WANDAVISION’s Director on How the Show Built Wanda’s Journey

WandaVision is over. After all the theories, emotions, and quotes that made us cry into our comics, it’s done. The powerful exploration of grief and identity subverted our expectations. It took inspiration from some iconic comic books, making something fresh and unexpected. When we talked to director Matt Shakman, he explained that was entirely the point.

“We love all of those comics. We read all of them with great interest and excitement,” Shakman said. “There are some brilliant ones. The Tom King series is amazing. House of M is amazing. Vision and Scarlet Witch, The Witches Road. There are all these amazing stories so you want to take them all in. But much like each of the creators of those comics, they’ve taken what’s come before and then built something new.”

Taking risks to tell Wanda’s story
Wanda Maximoff in full costume as Scarlet Witch in a scene from WandaVision.

Marvel Studios

That tradition allowed the team to take the risks they needed in crafting a powerful story about Wanda Maximoff. “I think that’s the goal. It certainly has always been the goal at Marvel Studios which I really admire,” Shakman said. “They aren’t just adapting one run, they’re making something new that feels like it’s made for this moment, that’s responding to whatever is happening in the world. And it’s taking everything that’s gone before, and making something new. We wanted to do that. I think what allowed us to do all of this big stylistic experimentation, and play around with tone and style so much, was because it was a simple story all the way through.”

Now that it’s over, Shakman hopes viewers will go back and see how this dedication to Wanda’s grief shaped the show. “That was the thing that allowed it to be held together. When you go back and look at the earlier sitcom episodes, hopefully you look at them differently now that you understand that that world has just been created. She’s unaware of how she created it and she’s living in a state of denial. Sort of following the stages of grief as she’s sort of figuring it out, as Vision is figuring it out. All of it is built on this lake of trauma that’s percolating underneath. The commercials and everything are sort of informed by that.”

Grief and identity in WandaVision
Wanda and Vision fight alongside their children

Marvel Studios

Wanda’s overarching story was not just one about grief, though. “In terms of the grief, the story of grief and overcoming her grief… you can’t really overcome grief, but come to terms with it,” Shakman said. “That’s the main story that we were trying to tell. But also this idea of the question of identity. To have her wonder, ‘Who am I?’ In the final episode, Agatha is busy constantly telling her who she is and what she is. It’s the same with Monica. These characters coming into their own and finding their power. Also, the Visions’ debate—who is the real vision and what really is identity—is a big part of it too.”

Where we left Wanda
Wanda sits on the stoop of her mountain cabin home.

Marvel Studios

When it comes to the powerful final stinger in the mountains, there are many ways to read it. Here at Nerdist, we saw some similarities to The Shining in the shape of the final scene. For Shakman, while those horror echoes may have come across, he claims it was more of a subconscious occurrence, echoing Wanda’s experience in Westview. “Somebody asked me if I intentionally copied Sam Raimi in the shooting of it because of how I pushed into the cabin,” Shakman shared. “I didn’t, but I’m sure much like Wanda building her sitcom world out of the endless hours of television that she watched in Sokovia, I’m sure it was somewhat informed by the endless hours of watching Sam Raimi, who I really admire. So maybe that’s in there.”

As for where we leave Wanda, we’re pretty sure it’s Mount Wundagore. Shakman was, of course, tight-lipped. But he did give us some insight into what the location represents for Wanda and what it could mean for her journey going forward. “Where that is, I wouldn’t want to say too much. But it’s a place of calm, it’s a place of refuge, and clearly she’s working two sides of her soul. At the same time, she’s finding some modicum of peace. Whatever peace can be found even after accepting the loss of Vision. It’s hard to come back from that. And it’s also about figuring out who she is, where she’s going, and building towards her future.”

Featured Image: Marvel Studios

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