If you're confused by WandaVision, you only need to pay attention to one moment from Marvel's Super Bowl commercial. Even if it doesn't answer every question, it might actually answer the biggest one we have of what's increasingly looking like Marvel's weirdest live-action story yet.
On Sunday, hundreds of millions of people tuned in to see the San Francisco 49ers square off against the Kansas City Chiefs — or they tuned in for the commercials, which have transitioned away from outrageous attempts to sell consumers on products to just another chance to preview glimpses of new movies. (Same thing, TBH.)
Anyway, one commercial belonged to Marvel, which spent 30 previous seconds promoting its upcoming Disney+ shows: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and Loki. All three will premiere on Disney's subscription service in 2020 and 2021.
Of the three, WandaVision begs the most questions. With madcap imagery that spoofs decades of television sitcoms, it's confusing to know exactly what the heck is going on with WandaVision when the other Marvel shows look like, well, like Marvel TV shows. So just what is the deal with WandaVision?
As the cliché goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. So take a look at this one from the Super Bowl ad. What's off about it? What's it saying about Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda and Paul Bettany's Vision?
Besides looking like terrible dancers at a wedding, the actual image shows a fully-colored Wanda and a black and white Vision (dressed in appropriate dad cardigan and necktie) trying to regain a grip with their surroundings. Obviously, something is not right. Something is completely amiss.
Here it is again, now in GIF form:
Yup, something is definitely wrong. Whatever this is, whatever it's supposed to be, it ain't real. It looks like a fake reality breaking apart, with a "real" Wanda appearing in front of a Vision that is still "part" of that world.
Here's what's (probably) going on
The actual premise of WandaVision remains shrouded in mystery, but here's what we know based on existing, confirmed information... and some really good guessing.
Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the series follows Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) as she reunites with Vision (Paul Bettany), who was killed by Thanos in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. The show will bear strong ties to the 2021 movie Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which will presumably explore the many alternate realities that run parallel to the MCU.
We also know that the show will, in some way, involve aliens. Set photos of WandaVision confirmed the involvement of S.W.O.R.D., an intelligence agency from the comics that safeguards Earth from extra-terrestrial threats. Monica Rambeau, a character introduced in 2019's Captain Marvel, will appear as an adult played by Teyonah Parris in WandaVision where Monica is working as an agent of S.W.O.R.D.
So here's where I'm guessing: Just before Vision died in Infinity War, Shuri (Letita Wright) was attempting to separate the android superhero from the Mind Stone. Shuri was interrupted by Thanos' forces, but it's very possible that she saved Vision's programming as a "backup." Given that Shuri is a kid genius in one of the most technologically advanced countries in the entire MCU, it's' not unreasonable to assume that Shuri created a digital copy of Vision that she, or anyone else, can potentially tinker with to help Vision return. It's important to note that Wright is not expected to appear in WandaVision, so understand this may or may not be part of the story.
Regardless, that screenshot from the Super Bowl ad is proof that Wanda is trying to navigate Vision's unstable mind. If Wanda is trying to revive Vision and his artificial consciousness, it's possible that the moment seen in the Super Bowl ad is a moment when Vision's mind cracks or has some kind of unstable occurrence. It looks like an earthquake, which is often used by storytellers to illustrate when dreams or fake realities come undone. (Remember the 2010 film Inception? "The dream is collapsing.")
Taking cues from the acclaimed 2016 comic book series The Vision by Tom King, Vision may imagine an idyllic life with Wanda that resembles a classic American television sitcom. For decades, TV shows like I Love Lucy, Leave It to Beaver, The Brady Bunch, Roseanne, and Full House showed generations of audiences what a "normal" family looks like, however false or impossibly perfect they really are. A loving mom and dad, white picket fences, a dog, and innocent mischief and problems that are solved within 22 minutes plus commercials. When it comes to Vision, a synthetic android once powered by an ancient alien gem, imagining a sitcom life with Wanda might be his only way to finally understand humanity.
That brings us to WandaVision. Either this idyllic sitcom life is an alternate universe (unlikely), or Vision's glitching mind is trying to sort itself out and the only thing that makes sense is to think about his beloved Wanda and the life he wants to lead with her (more likely). I can't quite place how the "real" Wanda that appears in full color can fit in. Perhaps Wanda, through the supervision (or forbiddance) of S.W.O.R.D., "enters" Vision's unstable mind.
We certainly don't have all the questions to WandaVision. But for now, we can only guess based on what we see. And it's just exciting to finally see even a tiny sliver of the show. Because finally, it feels more real.
WandaVision will stream exclusively on Disney+ in 2020.