The Vision has offered up some of the most profound lines of dialogue in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since his debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron. "A thing isn't beautiful because it lasts," he said in the final moments of his first cinematic appearance. This went on to see him lecture the Avengers about the danger of their existence in Captain America: Civil War and ultiimately lead to some of his most human dialogue in Avengers: Infinity War. Still, nothing seems to compare to Vision's heartwrenching line in WandaVision: "But what is grief, if not love persevering?" As it turns out, the line was not part of the WandaVision episodes original drafts and head writer Jac Schaeffershared the awesome origin story of the line with ComicBook.com.
"The short version is Laura Donney just wrote one of the most beautiful episodes ever," Schaeffer explained, referencing the shows Episode 8, titled Previously On. "She did an incredible amount of work and she infused it with herself and she is truly a poet. And then when we were getting closer to production on that scene, to shooting that scene, Paul [Bettany] and Lizzie [Olsen] both had thoughts. With Lizzie, like how she wanted to articulate what she was feeling and in that conversation, we came up with the notion of a wave. I can't remember what it was first. I think it was more of like a phantom limb type of a thing but the wave really made sense to her that it just keeps coming for her."
Schaeffer went to the drawing board and put together Wanda's intimate dialogue from there. "I wrote that little speech for her,"" Schaeffer recalls. "And then Paul really wanted a line that was like a distillation of theme, similar to his, 'A thing is not beautiful because it lasts,' line from Ultron. So, he told me that's what he was after. And I was like, 'Oh man.' So like someone looking at me and being like, 'So I want to line that meaningful and beautiful and well phrased, let me know when you have it.' That's not him, he did not approach it to me like that way. He's lovely! And he's a writer himself."
Bettany's input placed a bit of weight on Schaeffer's shoulders. Fortunately, she had a fantastic team of writers to help carry the load in tremendous fashion. "We wanted this scene to be about Vision giving Wanda the tools she needed to move on," Schaeffer explains. "That it was actually like seeing this scene again is actually arming herself for the finale and what she goes through in the finale. So we were like, 'We need a definition of grief that is hopeful and that he illuminates for her, that grief isn't all bad. That it isn't all sorrow, that it is born of beauty. It is love."'So I wrote a couple of versions of it. And I think the thing that I got closest with was, 'What is grief, if not love surviving?'"
It's a good line, ending it with, "surviving," but it doesn't quite hit as hard, right? If you agree, you're in the same camp as Schaeffer was when her and her team were crafting it. "My producer, Mary Livanos and my assistant Laura Monti and I, we just were just like 'This isn't it. Surviving feels kind of desperate. And it sort of implies something that doesn't...' It just wasn't the thing. And my assistant Laura Monti came up with the word, 'persevering.'"
This was the moment when all of the words clicked perfectly into place.
"I remember the moment, I remember where we were sitting and I remember it clicking," Schaeffer said. "And I was like, 'That, girl... That is it. That is it, it, it, you're a genius.' And then Paul and Lizzie performed that scene and it's just a really incredible testament to all of the infrastructure of the show. Like, everybody being united in trying to tell something beautiful and I'm shocked that it's hit the way that it has, but I'm really grateful and happy."
What is your favorite line from Vision in thee MCU? Share it in the comments or send it my way on Instagram! For more WandaVision chatter, check out our full interview with Schaeffer and join the Phase Zero podcast community on Friday as WandaVision director Matt Shakman appears the show live.