself (with some superheroes thrown in) to Marvel’s bold attempt at synthesizing some of the Scarlet Witch and the Vision’s most convoluted, iconic arcs from the comics into something new within the MCU.
WandaVision’s well-rounded cast of SWORD agents, trapped residents, and strange, new characters of indeterminate origin (the kids) have all played important roles in the show. They’ve provided clues about what’s going on that’s led to a number of theories from fans. When we spoke with series creator Jac Schaeffer recently, she explained that while the mystery element is definitely an important part of WandaVision’s story, it was also important to her to keep Wanda’s agency intact.
Charlies Pulliam-Moore, Gizmodo: Wanda and Vision have been a presence in the MCU for quite a while now, and I wanted to know what about them you, as a storyteller, had been missing from their characterizations before WandaVision?
Jac Schaeffer: Wanda and Vision are both so incredible in the MCU, and I didn’t really look at it like what’s missing. It was more like, “What’s a more complete picture?” When I approach work, I always want to know what the most surprising thing is, which is why I gravitated to this idea of sitcoms. This seemed like the most incredible opportunity to see them laugh and to see them enjoy each other and to be relaxed and to be silly — to exist in the world without aliens flying by, you know? Without quite the same universal stakes. It was that — to see them living like us with the little highs and lows of the day.
Gizmodo: Beyond literally going for comedy, what did you want the presence of that lightness and intimacy between Wanda and Vision to mean for the show?
Schaeffer: Well, I mean, for me, in my personal life, which is not what you asked, but there are times when I still feel like I don’t have a handle on my own life. I constantly have to relearn the fact that life is everything all at once. You’re not sad all the time, and you’re not laughing all the time, and that’s what I was interested in for both of their characters. Yes, the silliness, yes, the sitcom, but what about the anxiety and the fear and the sadness on the edges of that? You can’t stay in one state, good or bad, forever. That’s all there in the show, but it’s also just me telling myself that.
Gizmodo: I’m not really interested in getting into theories and specifics because there’s only so much you can say.
Schaeffer: [laughing] Yeah. Thank. You.
Gizmodo: I do want to talk to you about this idea that’s bubbled up around WandaVision about how, even without specifics, the show’s touching on the important elements from comics where Wanda’s trauma, but not Wanda as a person, has really been the focus, if that makes sense. What were the deeper things about Wanda’s state of being — and not just, you know, her mental state — that you wanted to see her working through?
Schaeffer: Thank you for that question and for that observation. There are a lot of really terrific comics and stories about Wanda. But I do think she is often used as a tool, and diving into what’s really happening inside of her was a real challenge because of the thinness of her characterization in so many storylines.
We talked about this a lot in the room, and I really don’t think I found these things about Wanda until I started working with Lizzie (Olsen). She is such an authentic performer, and the emotional logic has to line up for her to dig in. She would come to me if things weren’t making sense or feeling accurate, and that working process made me understand Wanda much more. There’s this misunderstood element to her that’s a constant injury to her because no one can see her for who she is and all of her complexity except for Vision, and I think that’s a lot of what their connection is.
Gizmodo: As people look to future episodes, what sorts of things should they pay attention to as they develop their ideas about the larger MCU?
Schaeffer: I guess what I’ll say is this: my focus was this show. It’s wonderful to see these characters move on to other projects, but what I wanted was for this show to feel complete and for there to be a true emotional catharsis that audiences get to experience themselves.
Gizmodo: Interesting. The next time any of these characters pop up in future projects, will the events of WandaVision still be weighing on their minds?
Schaeffer: Oh, you mean like shows and movies beyond. Can’t answer that one. Sorry. But if you’ve been watching the MCU long enough, you know that nothing’s ever truly forgotten.
WandaVision is now streaming on Disney+.