Now that Marvel has unveiled more plans for its future collaborations with Disney+, such as TV series takes on beloved characters like She-Hulk and Moon Knight, fans can anticipate the MCU expanding even further beyond its former comfort zone. And the more we hear about Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany's genre-mashing WandaVision, the more it sounds like the limited series could be Marvel's most experimental project since the first Guardians of the Galaxy.
Case in point: the latest reveals for WandaVision confirm that the upcoming project, which will apparently be split across multiple timelines, will logistically serve as Marvel's very first sitcom, so to speak. While promoting the show at D23 Expo, star Elizabeth Olsen shared that they're being allowed to give the new series the "sitcom" distinction, while Paul Bettany clarified that early on in the series is when they'll be leaning into those familiar television tropes.
That is how it begins, and it moves into more familiar epic territory later. But it's absolutely a mash-up of sitcoms.
The first WandaVision promo art, which was designed by artist extraordinaire Andy Park, brings to mind all kinds of suburban, formica-filled homes that TV families populated throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Shows such as The Dick Van Dyke Show, Make Room for Daddy, The Brady Bunch and many more. It's the kind of aesthetic that's partially on display for CBS All Access' Why Women Kill, some of which is set in the '60s.
The visual aesthetic is one thing, but WandaVision might actually go over the conceptual edge by bringing in the most stereotypical sitcom device imaginable, the laugh track. That hasn't been confirmed, mind you, but both Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany danced around the question during an interview with Yahoo.
Paul: I...couldn't tell you that.
Elizabeth: Uh, to be decided.
The two stars looked at each other while delivering their stammered-out answers, lending to the suspicions that WandaVision will fully embrace its sitcom roots in every way possible. At least, before the real world starts to creep into Wanda and Vision's lives – and the word "lives" may not fully apply here, given what happened to Vision in Avengers: Infinity War. But will we find out that his human appearance is due to nanotechnology, or will the characters' happy homemaker lives get revealed to be a dream or hallucinatory state? If so, that's no laughing matter!
Showrunner and series creator Jac Schaeffer only made a jokey comment about pausing in the moment to allow for a laugh track, but that was almost enough to be convincing about the legitimacy of a laugh track being used. I'd say crazier things have happened in the MCU, and they have, but nothing quite like canned chuckles.
Sitcom laugh tracks were invented by sound engineer Charley Douglass in the 1950s, and was based on previously utilized methods from radio broadcasting. Before too long, the device became a staple of half-hour comedies across broadcast, sometimes used to pepper up live audiences' laughter, and sometimes replacing live audiences entirely. (Remember how The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo and other animated series had laugh tracks, too?)
If it'll add to the illusion that Scarlet Witch and Vision actual are a pair of gee-golly 1960s sweethearts, then I'm all for a laugh track coming into play for WandaVision. Especially if the creative team finds the most surreal ways possible to use it.
Marvel fans are likely well aware that Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch will be returning to the big screen for Benedict Cumberbatch's full-feature return for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which almost necessarily means she will make it through the events of WandaVision without dying or losing her powers. (And also without murdering Doctor Strange, which was to be expected.) Vision's future within the MCU, however, is completely unknown.
Unfortunately, there will still be a while to wait for WandaVision, which has yet to kick off its production in earnest. The new show will hit Disney+'s streaming service at some point in 2020, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more news as it is updated.