WandaVision is a major turning point for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and not just because it's the first series to debut on Disney+. WandaVision’s narrative twists and turns are what really make it feel so game-changing for the MCU, which makes sense since you can only fit so many twists into a 2-hour movie.
There’s one plot twist in WandaVision that feels particularly important, one that offers the opportunity to further explore an event in the MCU more deeply than Marvel Studios has ever done before — though not for lack of trying.
We are, of course, talking about the Blip.
WandaVision and Avengers: Endgame
Prior to WandaVision’s premiere, it wasn’t clear how much — if at all — the Disney+ series would be dealing with the Blip (a.k.a. the five years between when Thanos snapped 50% of the population out of existence and when the Avengers brought them all back). But the opening of WandaVision Episode 4 made it clear that the series wouldn’t be ignoring the event, with the revelation that Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau was — like Wanda — one of the unfortunate souls snapped away by Thanos. (Even worse: during the Blip, her mom Maria died after her cancer came out of remission.)
The Blip is referenced again in WandaVision Episode 6 during an argument between Monica and Acting S.W.O.R.D. Director, Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg) over S.W.O.R.D.’s methods for dealing with the “Westview Anomaly.” The moment in question comes after Monica defends Wanda, with Hayward cruelly replying, “You know, you people who left, still have the luxury of optimism. You have no idea what it was like, what it took to keep the lights on.”
In case it wasn’t already, Hayward’s speech makes it clear that WandaVision won’t just be acknowledging The Blip, but will also be actively investigating and exploring the ongoing ramifications (and lingering trauma) that those five years will continue to have on the MCU's inhabitants.
WandaVision vs. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Update 2/16/2021: This section was edited and expanded to address notes from our readers and provide additional context.
Not only is WandaVision’s handling of the Blip exciting from a narrative perspective, but it also has big implications for the MCU going forward. It seems to signal that Marvel Studios may finally be achieving the cohesion between film and TV titles that it previously failed to.
Of course, this isn't the first time Disney has tried to tie a major event from one of the Marvel films into a TV show. Back in 2014, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. famously tackled the fallout of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s dismantling that occurred during Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Early on in its run, the show's central crew discovered a HYDRA agent on their team, were later forced into hiding, and at times had to operate without government support at all. One of the show's storylines even revolved around the discovery that HYDRA had infiltrated the U.S. military.
But despite creating several large arcs around the HYDRA reveal, the ABC series had little-to-no impact on the MCU films that followed, which meant the show's efforts to expand on the Winter Soldier reveal were ultimately negated. What's the point of a show exploring a storyline in such a way if the rest of the titles in the MCU just ignore it? If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, is it still canon?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't the only TV series set in the MCU that the Marvel films mostly ignored. The Netflix Defenders shows were also brushed aside by the MCU films despite being set in a New York City scarred by the events of 2021's The Avengers. None of the Defenders ever made it into an MCU movie, though rumors still persist that Charlie Cox's Daredevil could make the jump from Netflix to Marvel Studios.
What's next for WandaVision and the MCU?
WandaVision’s ability and willingness to so openly address and deal with the events of the MCU films is a breath of fresh air for Marvel fans. The fact that what's happening in WandaVision will actually go on to have an impact on future MCU films also seems to signal a long-awaited end to the large disconnect that has previously existed between the studio’s TV shows and films. More importantly, it means that Marvel may have the opportunity to spend more time exploring particular events and moments from the MCU outside of just the films, which will only serve to deepen and expand future Marvel movies and shows alike.
After all, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may have been incapable of really dealing with the events of the MCU films, but none of the other Marvel movies really dealt all that much with the events of Winter Soldier either. Thanks to shows like WandaVision, we know that the next time there's an MCU-shattering movie moment, we'll likely get a subsequent Disney+ series to explore the full ramifications.
WandaVision is streaming now on Disney+.