‘WandaVision’ Builds on a Marvel Romance That Mostly Happened off Screen
WandaVision takes the Marvel Cinematic Universe to Disney+ for the first time. And the series also serves as the launching point for Phase 4 of the MCU. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about WandaVision is how the series puts Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision’s (Paul Bettany) love story front and center. Until now, the Marvel romance barely appeared on screen at all.
Wanda and Vision both debuted in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’
Olsen and Bettany joined the MCU as their respective characters in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Technically, Bettany had been voicing J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) A.I. since 2008. Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) briefly made an appearance as well. But just as that movie saw Wanda join the Avengers, it too introduced the android Vision to the roster. And even their MCU debut briefly teased a connection between the two.
In a key moment, Vision swoops in to rescue Wanda. As he flies off with her in his arms, comic book nerds everywhere saw the writing on the wall. Wanda aka Scarlet Witch and Vision are a long-standing item in Marvel Comics. So it seemed even early on the MCU would pursue a similarly unconventional relationship between the Sokovian “enhanced” and the Avengers’ latest science project. That’s a promise WandaVision keeps.
Their story took off in ‘Civil War’ and, most notably, ‘Infinity War’
By the time Captain America: Civil War came around, the characters had developed a close friendship. Vision was clearly developing romantic feelings for Wanda. However, their relationship hadn’t really gone much further than an inkling of attraction. Of course, Wanda’s miscalculation in battle leads to collateral damage and the introduction of the Sokovia Accords.
From that point on, Vision’s desire to protect Wanda conflicts directly with her need for freedom. When the climactic airport battle goes down, Wanda and Vision are on opposite sides, a far cry from the couple they are in WandaVision. So it’s clear the pair is far from starting a romance, at least at that point. When the credits roll, Vision’s compromised judgment causes injury to War Machine (Don Cheadle), and Wanda goes on the run.
Fans don’t see them again until Avengers: Infinity War. Picking up two years later, the film sees Wanda and Vision as secret lovers. However, their courtship is never really explored. To be fair, Wanda and Vision’s love is the center of one of Infinity War‘s most heart-wrenching moments. When Thanos (Josh Brolin) comes looking for the Infinity Stone in Vision’s head, Wanda has to watch her beloved die twice in a matter of moments.
‘WandaVision’ serves as a culmination of sorts for the couple
Avengers: Endgame largely skips over Wanda and Vision. The former is resurrected by Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), along with half of all life on Earth. And she plays a key role in the battle against Thanos, nearly killing him herself. But Vision remains dead. And that, somehow, is where WandaVision picks up. Although the nature of reality remains in question, fans finally see the two as a functioning couple.
The only film which features Wanda and Vision’s romance really is Avengers: Infinity War. And that movie has so much going on that the heroes rarely get to take a moment to catch their breath. The nine-episode arc of WandaVision will presumably explore their relationship in greater depth than ever before. That’s an opportunity the movies never got and a testament to what the MCU can now achieve with these Disney+ series.