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It’s been well over a year since we’ve gotten anything new from Marvel Studios — a virus-driven drought that has left superhero fans nervously chewing their Vibranium claws.
The new entry finally arrives, not in theaters, but in the form of the first TV series overseen by the same people who made all those movies.
And what a left-field choice it is.
“WandaVision,” which will have nine episodes, focuses on the domestic married life of heroes Wanda Maximoff, a k a Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Vision (Paul Bettany). It’s far from a straight-ahead action series; instead, the show mysteriously moves through the decades, aping classic sitcoms such as “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” The first two episodes premiere on Disney+ on Friday, with weekly episodes starting Jan. 22.
The glimpses of the show that Marvel has dropped so far have left fans both excited and mystified, and have the more diligent among them poring over the footage searching for clues and spinning out wild theories.
Marvel hasn’t offered much in the way of an explanation, but at a 2019 San Diego Comic Con panel, Olsen promised that “WandaVision” would “get weird,” and in the process, audiences are “finally going to understand Wanda Maximoff as the Scarlet Witch.”
Olsen made her debut as Scarlet Witch back in 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which was the former supervillain’s film debut as well. Until now, she has remained in the shadows as a supporting character.
From her time on-screen, we know Maximoff grew up in the fictional country of Sokovia. As a girl, she was given superpowers by evil group HYDRA and battled the Avengers before later switching sides, donning a red, leathery get-up and joining their ranks.
Her powers include telekinesis, telepathy and energy manipulation, but if the comics are anything to go on — she made her first appearance in “X-Men” in 1964 — that’s only the beginning. She’s likely got a lot more fuel in the tank.
The bizarre premise of “WandaVision” has already raised several burning questions that viewers hope will be answered by the end of its final episode.
For starters, how is Vision even alive? The android was last seen being viciously murdered by Thanos in 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War.”
One possible answer — which would also explain the show’s surreal tone — is that this is all an alternative reality conjured by Scarlet Witch. Indeed, in the 2005 comic book series “House of M,” an increasingly unstable Scarlet Witch alters reality to a form that is more pleasing to her.
Olsen has said that “WandaVision” isn’t an adaptation of a particular comic book storyline, and will instead pull from many stories. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has also mentioned that “WandaVision” will lead into the 2022 film “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” so Scarlet Witch’s television storyline will likely be central to that sequel.
And then there’s the question of the couple’s children.
The series’ trailer features Vision and Scarlet Witch’s twin sons who — within the comic book canon — disappear, which drives their father off the mental deep end. Eventually, they show up again and grow into the the heroes Wiccan and Speed, who form the backbone of a team known as the Young Avengers.
Fans are desperate to know how Vision — a dead android — can father two kids.
Another character introduced in “WandaVision” who’s likely to play an important role going forward, is Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris).
We first saw her in 2019’s “Captain Marvel” as the young daughter of superhero Carol Danvers’ best friend. Rambeau is all grown up now, and in the comics at least, she becomes a powerful hero known as either Spectrum or the second Captain Marvel.
No one knows if or when Rambeau will make the transformation on-screen, but Parris herself gave a pretty big hint at the 2019 Comic Con panel, where she declared, “This is a dream to be a Marvel superhero.”
Whatever happens with “WandaVision,” it’s clear that TV is becoming a bigger part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The comic giant has announced plenty of upcoming shows for 2021 and 2022, starring characters including Loki and Hawkeye.
Good thing, too. We have a feeling you might have some time at home.
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