The first, and probably only season of WandaVision is over, but not all Marvel fans are happy. The series didn’t deliver all the answers people were expecting, and it also didn’t give us much insight into the rest of MCU Phase 4. Before the finale, WandaVision director Mark Shakman warned fans that Episode 9 might disappoint people who had read all the theories about what was going on, the main villains, and the connection to major upcoming Marvel films like Fantastic Four and X-Men. But WandaVision was never meant to be anything other than Wanda and Vision’s story. It’s more Wanda’s story than Vision’s, as we witnessed this incredibly powerful woman deal with the massive losses she had to endure. And in doing so, WandaVision does set up events to come in new MCU adventures. Both of the final post-credits scenes also provide explicit clues about where we might see some of these characters appear again.
Next up is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which premieres on March 19th. But before you watch any other MCU show on Disney+, you should be aware of a huge Marvel spoiler so the disappointment of WandaVision can’t happen to you again. Mind you, some spoilers from WandaVision will follow below.
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With nearly 95 million subscribers, Disney+ is a massive success for Disney. Shows like WandaVision and all the other MCU adventures will only help it get bigger and bigger. But Disney+ isn’t available worldwide, and not all Marvel fans can watch these shows officially.
That said, Marvel fully embraced the platform, which will help it tell richer MCU stories. Disney+ will also allow Marvel to introduce and grow many other characters who will star in various MCU films. What Disney and Marvel are proposing is something that has no real equivalent from other studios. TV series and movies will be intertwined to tell massive stories that will hopefully culminate with epic crescendos like Endgame.
But the MCU movies are really what will drive the main storyline forward, and that’s the massive Marvel spoiler you need to be aware of. Disney+ content is optional. That’s exactly what Kevin Feige said just last month at the Television Critics Association panels, well ahead of the WandaVision finale. Fan theories were running rampant about the whole Westview affair at the time.
Here’s what Marvel’s top executive had to say about Disney+ shows, and how they’re tied into the MCU Phase 4 movies — via The Mary Sue:
So there were lots of conversations with Sam Raimi and Michael Waldron, and the entire Doctor Strange team. That this movie needs to work for people who watched WandaVision, but more importantly, needs to work for people who didn’t, who maybe Endgame was the last time they saw Wanda, or one of the earlier movies. Or maybe she’s a character they’re meeting for the first time.
Feige further elaborated on how Marvel’s creative process works:
Well, I worry about everything all the time. That’s my job is to worry about everything. One thing I don’t worry about is more Teyonah Parris. I think that’s always a good thing. But it is very similar to movie-to-movie, honestly. We try to make the stories unfold in a way that if you are following along and have seen what has preceded it, you’ll be right up to speed. And more importantly, if you haven’t, you’ll be up to speed.
Endgame is perhaps the best example of that line of thinking. The movie works even if you haven’t seen the 21 MCU movies that preceded it. You’d still have fun, even though you won’t catch all those satisfying Easter eggs that tie all the movies together, and even though you won’t be as much emotionally invested in the characters. If you do know everything, then Endgame is just amazing.
Feige’s comments seemed innocuous at the time — and they are. But WandaVision and especially the finale just gave them more meaning. Some fans wanted to see a bigger villain than Agatha, maybe someone like Mephisto. Others hated that Evan Peters turned out to be just a big ruse rather a tie-in with X-Men. And many wished that the aerospace engineer who Monica went on about ending up being Reed Richards, which would kick off the Fantastic Four.
How could Marvel include such massive Easter eggs in a Disney+ show that’s supposed to be optional? Introducing even the slightest confirmation of mutants or the Fantastic Four in a series that many people might not even see by the time these superheroes arrive isn’t something Feige’s Marvel would do. These are massive moments in the main MCU timeline that will be celebrated accordingly in full-feature films.
In a way, it’s also Feige who is to blame for these expectations. Here’s what Marvel’s president said in November 2019 about the way the shows and movies will be connected:
If you want to understand everything in future Marvel movies, [Feige told Bloomberg], you’ll probably need a Disney+ subscription, because events from the new shows will factor into forthcoming films such as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The Scarlet Witch will be a key character in that movie, and Feige points out that the Loki series will tie in, too. “I’m not sure we’ve actually acknowledged that before,” he says. “But it does.”
In light of the shattered WandaVision expectations, Feige’s Television Critics Association comments should reach die-hard Marvel fans who will keep crafting fan theories about future Disney+ shows, setting themselves up for similar disappointments. Given what Feige has said, the Disney+ shows can’t possibly offer any significant character and plot-reveals like Marvel movies do. We’ll still see clever Easter eggs and other misdirects in the upcoming TV series. Or characters like Monica Rambeau being introduced. But don’t be surprised when The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale rolls along and your fan theories do not come true.
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