WandaVision: Why Marvel's Scarlet Witch Series Scared Elizabeth Olsen

Elizabeth Olsen was "mortified" by the thought of the Scarlet Witch and the Vision (Paul Bettany) leading their own television series for Marvel Studios, which launched Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with WandaVision. What was planned as the second Marvel series after The Falcon and the Winter Soldier instead went first when Falcon delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic put Wanda Maximoff and Vision out in front, starring in a meta and surreal sitcom that Marvel producer Kevin Feige envisioned as a celebration of television and the decades of classic sitcoms that inspired WandaVision.

"I was really scared because I thought, 'These characters [Wanda and Vision] are supposed to be in a movie theater. They're larger than life, they're saving the world,'" Olsen told The Hollywood Reporter about Marvel spinning out Wanda and Vision away from the Avengers. "But I was excited about honoring television and the sitcom, and I felt like that was the best way for Marvel to enter television. But still, in the moments leading up to its release, I was mortified."

"I felt like such an insane amount of pressure, just of being the first Marvel thing that the world had seen in 18 months because of the pandemic," Olsen added, referring to the lengthy 563-day gap between 2019's Spider-Man: Far From Home and WandaVision. "And then this other crazy pressure of like, 'What the hell did we just film?' We filmed something crazy, so you either were going to be with us or not with us."

WandaVision continues Wanda's story after the death of Vision in Avengers: Infinity War, picking up just weeks after she Blips back to life in Avengers: Endgame. The series from head writer Jac Schaeffer and director Matt Shakman follows a grief-stricken Wanda's journey and transformation into the Scarlet Witch, one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe who next returns opposite Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the Sam Raimi-directed Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

"I signed on for two films and a cameo," Olsen recalled of her original Marvel deal, started with a cameo appearance in a credits scene ending Captain America: The Winter Soldier before her larger role opposite Bettany in Avengers: Age of Ultron. "I've gone through three rounds of contracts with Marvel already. I just do appetizers, they never had me over for the big meal. (Laughs.) It really has benefited me because they continue to use me not because they have to, but because they think there's story that can be used, and so even though I've had my own scheduling conflicts that have broken my heart in certain moments, I have always felt like they had a plan for me. They never really let me in on what that plan was, but I knew that they would only use me if it was useful."

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