- One of the main criticisms of WandaVision so far concerns the length of the episodes.
- The first six episodes have a runtime of about 30 minutes each, which isn’t enough for some fans.
- The final three episodes of the series are expected to last around 60 minutes each, according to comments from a few key people involved in the project.
With each new WandaVision episode, the show gets more and more popular, according to various reports looking at streaming data for the past few months. And with each episode that goes by, we’re getting closer to figuring out what’s happening in Westview. Marvel has been slowly peeling back the layers of this mystery, and we’re starting to understand what Wanda is experiencing — and what she’s capable of.
WandaVision feels more like a horror story, maybe in the realm of Stranger Things, than anything else in the MCU. But the TV series does have an important place in Phase 4, as it’s expected to kick off events that will continue to unfold in some of the main films that will follow it. Marvel already confirmed that the series ties into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and recent rumors said the action in Spider-Man 3 continues the WandaVision story.
But there is one unexpected problem with WandaVision so far, the first TV show that Marvel launched on Disney+. The episodes are too short for this medium, leaving us wanting more after each installment. However, it looks like this “problem” is going away starting this week — mind you, some minor spoilers might follow.
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The first three WandaVision episodes showed us what’s going on in Wanda’s world. We got a sitcom-like experience, so the 30-minute episode worked in that environment. We got to explore the fake world where Wanda and Vision are living happily ever after.
But Episode 4 took the audience outside of Wanda’s hex and into the real MCU world. We got to see what SWORD was doing to contain the situation, and WandaVision moved back and forth between the two. All of a sudden, 30 minutes aren’t enough. Wanda is still living in a sitcom universe, so we still get to experience that. It’s the action outside of Westview that doesn’t get enough screen time.
The final three WandaVision will change that, as each of them will be an hour long. That’s according to statements from various people involved in the project that DisneyScoop compiled.
Early WandaVision rumors did say that the TV show would have six episodes. The first would be based on sitcoms, while the last three would be full of action. Marvel choose to do something else, however. But if the final three episodes are an hour long each, then the result would be similar. We’d end up with a six-hour movie split into nine episodes.
Paul Bettany, who plays Vision, mentioned at D23 Expo 2019 that Kevin Feige had pitched him a six-hour movie:
I don’t think that myself or Lizzie have ever been more surprised than when [Marvel Studios head] Kevin [Feige] pitched the idea to us…he pitched this idea for a sort of six-hour movie that I would never in a million years…have thought of.
WandaVision director/producer Matt Shakman also said in an interview that the series has a total runtime of six hours.
Kevin Feige also addressed episode length in recent interviews, acknowledging that Marvel is adapting the streaming format to its needs. Here’s what Feige told TV Line in mid-January while promoting WandaVision:
That’s one of the fun things about streaming – and even on the shows that I watch, as a fan: You don’t have the rules of network TV and selling ad time, where it has to start now and end now.
[Episodes] can grow or shift or shrink or expand to fit the story you’re telling. Even in those first three, the lengths are somewhat different, and that will continue through the rest of the show.
Feige made a similar point about the malleability that comes with creating content for streaming in an interview with Collider at the time:
Well, we’re looking a little differently. We’re looking at it as developing them as either six hour-episodes, or nine or 10 half-hour episodes. So, for instance, WandaVision started that way and Falcon and the Winter Soldier as 30 minutes, but because it’s streaming, it’s Disney+, and the rules have blurred over the years, yes. Some can be 23 minutes. Some can be much longer than that. But She-Hulk, for instance, is being developed as 10 30-minute episodes. Some will be longer and some will be shorter. Loki, Falcon and the Winter Soldier is being developed as six 40-50-minute episodes.
While Feige and Co. are careful enough not to give away surprises during these interviews, it sure looks like we’re in for quite a surprise when it comes to WandaVision episode length for the remaining parts of the story. Having about an hour of WandaVision action for each of the final three episodes would certainly fix the worst thing about the show so far. We’ll have to wait until Friday to see how long Episode 7 is.