“WandaVision,” the first Marvel Studios series for Disney+, has been described often as an homage to classic TV sitcoms of the past.
And according to a new cover story in Entertainment Weekly, they really leaned in on the homage part. How much? Marvel filmed the premiere episode in black-and-white — harkening back to the 1950s-era of TV — and brought in a live studio audience (this was pre-COVID days).
“The show is a love letter to the golden age of television,” Jac Schaeffer, head writer for “WandaVision,” told Entertainment Weekly. “We’re paying tribute and honoring all of these incredible shows and people who came before us, [but] we’re also trying to blaze new territory.”
“WandaVision” wasn’t supposed to be the first Disney+ series, but due to the pandemic, it will be the first thing of any kind from Marvel since “Spider-Man: Far From Home” in July of 2019. It takes place after “Avengers: Endgame” and follows Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen — who knows a thing or two about classic sitcoms given her twin sisters starred on “Full House”) and Vision (Paul Bettany) living an idyllic suburban life in the fictional town of Westview.
But since this is Marvel and Maximoff has reality-bending abilities (though Marvel films to date have mostly reigned in her powers), the two will cycle through decades (via sitcom tropes). Also, Vision is still very much dead, something that’s even noted by Kathryn Hahn’s Agnes in the trailer for the series. During the D23 Expo in 2019, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige described “WandaVision” as “half classic sitcom, half MCU spectacular.”
And Marvel apparently went all out for that sitcom half of “WandaVision.” Director Matt Shakman and Feige met with Dick Van Dyke.
“[‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’] can be very broad with silly physical-comedy gags, and yet it never feels false, and I wondered how they did that,” Shakman said. “His answer was really simple: He basically said that if it couldn’t happen in real life, it couldn’t happen on the show.”
WandaVision also filmed scenes on Blondie Street at the Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank, which is home to classic sitcom houses from “Father Knows Best,” “The Partridge Family,” and “Bewitched.”
Read the full story on EW here.