On Friday, January 15, a brand new period of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was launched, one which lastly folded TV collection into the overarching mythology and formally kicked off the start of Part 4 (or as I prefer to name it, “So You’ve Defeated Thanos. Now What?”). With “WandaVision” making its bow on Disney+, followers at the moment are residing totally in a post-“Blip” world — an incident during which half of all Earth’s creatures are snapped out of existence, earlier than finally being reinstated — an occasion so seismic that it appears the world itself won’t ever be fairly the identical.
Not that followers would have any private expertise with that, after all.
All issues thought of, “WandaVision” is likely to be the weirdest of locations for this part of Marvel storytelling to start, on condition that, whereas the present theoretically takes place in modern-day, it’s (in all probability) enjoying out throughout the thoughts of its lead, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), a.okay.a. the Scarlet Witch, probably as a approach to course of her trauma after shedding her romantic associate Imaginative and prescient (Paul Bettany) throughout the occasions of “Avengers: Infinity Struggle.” And in processing that trauma, Maximoff is utilizing the tried and true framework of traditional sitcom tropes, which ends up in black-and-white episodes and shock visits from the massive boss and, after all, the resurrection of Imaginative and prescient.
If all of that appears complicated, it’s as a result of it’s. As an individual fairly invested within the MCU, very invested in TV (previous and new), and whole-heartedly invested in watching Olsen explore the nuances of grief, “WandaVision” appears tailored for me. And but, because of traditional Marvel bread-crumbing and obfuscating for obfuscation’s sake, even I’m left questioning why this present exists.
(Disclaimer: Secrecy has all the time been of the best order for the MCU and, as such, critics have been solely supplied with the primary three episodes of the eight-episode restricted collection.)
In prolonged discussions with colleagues within the trade, there are three colleges of thought in the case of “WandaVision.” They’re not mutually unique and your conclusions might range primarily based in your ranges of cynicism.
Idea 1: “WandaVision” is a stop-gap storytelling measure, the higher to fill the time between movie franchise releases. Surely, on some stage, this can be a principal goal in creating not simply “WandaVision,” however many of the different upcoming Marvel TV collection. Buoyed by the success of “The Mandalorian,” Disney+ has confirmed a spot that may host and promote new TV initiatives from present IP, and achieve this successfully sufficient that it has earned Emmy nominations for it. So, sure, “WandaVision” undoubtedly exists partially due to cash.
Courtesy of Disney+
Idea 2: “WandaVision” is a chance to breakout a singular story for exploration, a boon for followers hungry to know extra in regards to the day gamers who populate the MCU however would by no means justify their very own movie. This one in all probability holds true as effectively, given the obsessive nature of fandom, but additionally, the truth that throughout the Marvel Universe, Disney has a complete host of A-list expertise below contract simply ready to be utilized. If in case you have Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany simply hanging round within the empty warehouse the place I assume Disney herds all of its expertise, why not make a restricted collection with them?
Additional, there’s an attention-grabbing story to be informed about Wanda and her dearly departed Imaginative and prescient (followers aware of Wanda’s adventures within the comedian books can attest), and it seems that Marvel is conscious of that. However are they keen to truly interact with trauma and grief, or are they utilizing real emotional stakes as a false flag, the higher to drag viewers into one other bizarre conspiracy rabbit gap that solely serves to additional the overarching MCU narrative?
Idea 3: “WandaVision” is a narrative and a collection that justifies its personal existence, with its personal narrative to weave, and its personal emotional resonance to discover. Possibly? Hopefully? That is, after all, the most effective case situation, not only for “WandaVision” however for any TV present. No showrunner, give or take a David Lynch, desires individuals strolling away from their collection scratching their head and questioning, “What the hell did I simply watch, and why the hell did I watch it?” To be really profitable, “WandaVision” must discover a approach to justify its personal existence, an existence that’s greater than merely functioning as a cog within the Marvel machine however, ideally, with its personal agenda, with which it’s primarily involved.
It’s unclear if “WandaVision” clears this bar. It’s unclear if it ever will. Finally, Idea 3 is what each MCU collection must be aiming for: an unbiased story that deserves exploration and, additional, is finest served by being informed in episodic chunks. If Marvel can’t make that occur, perhaps they need to simply persist with motion pictures.
For an all out Marvel brawl and/or a respectful dialog in regards to the nature of storytelling and discovering a medium that matches your narrative, try this week’s episode of IndieWire’s TV podcast “Millions of Screens” as hosts Deputy TV Editor Ben Travers, Inventive Producer Leo Garcia, and myself, TV Awards Editor Libby Hill, focus on all issues — besides spoilers — “WandaVision.”
Plus, keep tuned for our crucial tackle the Critics Alternative Awards nominations, in addition to the announcement that Paramount+ is coming and nothing you or I do or say can cease it. However, actually, what’s with the title?
“Millions of Screens” is out there on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. You’ll be able to subscribe here or through RSS. Share your feedback with the crew on Twitter or hold forth within the feedback. Assessment the present on iTunes and be sure you tell us in the event you’d like to listen to the gang handle particular points in upcoming editions of “Hundreds of thousands of Screens.” Try the remainder of IndieWire’s podcasts on iTunes right here.
This episode of “Hundreds of thousands of Screens” was produced by Leonardo Adrian Garcia.