Paul Bettany: WandaVision Expected to Be Falcon and Winter Soldier’s “Kooky Cousin” Instead of First Marvel Series

Paul Bettany says the team behind WandaVision, once scheduled to release as the second Marvel Studios original series instead of the first, expected to be the "kooky Marvel cousin" of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The latter, a buddy cop comedy-style actioner set against the backdrop of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, suffered a series of delays that pushed the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and the Winter Soldier's (Sebastian Stan) global adventure out of 2020 and into 2021. WandaVision took its place, reimagining decades of classic sitcoms when reuniting Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and the Vision (Paul Bettany) as a newlywed couple living in suburbia after the events of Avengers: Endgame.

"It was such an explosion of creativity. I loved every minute of making it," Bettany told Gold Derby about WandaVision, which Disney submitted for consideration as Best Limited Series at the Emmys. "We shot the first episode in a day-and-a-half, we shot in front of a live studio audience, and then we came in and shot specials. It was like endlessly new experiences, which get less as you have worked in the business for a long time, so that was really amazing."

The cast and creators behind WandaVision "also felt less pressure because we weren't going to come out first," Bettany said. "There was going to be Falcon and Winter Soldier, and then we always expected to be sort of the kooky cousin, the kooky Marvel cousin. We just thought, 'Well, we're an experiment, and we're gonna do this show, and who knows if it will work?'"

The love letter to television — used to explore the grief and trauma experienced by Wanda, including her anguish over Vision's death in Avengers: Infinity War — is a concept that "was so bold, I thought, so groundbreaking from [head writer] Jac Schaeffer, and also [producer] Kevin Feige, the whole team, [director] Matt Shakman, because they were all together creating this thing."

"Marvel really brings you on early, brings the actors on early for input, and you just felt like this team having the best fun creating this very groundbreaking thing," said Bettany. "Because you know, usually television makes a contract with the audience. 'This is a thriller, this is a comedy.' And Jac just tore and threw it out the window, and I made this thing that I will for the rest of my days be very proud to have been a part of. And very grateful to have been a part of, because I had — and I shouldn't speak for Lizzie, but I'm going to — we had so much fun making that show."

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