WandaVision has premiered on Disney+, and while fans may be obsessing over the many references to classic TV sitcoms and various Vision and Scarlet Witch stories from Marvel Comics, they may have missed a fun Easter egg reference to some pivotal (if not obscure) Marvel Comics characters from Vision and Scarlet Witch's past. Those two characters are Glynis and Ilya Zarkov, who are better known by their stage magician names, Glamor and Illusion (respectively). Glamor and Illusion's comic history gets spun into a fun thematic ode in WandaVision's second episode, which may actually help unravel the deeper mystery of what is happening in WandaVision's twisted reality.
WARNING: WandaVision SPOILERS Follow!
In episode 2 of WandaVision, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) are trying to fit into their new suburban neighborhood. The local residents are getting a bit jumpy about ne'er-do-wells settling into the neighborhood, and Wanda worries that she and Vision could be targets of bigotry, should their superhuman abilities be discovered. When Wanda and Vision get tapped to perform a magic act at the local community talent show, they pick the stage names of Glamor and Illusion (respectively).
In Marvel Comics, it was the Zarkovs that used the names of Glamor and Illusion in their performances as stage magicians. The Zarkovs lived in Leonia, New Jersey, the same town that Vision and Scarlet Witch moved into, during the Vision & Scarlet Witch 12-issue limited series of the mid-1980s. The local residents were prejudiced against the superpowered couple and burned down their home. When Wanda and Vision buy a second house in the area, The Zarkovs allied with them, fearing that bigotry against superheroes could lead to bigotry against them, too. Illusion had the power to manipulate matter, while Glamor could manipulate her own molecular density to become intangible, or as flexible as Silly Putty. Illusion and Glamor became friends with Wanda and Vision and were even present for the reveal of Wanda's strange pregnancy in the comics.
WandaVision pays homage to Glamor and Illusion by having Wanda and Vision ape their magic act, while similarly using their powers to enhance and/or explain the tricks. The lighthearted comedic sequence still carried the dark subtext of the original comic storyline, in that Wanda and Visions' performance is also a desperate attempt to avoid the same prejudice and violence they (and Glamor and Illusion) experienced in the comic series.
Director Matt Shakman spoke to Comicbook.com about paying homage to Glamor and Illusion, and how series stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany tackled the scene:
"I love the Glamor and Illusion reference too where we don’t see those characters but we see [Wanda and Vision] kind of take on that persona, which was super fun... they kind of get out there and put on like the show for everybody," Shakman explained.
"It was an absolute joy to film. It took days and days," he continued. "And I think Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen are brilliant in it. Paul Bettany does a brilliant job channeling his inner Dudley Moore."
Funny enough, this particular Marvel Easter egg nod to Glamor and Illusion took some of the most work, according to Shakman:0comments
"It was one of our most complicated sort of sections to film, especially because these shows in the fifties and sixties we were referencing, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, we wanted to use technology that was appropriate to the time whenever possible. So, wires and things on rods and the old fashioned way as much as possible because there’s just a charm to that. And I think it’s part of our goal of being authentic to these reference points that we have. I think it also just adds its own kind of magic. Especially in contrast to the full MCU stuff that is also in the show."
WandaVision is now streaming on Disney+. Be sure to check out more of our interviews with the cast and watch our official review above.