Don't touch that dial: WandaVision creator Jac Schaeffer reveals Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige has "a lot of faith in the fans" to be patient with a slowly-unraveling mystery that turns into an action-packed Marvel movie. In the studio's first original series, set after Avengers: Endgame, unusual newlyweds Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) go about their ideal suburban lives inspired by decades of classic sitcoms. As the traumatic reality of the Marvel Cinematic Universe creeps into suburbia — where Wanda and Vision's overly friendly next-door neighbors know more than they're letting on — it becomes clear: something is very, very wrong in Westview.
"[The pacing] was always a question. It was mapped out pretty thoroughly early on," Schaeffer told THR's TV's Top 5 podcast. "When I first got the job I reached out for advice, and a lot of the people that I spoke to were like, 'The pilot is so important because you're finding the voices and you're finding the story,' and that just does not apply to us. Because that's not what that is. Obviously, these characters have existed, so much of the mythology exists, and it was all mapped out like a feature."
Schaeffer, whose Marvel credits include Captain Marvel and Black Widow, adds Feige wholly supported the slow-burn mystery seeping into each episode of WandaVision.
"To his credit — and it's one of the reasons that I love working for him — he referred to it as 'playing chicken with the audience' (laughs). He really wanted to see how long we could hang onto it, and there was a lot of discussion about how long we could hang onto black-and-white because we knew we would go to color," Schaeffer said of Feige. "That was always a piece that's involved in the larger story. So it was really wonderful that he allowed us to really sink into the sitcom and to really delay the gratification."
Delayed gratification meant "the sitcom stuff had to be good," Schaeffer said, referring to riffs on such classic sitcoms as The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched.
"When we were putting the show together, we knew sort of what a lot of the really big moments would be, and they're mapped out. I wanted to start small," Schaeffer said. "Kevin was 100% in for doling it out slowly. And I think he also has a lot of faith in the fans and the Marvel audience, that they're so interested in paying attention and they know they'll be rewarded, so we started out slow."
It's for this reason that WandaVision couldn't be the next film out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making the mix of Marvel Comics and classic sitcoms something that could only exist on television.
"[Marvel mini-series The Vision] is what led to me to say, 'Let's look at putting these two things together,' and doing what is now our first Disney+ series in a way that it couldn't just be a movie," Feige previously told Variety. "It's not just a long movie on Disney+. We will make shows that are like that, but for what is now our first one, it felt great to do something that could only be done for television."
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