2020, due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a painfully dry year for Marvel fans. The Disney+ series WandaVision, debuting Jan. 15, 2021, aims to change that while also putting experimentation at the forefront.
While the project is billed as a six-hour series, Teyonah Parris—who plays a grown-up Monica Rambeau in the Jac Schaeffer-created project—explained in a new Entertainment Weekly cover story that fans can actually expect a full-blown cinematic experience.
"I was like, 'Oh, I thought we were doing a little show,' but no, it's six Marvel movies packed into what they're presenting as a sitcom," said Parris, whose stacked resume includes Mad Men, Charm City Kings, and the upcoming Candyman.
She also spoke on the personal and historic importance of taking on the character of Rambeau, who was seen as a young girl in last year's Captain Marvel as portrayed by Akira Akbar. "I feel so special and honored to be able to walk in her shoes and bring her story to life," Parris told writer Devan Coggan for EW. "I hope that me playing this character (a) gives a group of people who are underrepresented a chance to see themselves, and (b) seeing my face and my Black body helps them engage with Black women and our humanity."
The series is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame and sees the leads, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, adding new dimensions to Wanda, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch, and Vision as a married couple in the Pleasantville-esque town of Westview. From there, though the promo so far has been characteristically limited in terms of plot reveals, we see the newlywed pair slowly come to terms with the fact that not all is as it appears in their seemingly ideal sitcom-ified existence.
Fittingly, much inspiration was taken from a number of classic TV comedies across a variety of eras, with the first episode even going so far as being filmed entirely in black-and-white and in front of a live studio audience. For Olsen, the "insanity" of it all struck a personal chord.
"There was something very meta for my own life because I would visit those tapings as a kid, where my sisters were working [on Full House]," Olsen said.
Bettany, meanwhile, joked that the shoot left everyone involved on such a "high" that he ended up pining for it to continue by way of an around-the-world trek. "Maybe take it out on tour or something. WandaVision on ice," he said.
The path to WandaVision began in 2018 when Disney approached Marvel creatives about the possibility of developing a slate of originals for what would ultimately become the Disney+ platform. Unlike other Marvel-birthed TV projects, these are bolstered by the gift of total creative control. As Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige said, this caveat allowed for the creative team to "throw the rules out the window."
The full EW piece contains much more with regards to hype-building, including a brief breakdown of a little something known as "SnotGate." Peep it here.
Next year will tentatively bring the arrival of Black Widow, originally slated for May 2020, and Eternals. Both films are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase Four plans, which saw a sizable shift in release strategy thanks to the pandemic.