How Marvel's Wandavision Release Plans Were Altered by Pandemic

WandaVision was one of Marvel's most eagerly-anticipated projects, impressing fans and critics alike with its unique approach to storytelling as well as how it deeply engaged viewers who came up with no shortage of theories about where the show was heading and what various references meant. But even among those who ultimately liked the series, the first few episodes of Wanda's sitcom world didn't sit as well as later episodes. As it turns out, that likely had something to do with how it was released. According to Matt Shakman, the original plan wasn't to release the first three episodes one at a time but the pandemic interfered with things.

During an appearance on a recent episode of Kevin Smith's Fatman Beyond podcast, Shakman spoke about how WandaVision is a story about loss and a love story with things centered around the Kubler-Ross Model of grief -- commonly referred to as the five stages of grief -- and the early episodes were a big part of that, but they were initially meant to be released all at once, something that would have changed how viewers experienced the story just a bit.

"It's a great love story between two amazing characters and their love story is so unusual, they couldn't be more different and yet it feels so right and it was about trying to honor that love story and then also talk about how you come back from grief and we've all lost people," Shakman said. "And so intentionally we looked at the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross stages of grief and so you get to the finale, which I think to a lot of people, you mentioned earlier, disappointed about whatever Easter eggs I mean, it's inevitable that it would end with acceptance right it's about someone who is who has been in denial about all the loss she has who's created the sitcom world where she can't even remember how she got there, she doesn't allow herself to know how she got there, ends up accepting, you know along the way she, she does, she gets angry, of course, like we just talked about experience or acts that she bargains. There's all sorts of, you know, so we intentionally structured it that way. And I felt you whenever you play with tone and style. If you have a strong emotional through-line. That's your spine, and if you always go back to that everything else can work and so we knew we were playing chicken with those earlier sitcom episodes we knew that we were playing with, how long would the audience. Hang in there, and there were some that didn't really want to hang in there, maybe they came back eventually, people said no you should really watch it."

Shakman went on to explain that they decided to carry things as far as they could with that, something that might have worked a bit better had they been able to stick to the plan of releasing the first three episodes at the same time, something the pandemic made impossible.

"So we, we wanted to see how far we could go with that. Now the pandemic did kind of mess with us a little bit because we originally did intend to release the first three episodes on the same night, which would give it a slightly different experience because you would end with Monica getting expelled from the Hex and you would see the SWORD base and I think for Marvel fans out there, you'd have a little bit more of a sense of what's coming," Shakman said. "And we were able to release those three for the press but not for the audience just because we, I mean I finished that finale a couple weeks ago, we just literally one more if we tried to, you know, release the first three that week we would not have made the finale and Disney plus didn't want to wait a week."

WandaVision is now streaming on Disney+

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