On Entertainment Weekly’s The Awardist podcast with Schaeffer discusses why a specific scene from Monica Rambeau’s (Teyonah Parris) story had to be cut.
“My pitch was mapped to the stages of grief, it ended up being kind of a reductive thing,” said Schaeffer. “I don’t know if you know this or not, Teyonah, but [Monica] had a therapist in the base, the pop-up base. There were therapy scenes because we, in the [writers’] room, were very pro-therapy.”
WandaVisionremained invested in exploring the effects of grieving and trauma. If you’ve watched the show, you know Monica Rambeau went through a lot to become the hero she is today, and Schaeffer was itching to give the audience access into her psyche with scenes of her speaking to a therapist. Unfortunately, it was deleted due to timing. Schaeffer states, “We were like, ‘Well, we’ve got to have a therapist,’ and then realized that there’s not a lot of time in the pop-up [S.W.O.R.D.] base [outside Westview] for Monica to be stepping into her sessions at all.”
Well, that sucks! I hope they release the scene because I would like to know what’s going on inside Monica’s head. It might give us some perspective of what’s to come when Monica, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) come together in the film The Marvels set to release in 2022.
What do you think? Should they release that deleted scene? Let us know!
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By the end of The Dark Phoenix Saga, Jean’s naps were less about her and more about the Phoenix fully subsuming her personality and going on an interstellar rampage that left billions of people dead. At the beginning of the saga, though, Jean was still in the throes of her possession and trying to force the Phoenix out with little success. Out of all the times in Jean’s life where she prioritized lying down, few are as understandable as her Phoenix heel turn considering the effort she was exerting. Easy a target as Jean is for derision (some of it deserved), you’ve got to give her credit for always picking herself back up, eventually, even from death. Her whole resurrection bit’s mostly due to the Phoenix’s power, sure, but it’s nice to think that at least some of it is due to the fact that throughout her superheroic career, she never wasted any energy pretending she wasn’t on the brink of physical and mental exhaustion. Relatable.
Morning SpoilersIf there’s news about upcoming movies and television you’re not supposed to know, you’ll find it in here.
Dark Horse’s Lady Killer is being turned into a movie. Marvel offers vague teases for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Marvels. Emma Stone goes behind-the-scenes in new Cruella footage. Plus, what’s to come on The Handmaid’s Tale and Black Lightning. Spoilers now!
According to Deadline, Diablo Cody is attached to write an adaptation of the Dark Horse comic book series, Lady Killer, written by Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich, illustrated by Joëlle Jones, and colored by Laura Allred. The project is for Netflix with Blake Lively attached to star. Lively will play Josie Schuller, “by all appearances the perfect 1950’s housewife— but when she’s not catering to the needs of her family, she leads a secret life as a highly-trained killer for hire. She really likes the second job, and her husband has no idea.”
Indiana Jones 5
During a recent interview with Collider, Mads Mikkelsen stated he was “invited in to create” his Indiana Jones 5 character.
I do think I’m invited in to create a character, I think that everybody wants that. That’s why they pick certain actors that they think can come up with certain things, and it will be a collaboration as it always is. Interesting enough, again a little like Riders of Justice, there is kind of a genre mix in Indiana Jones always. There is something that is a little larger-than-life, almost back to the 30s with a Peter Lorre kind of feel, and then you have Indiana Jones who kind of is a straight man. But he does produce a lot of funny and interesting things, but there are different character genres in some of those films.
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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Marvel (via /Film) has released an official logline for Wakanda Forever.
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will continue to explore the incomparable world of Wakanda, and all of the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film.
/Film additionally has a synopsis for the upcoming sequel to Captain Marvel.
Marvel Studios’ The Marvels will feature Brie Larson returning to the role of Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers. In the film, she’ll be joined by Teyonah Parris, who was first introduced as adult Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios’ WandaVision, along with Iman Vellani, who will appear as Ms. Marvel in the upcoming Disney+ series of the same name. Prepare to experience it and fly higher, further, and faster with the film, directed by Nia DaCosta!
Appearing as a guest on Slasher Radio, Stephen Chiodo revealed 2019’s Critters Attack! was partially responsible for the cancelation of Syfy’s planned Killer Klowns from Outer Space sequel.
There was a deal… MGM controls the rights…and they went to SYFY. They did Critters, and you saw what that turned out to be like. But they wanted to do Klowns for like two million [dollars]. And we don’t want to do that…we did it for two million back in the ’80s. So we didn’t want to do it. And even MGM didn’t want to do it… they said it was a more valuable property than just signing off for that little money.
Marvel has dropped a new sizzle reel designed to celebrate its movies past and present as theaters slowly begin to re-open after a year of covid-19 induced lockdowns—and there are a few surprises within. After what feels like eons of waiting and delays, now finally have our first moving look at Chloé Zhao’s Eternalsin action. Check it out below, the new footage starts at around 2:20 (after a brief reminder that Black Widow is still on the way, and even more Shang-Chi teases)—featuring very pretty location shots, our heroes mostly standing around together, Salma Hayek on a horse, and Angelina Jolie wielding a mystical sword!
Not only do we get that, however! Marvel also uses the video to give us the first official title reveal for Captain Marvel 2—starring Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers alongside Wandavision’s Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau and Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan—as The Marvels. Also included was the title reveal for Black Panther 2, out in July 2022, now officially known as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Here is the current release date breakdown so you can plan your next few years:
Black Widow: July 9, 2021
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: Septermber 3, 2021
Eternals: November 5, 2021
Spider-Man: No Way Home: December 17, 2021
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: March 25, 2022
Thor: Love and Thunder: May 6, 2022
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: July 8, 2022
The Marvels: November 11, 2022
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania: February 17, 2023
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: May 5, 2023
Fantastic Four: TBD
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In a truly confounding mash-up of what I previously understood to be two completely unrelated things, ESPN has announced its “first-ever Marvel-inspired alternate NBA telecast.” Wait, what?
ESPN described the event as a “Marvel-inspired alternate presentation” for an upcoming Golden State Warriors versus New Orleans Pelicans game slated for May 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The event will center on a Marvel storyline with 3D characters and animations and will feature characters Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Black Widow, and Doctor Strange. Three players from each team, including Warriors Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, will have active roles in the event and will win “Marvel Hero points” for their performance in the game.
“After a narrow victory over an invading alien army, the Avengers receive an ominous threat from the enemy who vows to return in greater numbers and force. The Black Panther and Iron Man quickly realize they will need more help and form a plan to expand their ranks to fight this impending threat,” the press release reads. “Recognizing the superior physical abilities, agility, and tenacity of Earth’s greatest athletes, the Avengers will hold a series of contests where the winners earn the right to train and fight alongside them as Marvel’s Champions! The Avengers will begin their recruitment with the NBA elite and observe the battle between the Warriors and the Pelicans, focusing on three star players from each team.”
The winning team will evidently be named Marvel’s first Champion. Points can be both won and deducted based on performance during the event, which is certainly one idea. We have some notes.
Here’s how this should go: First of all, Thanos’ head will serve as the ball. At an unspecified time during any point in the IRL game, half of the players will disappear. Scratch that—half of the entire arena will disappear. In the wake of missing players and bystanders, signs for the poorly constructed campaign to #BringBackTonyStarktoLife will crop up everywhere. Chaos will ensue. Just spitballing here but surely if we want to give the people the true Marvel experience, we can do better than 3D visuals and cartoons, can we not?
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The event will stream on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+, and ESPN Deportes. ESPN, please feel free to contact us here at Gizmodo dot com if you’d like some feedback.
Marvel and Viz Media have announced a new partnership to bring two manga volumes to print, one entirely new to the West and the other releasing for the first time physically. The latter is mangaka Nao Fuji’s Marvel Meow, which originally debuted on Marvel Comics’ official Instagram, but will now be released as a special collection charting the adventures of your feline friend and mine, Captain Marvel’s Flerken Chewie (a.k.a. Goose for those familiar with their MCU counterpart). The series follows Chewie’s escapades as (in true kitty style) no one in the Marvel Universe, hero or villain alike, can stop themselves from simultaneously falling in love with, and being at the mercy of, Chewie’s whims.
Viz and Marvel will follow that up with the first English translation of Sanshirou Kasama and Hikaru Uesugi’s Deadpool: Samurai Shonen Jump digital series. It’s a spin-out of a one-shot last year that, as the title implies, sees the Merc with a Mouth flung through time to feudal Japan, forcing him to adapt and become a wandering ronin.
Marvel Meow will release in fall 2021, with Deadpool: Samurai following it sometime next year.
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Clarke’s casting comes a single day after the announcement that The Crown star Olivia Colman would be joining the series, which means Secret Invasion will have two queens—Elizabeth II and the Khaleesi—on its roster. They’ll be joined by Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Ben Mendelsohn as the shape-changing Skrull Talos, and Kingsley Ben-Adir as the villain.
There’s no word on who Clarke or Colman will play, although in the original Secret Invasion comics, the invasion was masterminded by the Skrull empress Veranke masquerading as Spider-Woman. However, in Captain Marvel, the Skrulls are revealed to be pretty decent aliens and Spider-Man: Far From Home’s post-credits scene shows Fury and Talos palling around in space, which is surely where Secret Invasion will begin. Plus, I don’t know that Marvel’s ready to add a Spider-Woman quite yet, but you never really know. Now that the MCU is a multiverse of madness, pretty much anything is possible.
We don’t know when the Secret Invasion TV series will premiere, presumably because it’s a secret.
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How big is Marvel Studios these days? It can get Oscar-winning actors to appear not just in its movies, but on its streaming shows. Case in point: Olivia Colman, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2019, is joining up with Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn for Secret Invasion, one of several upcoming Disney+ Marvel shows.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news and though there’s no word on who Colman will be playing, “an infiltration of Skrulls on Earth figures into the proceedings” of the show, which is unsurprising since it shares a name with the iconic comics event where, well, exactly that happens. We don’t know for sure, but it’s likely that Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion picks up after the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home where Nick Fury (Jackson) was revealed to be out in space on a Skrull ship while Talos (Mendelsohn) was back on Earth, pretending to be Fury. All of which was set up in Captain Marvel, and likewise there’s no word on how, or if, the show will impact the sequel to that movie, which is set for release November 2022.
Colman won that 2019 Oscar for The Favourite—and, looking across her career, it’s so perfect that she won for that. In that role, she was required to be funny and dark and intense all rolled into one, which is basically everything she, herself, can do as an actress. Many of us probably remember her first from her small, funny role as one of the police officers in Hot Fuzz. More recently, she’s been stunning and stoic as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown. But she also stood toe-to-toe with new Indiana Jones cast member Phoebe Waller-Bridge for two seasons of the amazing Fleabag and got another Oscar nomination this year for her movie with with Odin himself, Anthony Hopkins, in The Father. She’s a powerhouse of talent that will be a formidable friend (or foe) to Fury and his crew.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ve rounded up 18 essential fantasy and sci-fi films directed by women (want horror? We’ve got a list for that, too!) And with projects like Black Widow (directed by Cate Shortland) and Eternals(Chloé Zhao) on the way soon, this list is just gonna keep expanding.
1) The Matrix
Though the sequels were a bit polarizing, there’s no denying the power, lasting impact, and tremendous influence of the Matrix films—especially the 1999 original. Over 20 years later, the sci-fi series created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski—about a man (Keanu Reeves) who realizes humanity is trapped in an oppressive simulation and bounces back and forth between worlds after joining a group of shiny-jacketed cyberpunk rebels—is still such a cultural touchstone that the fourth Matrix film (directed by Lana Wachowski solo this time), due later this year, seems likely to spark a full-scale series revival.
2) Birds of Prey
Cathy Yan’s vibrant, violent, feminist answer to comic book action flicks did indeed deliver the fantabulous emancipation of one Harley Quinn, as the movie’s full title promised. But it also gave us an outstandingly diverse ensemble cast, with Jurnee Smollett’s Black Canary, Rosie Perez’s Detective Renee Montoya, Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Huntress, and Ella Jay Basco’s Cass backing up Margot Robbie’s wildly attired, charismatic, egg sandwich-coveting Harley. Inventive, colorful, and hyper-energetic, Birds of Prey felt more like a standalone than part of DC’s expanded cinematic universe, something that made it all the more fun to watch.
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3) Captain Marvel
Marvel’s first female standalone superhero movie—took ‘em long enough—was co-directed by Marvel’s first female director, Anna Boden, who helmed with her partner Ryan Fleck (next year’s Captain Marvel 2, however, will be directed solo by Nia DaCosta). While Carol Danvers’ turn in Endgame was kind of a non-event (to be fair, that movie had a lot going on), the movie showcasing Brie Larson’s debut as the character made great use of its 1990s setting while showing us important moments in Marvel history (Nick Fury’s eye, we hardly knew ye) and giving us one of the greatest sci-fi cats ever—while also emphasizing themes of empowerment, tolerance, the deep bonds of female friendship, and resilience no matter which cosmic jerkface is trying to keep you down.
4) Wonder Woman
No list of fantasy movies directed by women could leave off Wonder Woman—Patty Jenkins’ blockbuster reminder that, yes, audiences would very much like to see a fierce female superhero saving the world, spreading joy, and maybe even enjoying some ice cream and a fashion montage along the way. We were somewhat less taken with the sequel, but the goodwill forged by the first film still counts for a lot—especially that scene where Gal Gadot’s Diana rises up to charge a World War I battlefield as the movie’s iconic theme music swells in the background. Chills. Every. Time.
Some casual statistics: Jennifer Lee, who co-directed the Oscar-winning animated sensation with Chris Buck, is the first female director of a Walt Disney Animation Studios feature. (She also co-directed Frozen II and wrote both the Frozen and Frozen II screenplays.) Thanks to the film’s enchanting story of two royal sisters trying to navigate young adulthood without their parents, a situation complicated by one sister’s burgeoning magical powers—not to mention palace intrigue, snowman shenanigans, and an incessantly catchy soundtrack—Lee also became the first female director of any film that grossed over a billion dollars.
Nora Ephron co-wrote (with Delia Ephron) and directed this big-screen take on the supernatural sitcom, starring Nicole Kidman as a nose-twitching witch who stumbles into playing the lead in a Bewitched series revival opposite a buffoonish, egotistical actor (Will Ferrell). Not all the pieces fit together perfectly in this one (though the ensemble cast, which includes Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Kristen Chenoweth, and Steve Carell, is excellent), but comedy legend Ephron’s clever meta-approach is inspired; this Bewitched ends up being just as much about celebrity culture as it is about witchcraft, with fame being presented as kind of the ultimate spell.
Say what you will about its sparkly vampires and the questionable depiction of baseball, but for a moment in time there, Twilight was the hottest property in pop culture. In 2008, at the screaming height of Twilight fever, the feature film hit theaters—directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who’d broken out a few years prior with Thirteen, a very different (but also kind of similar) tale of a young girl’s troublesome coming-of-age. Twilight, filmed on a relatively small budget, became a huge hit, transformed googly-eyed lovers Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson into instant superstars, and made Hardwicke one of the most commercially successful female filmmakers to date.
8) Bird Box
Susanne Bier directed Netflix’s adaptation of Josh Malerman’s novel, which follows a woman named Malorie (Sandra Bullock) who desperately tries to keep a pair of children safe in a world that’s been invaded by aliens that’ll make anyone who catches sight of them immediately kill themselves. The movie flips between Malorie at the start of the invasion, dealing with the sudden fear and chaos, and Malorie in the present day—a weary but wiser survivor who has to resort to being a sort of bad-cop mother to the kids whose lives she literally holds in her hands. It’s tense (lots of unnerving blindfolded scenes), but somehow also tender, and Bier draws outstanding performances not just out of Bullock, but the entire cast.
Disney’s live-action adaptation of its own Mulan animated film wasn’t without controversy, but it’s still got the distinction of being directed by Niki Caro, one of few women (at that time, though the number’s still not huge) hired to direct a film budgeted over $100 million. Though covid-19 meant the film ended up bowing on Disney+ rather than in thousands of theaters worldwide, its dazzling visuals and action sequences still earned high praise, even when viewed on the small screen.
10) Real Genius
Teenage nerd goes to college, makes friends with misfits who’re as smart and weird as he is, and eventually, they all join forces to stop their slimeball professor from profiting off a fantastical invention they all worked on for what turned out to be sinister military purposes. Everything in 1985’s Real Genius is pretty much wonderful—especially Val Kilmer’s performance as a brainiac slacker—and the movie’s tone of good-time geekery and stick-it-to-the-man rebellion, all wrapped up in a goofy college-campus setting, has made it a perpetual favorite. All hail director Martha Coolidge, who also directed 1983’s Valley Girl and is therefore a hero to all fans of 1980s teen comedies.
Body-swapping comedies have been done to death. But Penny Marshall’s Big remains the gold standard, with Tom Hanks’ sincere yet hilarious performance anchoring its fantasy tale of a tween boy who wishes himself into adulthood—and then realizes how much he’s missed out on by suddenly making all his dreams come true. Marshall’s own comedy background no doubt helped immensely in making Big such a success, so much so that it’s now a genre classic.
12) Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
The world is ending—imminently, thanks to an incoming asteroid—when this apocalyptic romantic comedy from writer-director Lorene Scafaria begins, and its narrative follows a pair of neighbors who are basically strangers (Steve Carell, Keira Knightley) as they figure out their true priorities while the doomsday clock ticks down. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is built around a gimmick, but it’s an endearing one, and it’s very effective in pushing its characters to extremes that they wouldn’t otherwise have dared to explore. Why not, when they’ve got literally nothing to lose?
13) Deep Impact
Speaking of Earth and asteroids…1998 will forever be remembered as the year Hollywood tried to smash the planet twice with competing blockbuster movies. While Michael Bay’s Armageddon was a certified sausage party, Mimi Leder’s Deep Impact took a more emotional approach, following efforts in space and on the ground to not just figure out a survival strategy, but to grapple with the overwhelming, surreal fear that existence was on the edge of ending forever. The film endeavors to create characters we actually care about, like Téa Leoni’s ambitious cable-news reporter (whose big break is, unfortunately, the doomsday scoop), and Elijah Wood’s lovelorn teen, who shows remarkable speed when it comes time to outrun a tidal wave. Deep Impact is ultimately a pretty silly disaster movie—but it cares about feelings almost as much as it does explosions, which is saying something.
Lynn Hershman Leeson’s 2002 indie, which she wrote and directed, stars Tilda Swinton as a scientist named Rosetta Stone who creates three “Self Replicating Automotons”—clones of herself, also played by Swinton in a variety of glamorous wigs and colorful outfits. The clones survive by injecting themselves with human sperm, a harvesting process that soon begins to affect the men in their midst…oh, and they also run a porn site where they pass themselves off as robots. The end result is stylized, funny, and totally original.
15) Strange Days
Kathryn Bigelow—incidentally, still the only woman to win a Best Director Oscar, though we’ve got a good feeling about Chloé Zhao this year—made our horror list with Near Dark, and is back to represent sci-fi with Strange Days. It’s a noirish story set in turn-of-the-millennium Los Angeles, a place where everyone’s addicted to “jacking in” to virtual reality, preferring to experience horrible memories purloined from somebody else’s brain rather than face the grim, violent actual reality around them. The movie wasn’t a box-office hit, but in retrospect, it’s a pretty fascinating time capsule of how people in the mid-1990s viewed the coming of the year 2000 (and all the freaky new technology that was bound to follow). Also, it features one of Angela Bassett’s most ass-kicking performances.
16) A Wrinkle in Time
Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel (the screenplay was co-written by Frozen’s Jennifer Lee) wasn’t perfect, but there was much to celebrate in its lavish visuals and the way it updated a story from 1962 to reflect a more contemporary sensibility. Storm Reid leads a diverse cast as Meg Murry, who embarks on an intergalactic adventure with her brother and best friend to find her missing father with the help of a magical trio of women (played by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and a sorta-distracting-but-what-did-you-expect? Oprah Winfrey). While A Wrinkle in Time faltered a bit when it came to pacing and plot, it was dazzling enough to make us eager to see what DuVernay—who has found great success in multiple genres—will accomplish when she makes her return to fantasy.
17) Born in Flames
Lizzie Borden’s raw, radical 1983 film—pieced together with faux-documentary footage, news reports, and other elements—is set in an alternate, near-future version of the U.S., where revolutionary feminist groups fight back against sexism. It’s since become a cult film (some have called it life-changing) and, fun fact, it features an acting appearance by Kathryn Bigelow, who pops up as a newspaper editor.
18) Nude on the Moon
This kitschy exploitation classic directed by Doris Wishman and Raymond Phelan is literally what it says on the tin: a nudist movie set on the moon. There’s ostensibly a plot about a pair of astronauts who travel to the moon (which looks suspiciously like Florida) and discover there’s a thriving nudist colony there—led by a Moon Queen, no less. But the plot isn’t the main draw here, and neither is the film’s theme song “I’m Mooning Over You (My Little Moon Doll),” as hard as that is to believe.
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WandaVision has come to a close, and with it, Wanda Maximoff and her synthezoid paramour have been forever changed. But now that the dust’s settled on a magically messed up Westview, io9’s very own Charles Pulliam-Moore, James Whitbrook, Jill Pantozzi, and Germain Lussier created their very own grief induced alt-reality to process our feelings about it all.
Charles: I’m curious to hear before we jump in—do you guys remember how we all heard about WandaVision at SDCC 20 years ago?
Jill: Wow, way to make me feel old, Charles. And no, I actually do NOT remember.
James: Don’t speak to me of the dark times. But also, like Jill, I can’t really remember when we first heard the rumblings about the show—I remember more when we heard the name for the first time, and was like “Oh! That’s silly. But I love these two, so I can’t wait!”
Charles: Well, I remember quite vividly when Germain Slacked everyone explaining that Marvel was doing a bunch of sitcoms smashed together, and yes, James did say something about it being silly—but CW silly, which…was not the case!
Jill: To be fair, you’re much more tuned into the Scarlet Witch than the rest of us. But yes, fair to say the Disney+ Marvel series far exceeded any expectations we had back then.
Germain: There was also a TON of news that day and this is just the beginning of it. Which is wild. And yes, it really lived up to expectations, I think.
Charles: I bring this up because, yeah, I have read a few comics about the Maximoffs in my time, but fast forward to today, and for the past two months or so, a substantial chunk of the internet’s become fascinated with this character who, if we’re all being honest, was kinda just hanging out for the longest time before WandaVision.
Germain: I think we do forget that while we all called Wanda “Scarlet Witch” in our world, the MCU saved that reveal for this show. Which is saying something considering all the films always teased that she could be the strongest Avenger of them all. (Sorry Thor.)
James: But I think Charles is fair to say that, really, until this show hit, Wanda wasn’t really a huge entity, either in the MCU—she was fun, but also just kind of only there to occasionally magic a car or some rocks at someone—or in the comics, where her fandom in particular always waxed and waned, especially in the post-movie world where she and Pietro were no longer Magneto’s kids. I like her as a comics character and always saw the potential in the MCU to do more with her, but coming into this show I definitely leaned more towards expecting something in line with The Vision—Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez-Walta, and Jordie Bellaire’s incredible comic. I was in for that sort of “weirdness in suburbia” angle more than I was for her, but the show really flipped that around by the end.
Germain: That was always the most exciting thing about all these Disney+ shows. Giving great characters with great histories, who are supporting characters in the movies, time to really develop, even if it’s not in the theater. I liked Wanda in the movies before this but after this now, when she comes on screen, it’s going to be much different. You’ll just have all that baggage and baggage is the best thing the MCU has done. It means filmmakers can skip a bunch of set up because we’re already coming in with all this info. Wanda had a bit of that. Now she has a whole damned meal.
Charles: I’ve been thinking a lot about that line Wanda has in Endgame when she’s fighting Thanos and how it’s nice to look back at it as foreshadowing for what was going to unfold in WandaVision, but more realistically it feels more like a moment when we saw the machinery working. When you look at it next to that shot of the MCU women squaring up, it comes across a lot like “and just so you know, the first character getting a bit of a massive overhaul is Wanda,” which kind of dovetails to how WandaVision dropped you right into Westview with no context.
Jill: So, what did you think of the series after ingesting those first few episodes? Where everything was still sort of mysterious? I loved it from the jump, but I know a lot of fans were hoping to get answers to what the heck was going on more immediately. I just appreciated it for what it was, a very unique idea and a story unfolding weekly!
Germain: I liked the finale fine but, for me, it was probably one of the more disappointing episodes. Not in a bad way but just in a “Oh, we’ve seen this” way. Mysteries and questions aside, what made WandaVision so good for its run was how kind of wacky and subversive it was. Sitcom homages, winks back, etc. But by the finale, it was just another Marvel movie with people fighting in the streets and the sky. And I love Marvel movies! But Wanda was more than that and it just kind of went back to basics. Which made sense structurally but that was my biggest gripe.
James: While I’m still a bit mixed on how it landed, going back to the energy of those first few episodes I think I knew by the time we got to the more typical Marvel Machinery of the last act, I’d be coming out of the show happy with what it did. There was just something from the get go that got its hooks in me, and wanting to see what the show was doing with Wanda, what Elizabeth Olsen was doing with her given the free reign this space provided. Those sitcom eps were funny, the chemistry she and Paul Bettany had was electric. Even before the show really got to hinting at what was going on beneath, revealing what it was trying to say about Wanda, I was on board—and for the most part, am happy to see it stuck the landing for me. Not without a few wobbly steps, though.
Charles: I’m still trying to put my finger on exactly when the series began to make that subtle turn away from leading with the cast’s charm and acting chops to leaning a bit more on the MCU’s trappings to keep things moving forward. Everyone was so stunned by Olsen and Bettany, I think both because of what they brought to the series but also because of how WandaVision created more space for a breadth of acting styles that you just don’t see in comic book projects, no matter how genre-bending they’re billed to be. As much as we go on about how great it is when these shows and movies let themselves have “fun,” I think part of what we’re getting at isn’t just a desire for more silliness, but to see what other tricks and random crap actors happen to have up their sleeves.
Jill: I think that’s an interesting point because as we’re talking I was thinking back to when Guardians of the Galaxy came out and everyone thought that was so “refreshingly different.” And it was, but not really that far outside the MCU we had up until that point, which was always humorous, but it allowed for a whole new range of characters and acting styles. It’s something we’ve gotten to see here in WandaVision both from in front of the screen and behind, I think.
Charles: Right, and I got the sense that that was really what people were taking issue with with the season’s first three episodes which were “too slow” because “nothing was happening.” Plenty of interesting things were going on, and a lot of them were very comic book-y in the sense that “Oh, this colorized helicopter probably means something,” but because it wasn’t going for the full on MCU spectacle up front, people were beside themselves.
Germain: The Pietro troll/reveal kind of illustrates that for me. Everyone assumed (myself included) “OMFG X-MEN CONFIRMED,” and in the end, it’s just a little wink at the audience that, for now, doesn’t play into the larger universe. I think that’s almost WandaVision in a nutshell, something different that people were trying to really place in its own box.
James: I think that is why I was a little disappointed the finale spent so much time with Wanda and Agatha in the air special-effects-ing each other. The show we got for the most part really pushed that stuff to the edges, where, yes it was fun to speculate what it all meant, and if people were who they were saying they were. But instead we got this story that really drilled down into how Wanda saw herself as a person in this wild world where she’s gone from fighting Avengers to being one, to accidentally starting international incidents, to falling in love with a robot, and then watching that person die right in front of her at the hands of a cosmic megalomaniac. There’s so much that was already weird about Wanda’s story, but the show made its core of what it wanted to say about her just incredibly human and sympathetic.
Jill: Air special-eff-hexing.
But yes, the emotional story was really where this series will make its presence felt for years to come I think. Sure the concept was fantastic and wonderful to see play out, but being able to dig into a character’s trauma for nine episodes was really interesting to watch. Obviously characters like Steve Rogers have been given ample time for us to really know what they’re all about and why they do the things they do. Wanda probably wouldn’t have been my first choice to delve into further like this but it certainly presents a dynamic way to move forward with her in the MCU at large.
Germain: Who would be your first choice? And don’t forget, Carol already got a movie with another one to come.
Jill: Wow, way to call me out, Germain. No, I would have liked to see Nakia and what she was up to prior to T’Challa coming back to get her in Black Panther. She was doing some important work.
Germain: Okay, that’s a good one. Sorry to divert the conversation. Kevin Feige, get on the phone with Lupita’s people!
Jill: The thing I’m most curious about now is, will we ever get a chance to see the blowback to Wanda’s time in Westview? We know she’s showing up in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but something tells me they’re going to be too busy with the multiverse to deal with the countless people she trapped and traumatized for over a week. Did she just create a future-villain there who will want payback down the road or will they drop it completely?
Charles: I’m of the mind that what happened in Westview might kind of be brushed to the side, but not forgotten as part of how the movies keep touching on the idea of Wanda being a constant danger to people that’s been present in the comics. Even though this show was all about Wanda’s grief and pain, I came out of it really seeing her as a villain in the making whose whole turn was wrapped up in a generally well-executed story. The way things end in Westview with her just walking through the town and shrugging things off just seemed kind of like a casual “Shit, my bad, I guess,” that doesn’t read as redeemable.
Germain: I’ve been thinking alot about what’s next for Wanda. We know, as Jill said, she’s in Doctor Strange 2 and the show gave us a glimpse of her learning from the Darkhold. But, how is it all going to change her? Will she become obsessed with this power? Will she use that for good? Will she reach out to the remaining Avengers (whatever that is at this point) and be like “Yo, check this out?” She has so much to figure out, not to mention there’s still a version of the person she loves out there and maybe her kids in another dimension? I thought the way this show wrapped things up very nicely but then gave, not exactly huge cliffhangers, but real character questions to consider moving ahead was excellent.
James: That’s the thing I really took from the finale, and the thing I liked about it most. It didn’t feel like things were actually that neatly wrapped up, but not in the typical Marvel manner where someone you know shows up and is like “stay tuned for my movie, in theaters soon!” or whatever. Wanda went through this process of accepting and acknowledging her grief, letting the cognitive Vision and her kids go, but she still has so much more to process, more to learn about this power now shown to her. And, as Charles said, she’s doing that in a world where she just walked away from psychically dominating an entire town of people for some unknown length of time, people who now hate and fear her, and she was just like “Yeah, I get it.”
People were really yearning for some kind of X-Men connection with this show, especially after Fake Pietro showed up, and if anything, that shot of Wanda feeling the anger and hatred around her from Westview’s citizens as she walked up to say goodbye to Monica in the finale (and the confidence she felt that she could just do that and fly away from what she did without reprisal), felt the most mutant-y thing to me: that acknowledgement that yes, she was an Avenger, but people are scared of what she can do…and she’s learned to not really care so much as she did back in Civil War.
Charles: Looking forward, that’s the sort of thing that feels most pressing, right? What Wanda’s going to do with all that power and how her presence is going to change the world. Agatha mentions that the Scarlet Witch’s power eclipses the Sorcerer Supreme’s and I’m sure that’ll come up in Multiverse of Madness, but to James’ point about mutant-y things to come out of WandaVision, we still don’t fully know how Monica’s exposure to the Hex left her changed, or if it really was the Hex that caused her new powers to manifest. As many little clever bits of story rhyming as there are in the show, I kinda got the vibe that Wanda having always been a witch might have been mirrored in Monica having, you know, something in those genes that woke up after her time in Westview. These are the sorts of things one might ask Carol.
Germain: Who, I assume, is the person who sent Monica her Skrull?
Charles: The Skrulls are their own people, Germain.
Jill: Lol. I assumed it was Fury but regardless, so much is left hanging with Monica, I am dying to know. It’s wild how we knew she was going to be a part of this story but weren’t sure how much and after the first few episodes, I almost wanted her to be the lead. It felt like we were going to get a lot more from her too but perhaps the covid-19 shutdown affected how much they were able to do with her (and others very clearly noticeable by the last episode), but I’m very excited to learn more about how she has been dealing with life after Carol left her on Earth as a child and just…never really came back.
James: I am…so gutted about Monica in the finale, honestly. Like Jill said, it felt like we were building to something, and the seeds were there to explore not just her becoming a hero but things like her relationship with her mom, whatever happened with her relationship with Carol, but Monica was a side character in Wanda’s story, so it just sort of stayed at that “maybe something’s going on!” level until the finale just went “now here’s a shot of her being shot by her boss to show she’s got powers” and oops, all Skrulls, stay tuned to Carol Danvers’ story to see more Monica.
I want to see Monica’s story, rather than have it be told in other people’s. Teyonah Parris just completely owned the role from the get go, and I’ve loved Monica since I first encountered her in Nextwave, and to go from the promise there to how the finale just dropped her like a rock was the thing that soured me the most about the show.
Germain: Well, at least we know Monica is coming back in Captain Marvel 2 (and I agree with everything you all just said). We have no idea if a certain Agatha Harkness will ever reappear in the MCU and, frankly, it feels like she needs to, no? Talk about a backstory that’s untapped in the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her story predates it all.
Charles: If Wanda’s set to become a new fixture in the MCU’s magical realm, I could definitely see Agatha becoming a part of the ensemble of characters who exist around The Scarlet Witch™, which would bring the characters’ relationship closer to what it is in the comics, and give us more opportunities to see Kathryn Hahn hamming it up and having fun. All of that’s possible, but I do think that if subsequent stories don’t address how truly messed up Wanda’s actions are and root her apology in understanding rather than, like a public shaming, she’s just gonna be a baddie.
Jill: Agreed. I will say this though, we at io9 have certainly praised Hahn as the highlight of this series but it truly cannot be said enough how much she brought to this show.
James: YES. I really want Agatha/Agnes to become more akin to how her relationship with Wanda is in the comics, especially in stuff like James Robinson’s Scarlet Witch series, where it’s like…they don’t necessarily like each other, but they’re witches doing witch-y things and both respect that. If it means Kathryn Hahn gets to show up and get in a few good jabs while teaching Wanda some magic goodness, that’s what I need.
Germain: Yeah, Agatha doesn’t necessarily have to be a “villain.” She was just curious about how the heck Wanda got so powerful, which we all were. I’d love to see her come back in kind of this grey area, “Do you trust her or do you not?” capacity, and just open up a new offshoot of powers in the MCU. That would be rad.
Charles: Folks. They were villains. It was both of them all along.
Jill: Yup. Sad but true.
James: See, for all the praise we just heaped on the serious side of this show, now I need a Kathryn Hahn/Elizabeth Olsen magic duet at some point in the MCU’s future.
Germain: Paging Kevin Feige.
Jill: Maybe there’s a world in the multiverse where they sing karaoke together.