WandaVision is rolling into its final episode on Friday with a tremendous amount of momentum. The event series on Disney+ has become a snowball which bounces in unexpected direction, ultimately growing in size to become an unstoppable force as the show will ultimately send some its characters to other titles including Captain Marvel 2, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The show built its buzz on mystery and has landed on emotionally charged performances and writing while answering some of its many questions. Ahead of the finale, WandaVision director Matt Shakman connected with ComicBook.com to take a look back and preview what may be coming.
Given how brilliant WandaVision has been, it's hard to believe the first words out of Shakman's mouth during the interview were, "I'm sorry." The director has seen all of the fan theories and speculation surrounding the series, rarely falling into any of the millions of predictions made each week. "I love the memes they have created, the TikTok videos, the theories," he says. "I mean, my gosh, the people making these theories are more creative than I am, so thank you."
It seems this sort of true desire to deliver something satisfying is Shakman's true desire, having taken bold swings throughout WandaVision like filming in front of a live studio audience and making every effort to preserve surprises like the casting of Evan Peters (which ultimately made its way online before the series aired). "We took every step possible and apparently not enough steps because, you know, it did leak out there and that was a shame because you're always trying to keep things quiet as long as you can," Shakman says. "And somehow they kept Luke Skywalker a secret, but we couldn't keep Evan a secret, which is a real bummer."
Still, WandaVision has been delivering surprises and satisfaction in spades -- once you get past the fans on social media complaining about the episodes being too short or the fact that the Disney+ show didn't simply debut every hero and villain remaining in the Marvel Comics catalog. In telling a more contained story on the heels of Avengers: Endgame serving as an ensemble blowout, Shakman has been able to introduce sides of Marvel characters which have never been explored before. More specifically, the tragic life of Wanda Maximoff which has been merely discussed but never explicitly experienced since her debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron has been emotionally front and center.
"Wanda's trauma is what the show is all about," Shakman says. "It was hard to talk about in press early on when we are just talking about sitcom episodes, but it's the through line for the whole show." In the most recent episode, titled, "Previously On," WandaVision exposed Wanda's trauma and took a look at her efforts to suppress harsh memories. Rolling into the finale, the character's arc will be in focus.
"I certainly hope that people find it to be a satisfying conclusion," Shakman says of the final WandaVision episode. "Hopefully it all feels that it's been building momentum and snowballing towards the end. It is continuing to deal with how do you deal with grief and loss and come back from that. And then we've introduced some new players on the table as well, or revealed aspects of certain players on the table."
Read the full interview with Matt Shakman below or watch it in the video above!
The Aerospace Engineer
ComicBook.com: My first question, I'm really wondering how you're pulling this off because this is the first TV show where every episode gets re-shot shot each week to make sure none of our theories are correct. How do you guys pull that off?
Matt Shakman: I'm sorry, I'm sorry. The single tear down every fan's cheek, I know. Aerospace engineers and the like... you know listen, we certainly... I have been so taken by the passionate interest in the show. And I love the memes they have created, the TikTok videos, the theories. I mean my gosh, the people making these theories are more creative than I am, so thank you. There's a lot of wonderful response to it and for those who get a little bit disappointed week to week, mea culpa, mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.
CB: If you were falling into all those theories, I think that would be the disappointment. What you guys are doing is just delivering something surprising every week. That said, of all the wild theories that people like to make and all that the fans have come up with, do you have a favorite? Has there been one that's like, "Oh that's a pretty good one, that's a fun one."
MS: No, I mean, certainly the amount of passion around the aerospace engineer certainly was one that was pretty great. I mean, sure, it would've been great if Reed Richards had showed up with that rover, that would have been pretty great.prevnext
CB: As much fun as there has been, the episodes also get quite heavy at times in dealing with trauma and mental health. Did you guys do any kind of research on people dealing with trauma or was there any specific kind of message you wanted to send specifically in Episode 8 about things that people do go through?
MS: Yeah, Wanda's trauma is what the show is all about. It was hard to talk about in press early on when we are just talking about sitcom episodes, but it's the through line for the whole show. And it's, I think something that we all have experience with and this year more than ever as we mourn over 500,000 people having died just in this country alone in a pandemic. So I think it has extra resonance now, strangely, but this show is about how do you grieve? How do you come back from loss? Can you come back from loss?
She's lost everything. She's lost her parents, she's lost her brother, she's lost the love of her life. And it's from that grief that it unlocks a new power in her that she didn't even know she had, right? And it's so then when you go back, hopefully, and you look at the explorations of sitcom that we were doing, that it wasn't just wackiness for wackiness' sake, that this was where she was taking solace and where she was building the life that she wished she had had.prevnext
But What Is Grief...?
CB: Those early episodes hit different now. The line from Vision in Episode 8 was just such an amazing line. I almost can't believe I haven't heard that before because it is so deep and profound, but it was such an original line about, "But what is grief, if not love persevering?" Where did that line come from?
MS: From the amazing Laura Donnie's head. You know, I mean, from the writer of that episode, Jac Shaffer is a genius writer. Everyone she hired to work on that team was incredible and each of them brought a different perspective. And I think Laura's episode, "Previously On," which we just had is a beautiful meditation on loss and it includes a line that's gorgeous.
I think it follows in a tradition for Vision, which is that even though he's not human, he's almost more human than we are and you know, "Something isn't beautiful just because it lasts." He's had some of the best lines in the MCU about humanity and that's just yet another one and there might be some more in the future before this wraps.
CB: That line is going to be tattooed on everybody by the end of next week, I'm sure. Maybe me, I don't know.prevnext
CB: We've seen different versions and colors of magic. Agatha's magic is purple. Wanda's magic is red, scarlet red. Evanora's magic was blue. Outside of this, Dr. Strange has orange magic. I am just curious, does the color of the magic... how did you make the decision on those and does the fact that they're kind of reflecting the colors of Infinity Stones have anything to do with it or is that a coincidence?
MS: Well, you know, certainly Wanda's power, as we can say, was enhanced by her experience with the infinity stone, which we saw in the last episode. In terms of color differentiation, I think it's important because when you're trying to describe what's happening, especially with Agatha in Salem, Massachusetts, you want to be able to see her purple magic eat away at that blue magic, right? Because that's what she does, she absorbs power, she's taking the magic from the other witches. Which is why they look so, you know, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" at the end of that scene, because she's literally sucked all of their, their sort of magic in life from them.
So for us, in terms of color coding for that scene, that was, you know, one of the biggest reasons why it's like that. And of course Wanda's magic has been established, but we're evolving it and changing it as we go.prevnext
The X-Men Universe?
CB: I haven't talked to you since Evan Peters showed up on the show. I feel like you guys had to have put in an extra effort to preserve that secret. So I'd like to hear both, where did the decision to bring Evan in as Pietro, or Fietro as Agatha calls him, come from? And what extra steps to keep that secret did you take?
MS: We took every step possible and apparently not enough steps because you know, it did leak out there and that was a shame because you're always trying to keep things quiet as long as you can. And somehow they kept Luke Skywalker a secret, but we couldn't keep Evan a secret, which is a real bummer. But you know, we thought he is the best and he put up with all sorts of, you know, being smuggled in capes, and hidden in vans and all that sort of stuff to try to preserve the illusion.
But yeah, that came fairly early in the development of the show, this question of who would be at that door and grief does a lot to a person, in terms of what they're willing to accept. And yes Agatha let's you know that she was pulling the strings on that, trying to get a little more information.
CB: So, I mean, is that a multi-verse nod? Is it just a coincidence that he played the same character on a different franchise?
MS: We'll have to meet again some Monday in the future.
CB: I have to ask these things, though. I'll lose my job if I don't!
MS: Of course.prevnext
CB: We have one episode left. A lot of questions remaining in this and so much momentum going in. We're set for like a Vision versus Vision, maybe. Agatha versus Wanda. Maybe they all become friends and just have a picnic but I don't think that's going to happen. What can you tease about this last episode we're going to get this week?
MS: Well, I certainly hope that people find it to be a satisfying conclusion. You know, we definitely have known the story that we want to tell from the beginning, so that sense of building towards a final moment that made sense for us from the beginning is there. So I hope people find it both surprising, but inevitable, you know, the idea, I hate stories that pivot, 180 at the last minute and you're like, "What have I been watching this whole time?" You know, Agatha Christie novels where the murderer is someone you just met pops in and you're like, "Come on, why did I read this whole thing?"
Hopefully it all feels that it's been building momentum and snowballing towards the end. It is continuing to deal with how do you deal with grief and loss and come back from that. And then we've introduced some new players on the table as well, or revealed aspects of certain players on the table. So you now have two Visions on the chess board, and what does that mean? Who's the real Vision?
CB: Do you know the runtime of the episode? Can you share that?
MS: You know, I can't remember the exact runtime of it. Yeah.prevnext
CB: Last thing: the baby Vision photos, are those Paul Bettany's baby photos photoshopped as Vision?
MS: No, Scott McPhate, who is one of our VFX coordinators on the show is an amazing guy who actually looks a little bit like Paul. And when we were struggling to find baby pictures, because Paul didn't have any ones that would work. We were trying to get stock photos or whatever. And Scott was like, you know, I have a few. And he sent these amazing photos. And then when I sent them through for temp VFX, you know, as we were starting just to kind of do a rough version of what they would look like, Oh my God, they came back and I just couldn't stop laughing. It was my favorite thing.1comments
CB: I love it, man. Well, it's such a pleasure to speak with you. I hope I get to talk with you once we see how it all plays out. Congratulations on a fantastic, amazing series so far.
MS: Oh, thank you very much for sure. All right. Thanks Brandon. See you later.prev