WandaVision writer Jac Schaeffer reveals that the Disney + limited series began with a 1950s sitcom episode because it was “disorienting and intriguing.”
WandaVision Writer Jac Schaeffer revealed why the Disney + limited series opened with a 1950s sitcom. Marvel’s inaugural streaming show highlights Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) as she faces loss of his love Vision (Paul Bettany) using his powers to create a false reality based on the golden age of TV sitcoms. WandaVision was a huge hit with audiences and critics alike, earning 23 2021 Emmy Award nominations.
The pilot episode, called Filmed in front of a studio audience, is one of the nominated scenarios. Written by Schaeffer, the premiere draws viewers into the black-and-white world of a 1950s sitcom similar to The Dick Van Dyke Show. Wanda and Vision are introduced as newlyweds arriving in the charming town of Westview where their perfect new home awaits them. From there, hijackings ensue as they attempt to hide their superpowers from the townspeople. It’s a bit of an abstract way to kick off a series focused on Marvel superheroes but, according to Schaeffer, that was the point.
Schaeffer recently stated Deadline that throwing viewers straight into Wanda’s alternate reality was the best way to get into her story. Schaeffer said:
âRather than telling the linear story of Wanda’s arrival in Westview, I thought opening the series into her sitcom world would be the most disorienting and intriguing entry point for the series. My hope was to produce. a sitcom episode charming enough to pass for the real thing that viewers were lulled into forgetting that they were actually watching a Marvel show (until the carpet was pulled out from under them when Mr. Hart began to choke and that we’re breaking the multi-camera aesthetic). “
Based on the reactions to the WandaVision pilot, Schaeffer and his team have certainly achieved their desired mystique. Filmed in front of a studio audience laid the groundwork for the tension and left viewers puzzled, but intrigued enough to want more. It was not an easy task for Schaeffer to succeed. She explained that the pilot’s opening sequence was the most difficult to write. While she knew which stereotypical sitcom roles Wanda and Vision to put into, she enlisted the help of her team to clarify what the sitcom conflict should be. In the end, they landed on a classic misunderstanding between the duo.
Schaeffer’s recent statement poses an interesting question: What is the best entry point for Wanda’s grief story? Watching Wanda and the next generation take over Westview of her custom sitcom world would undoubtedly have been engaging. If they fleshed out the plots of the supporting cast and extended Wanda’s transformation of the city for about eight episodes, it could have WandaVision we finally saw a season 2. Of course, in a world where linear storytelling has become obsolete, the path that Marvel ultimately chose was more haunting and action-packed. Viewers begin the show much like Wanda: in a state of lulled confusion where the lines fade.
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