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The Wanda Zone

'WandaVision' documentary reveals a strange TV influence

The Marvel Cinematic Universe's very first Disney+ series, 'WandaVision,' was a send-up of sitcom history. As it turns out, it was also explicitly leaning on another classic piece of television lore.

As a wise Ralph once said, “Snoopers gonna snoop!” It’s in that spirit that Disney+ closes out its official first tour of Marvel Cinematic Universe television duty, with a brand new documentary going deep behind the scenes on WandaVision season one. Snoopers are not only welcome, but actively encouraged to look behind the veil of the veritable magic show.

The Disney+ doc Marvel Studios’ Assembled: The Making of WandaVision focuses largely on the granular details of how Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany’s Vision stepped front and center before a live studio audience. It chronicles the incredible feats of production from the deliberate music choices to coloring decisions enabled to best honor classic TV flourishes.

It also reveals a strange television influence on some of the scariest WandaVision moments.

While WandaVision mostly honors sitcoms across the decades, there are other corners of television lore with heavy influence on the Matt Shakman-directed and Jac Schaeffer-written series. Chief among them, according to Olsen herself: The Twilight Zone, the classic Rod Serling anthology series packed with strange, sinister twists-and-turns.

“To jump off the genre-blending, even in the ‘50s and ‘60s episodes, we have moments of Twilight Zone,” says Olsen. “Instead of today’s horror, we take camera tricks from Twilight Zone to make you feel off-kilter. In order to get to that cinematic feeling, or sense of something being off … something has to go wrong in order to advance to the next decade, or else why are you changing the scenario or the given circumstances? We used Twilight Zone tropes for that.”

Another dimension...

The Twilight Zone comparisons are used mostly in conversation with early scares such as Fred Melamed’s character nearly dying at the dinner table in the first episode, or the infamous bee keeper not long after. It’s also a provocative reference considering what’s next for Wanda as she moves forward through the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a film that, in its very title, promises that Wanda and others will step into “another dimension.”

As for the specifics of those next steps, the behind-the-scenes look at WandaVision doesn’t dive in too deep, but Olsen does offer some glimpses ahead at what’s next for her character.

“The thing I really love so much at the end of the journey is that it’s the first time Wanda has really accepted who she is and actually puts to bed so much pain. We find her finally having peace and being okay. I’m so excited now that we’ve cracked open this other part of her, so there hopefully can be more stories to tell. It’s such a gift.”

Whether “more stories to tell” means more seasons of WandaVision, or simply stresses Wanda’s next turn in Multiverse of Madness, is up for some interpretation. But if there is going to be a season two, sign us up for a walk through genre television history — be it a full-on Twilight Zone homage, or a crawl through the decades, as WandaVision treated the sitcom.

Marvel Studios’ Assembled: The Making of WandaVision is streaming now on Disney+.

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