MCU

Agatha All Along Trailer Confirms the MCU’s Risky New Strategy

Your favorite witch is back, with a refreshing twist.

Marvel Studios

Agatha All Along’s path to production has been as chaotic as Westview’s resident witch herself. After Kathryn Hahn’s take on Agatha Harkness was a smash hit with WandaVision fans, a spinoff was quickly announced, then just as quickly descended into development hell. The project couldn’t settle on a title; over the years, it’s been referred to as Agatha: House of Harkness, Agatha: Coven of Chaos, Agatha: Darkhold Diaries, and even just Agatha, before finally landing on Agatha All Along.

But while the title has gone on an odyssey, the series’ place in the greater MCU is relatively simple. A new teaser for the series, which hits Disney+ on September 18, reveals that a strategic shift Marvel has teased for a while is finally coming to fruition, and it could give the franchise a much-needed change.

Much like WandaVision, Agatha All Along appears to be taking an experimental approach that includes a Mare-of-Easttown-style police procedural opening where Agatha is a cop. But after Rio (Aubrey Plaza) appears as a fellow cop who tells Agatha to “claw your way out,” we see that the show is really an adventure, one that forces Agatha to collaborate with her fellow magic users and traverse down the Witches’ Road, a realm from the comic book where only sorcerers can travel.

But what’s most interesting about the trailer is how little the rest of the MCU is acknowledged. WandaVision, the MCU’s first foray into Disney+ television, was meant to be as integral to the MCU as a blockbuster movie. The entire series was essentially a prologue for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which showed Doctor Strange going head to head with a grieving and corrupted Wanda Maximoff.

Agatha All Along appears to be a spooky one-off, not essential MCU viewing.

Marvel Studios

In this trailer, however, references to the MCU are few and far between. Wanda’s signature shows up on a library card, and she’s mentioned as the reason Agatha is trapped in Westview, but there doesn’t seem to be any multiversal hijinks or hints towards a greater villain’s involvement. It’s just a spooky Marvel adventure arriving in time for the Halloween season.

This suggests Agatha All Along will be the first concrete example of Marvel’s new direction for television. First, the studio is trying to focus on quality over quantity, as this will be the first Marvel TV series since Echo came out in January. Agatha also appears to be explicitly disconnected from the MCU as a whole, a strategy the studio is emphasizing with its “Marvel Spotlight” label. While Agatha isn’t being released as a Spotlight series — it’s still connected to WandaVision — it’s very unlikely this show will affect what happens in, say, Thunderbolts.

Marvel now seems to be well aware that the prospect of homework, watching shows simply for the sake of understanding how they’re connected to other shows, is counteracting what’s allowed the franchise to succeed. The MCU is at its best when it’s a sandbox where everyone, from the grimmest character to the goofiest, can go on their own adventures. Agatha’s literally living in a bubble called Westview, and her show will be more fun if it’s also in a bubble separate from the greater timeline.

Agatha All Along premieres September 18, 2024 on Disney+.

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