How ‘WandaVision’ Became More Than Just a Show

As a wise android once said, “What is grief, if not love persevering?”

"WandaVision," a miniseries recently released on Disney+, is the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The release of "WandaVision" and its highly anticipated finale has entertained Marvel fans and newcomers alike. (Illustration by Chandler Littleford)

Spoiler alert: this article mentions important scenes from the show. 

My roommate and I were among the millions of Marvel enthusiasts who caused Disney+ to crash in anticipation of the “WandaVision” series finale. To many, “WandaVision” has become more than just a show, but also a community. The show has taken social media by storm, with constant tweets, TikToks, and YouTube videos reacting to the show, while memes and fan theories were being developed between episodes. In Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, “WandaVision,” a show within a show, acted not only as Wanda Maximoff’s (Elizabeth Olsen) sanctuary, but as our own. 

In the show’s series finale, the world Wanda created begins to crumble as Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) exposes the pain Wanda has inflicted on the residents of Westview. Wanda is faced with a heart-wrenching decision: save the family she created but keep an entire town’s residents as prisoners, or free its residents and lose her family. 

In typical Marvel fashion, the villains and heroes of “WandaVision” meet in a climactic episode in the center of Westview for a CGI-heavy battle. The fight between the two Visions (Paul William Bettany) culminates in a debate in the Westview library about the ship of Theseus’ thought experiment. The conversation answers the question posed to viewers since the first episode: Who, and what, is Vision? 

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During this debate, Wanda and Agatha fight in a crimson-clouded sky, as witches should, with twists and turns as the unwitting student becomes the master. Agatha believes she has obtained Wanda’s powers only to discover Wanda has forged runes around Westview that allow her to use the full power of her magic. As Agatha said in the previous episode, “In a given space, only the witch who cast [the runes] can use her magic.” As a viewer of this chaotic fantasy, I feel like Agatha and Wanda’s exchanges feel rushed yet needed. With slower-paced and much more mysterious episodes in the beginning of the series, the writers of the show had a lot of questions to answer, causing the build-up to feel like a slight letdown. Perhaps the show could benefit from another episode?

Many were skeptical about how the series could possibly wrap up in a 50-minute finale with questions still lingering: will Mephisto finally make his reveal? why is X-Men’s Quicksilver in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? has it really been Agatha all along? (Yes, the jingle is still stuck in my head, too.) Most of these questions are answered, but the right amount of loose ends left untied to keep Marvel fans impatiently craving more. Hopefully, we will get those answers in the next few movies: “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Captain Marvel 2.” 

The “WandaVision” finale included not only one, but two end credit scenes, which Marvel rarely does. The first end credits scene suggests that Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), a S.W.O.R.D. agent turned superhero, and her new powers will play a major role in the second “Captain Marvel” movie. Like many fans, I’m ready to see more of Monica. 

The second end credit scene hints at what Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange’s next encounter could be, as Wanda mirrors a scene from the first “Doctor Strange” with an out-of-body reading of the ancient spellbook Darkhold. It is clear that Marvel is headed toward the world of witchcraft as they prepare to unveil a much darker world than previously seen. Will Wanda be a villain or an ally to Strange? Will the evil powers of the Darkhold corrupt Wanda’s mind? We’ll have to wait and see. 

“WandaVision” has made us even more anxious to get back to the big screen, which is part of the brilliance of formatting the show as a television series rather than a film. Spacing out nine episodes over eight weeks also allowed a strong online community to form. Fan theories and videos explaining all the hidden easter eggs in the show have kept viewers captivated in Wanda and Vision’s love story. Whether you were as thrilled by the finale as I was, or disappointed that your theories didn’t come to fruition, everyone was invested. In a time of isolation and social distancing, a show like “WandaVision” was needed more than ever.   

In the finale, love and grief, emotions that have recently felt more prominent in our lives, take center stage. At its core, that is what “WandaVision” is really about. With a heartbreaking and melancholic performance from Olsen, Wanda grows tremendously as a character in the finale. Despite her willful ignorance at the beginning of the series, Wanda decides to free the captives of Westview, and says goodbye to the only family she has left — her children and Vision. 

As the shield around Westview shrinks towards their home, Wanda and Vision share a moment of hope and tragedy — they’ve said goodbye before, and they just might say hello again. Wanda explains that this version of Vision is her grief, the part of him that is always with her, but mostly, he is her love (this is the part of the finale where a lot of fans, including me, couldn’t stop the waterworks).

However, it is a moment in episode eight, “Previously On,” that explains Vision and Wanda’s bond, something we’ve only had glimpses of in other MCU movies. Vision and Wanda sit on her bed in the aftermath of the events of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” where Vision wonders, “It can’t all be sorrow, can it? I’ve always been alone, so I don’t feel the lack. It’s all I’ve ever known. I’ve never experienced loss because I’ve never had a loved one to lose. But what is grief, if not love persevering?” And there we have it: “WandaVision,” a show that has entertained millions with its mystery and action, still has room to be profound and hopeful. 

“WandaVision” is more creative than we have ever seen it, giving hope to newcomers and longtime Marvel fans alike of what is to come. Marvel phase 4, here we go!

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Mar. 8, 2021, e-print edition. Email Elizabeth Winters at [email protected]

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