‘WandaVision’: How the ‘Frozen’ Songwriters Made the Marvel Sitcom Theme Songs Better
WandaVision is turning the Marvel Cinematic Universe on its head. Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) appear in a different television sitcom environment every episode. They even have catchy new theme songs every week. It’s no wonder they’re so catchy. Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, writers of “Let It Go” and other Frozen songs, wrote them.
WandaVision head writer Jac Schaeffer spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet by Zoom on Jan. 18. She discussed the improvements the songwriters made to create the perfect sitcom music for the Marvel superheroes. New episodes of WandaVision premiere every Friday on Disney+.
The songwriters were not ‘Frozen’ when it came to ‘WandaVision’ theme songs
The songs from Frozen and its sequel may get the most frequent airplay in family SUVs, but Lopez and Anderson-Lopez have many accomplished credits to their names. They also wrote songs for Coco, Winnie the Pooh and the Oscars. So when WandaVision asked them for sitcom jingles, they delivered.
“Working with them was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done,” Schaeffer said. “They sent over the songs and we were mostly like, ‘Yup, that’s perfect.’”
The ‘Frozen’ writers improved on the screenwriters’ versions
Schaeffer went into a little more detail about the process for generating WandaVision’s theme songs. Her staff did send over rough outlines of what they were looking for. Lopez and Anderson-Lopez then turned it into magic.
“We had temp theme songs written into each episode that required it, so that was just a jumping off point,” Schaeffer said. “My writers and I, we are not lyricists. We know how to rhyme but that’s about it. There’s a lot more that goes into creating a song so yeah, we amused ourselves in the writers room with our own temp fake theme songs but it was Kristen and Bobby who made the real magic happen.”
How many theme songs will there be on ‘WandaVision’
So far, the first three episodes of WandaVision spoofed sitcoms from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Shows from each of those decades had theme songs, so it fits. Hopefully Lopez and Anderson-Lopez wrote some ’80s and ’90s theme songs too. However, in recent television, shows have cut the theme song entirely to make room for more ads. Will the WandaVision theme songs ultimately give way to cold opens? Schaeffer won’t say.
“[You’ll] have to see,” she teased.
You still don’t know where this Marvel show is going
WandaVision has created a great mystery for Marvel fans. They’re still trying to figure out what WandaVision actually is and what’s going on in the outside world. At a Zoom press conference on Jan. 10, Schaeffer explained how her show would keep shaking things up.
Twilight Zone is an enormous influence on me personally. I really think that’s actually kind of how I learned to tell stories. It was so incredibly deft at that turn, right? You think you’re in one sort of thing and then suddenly it’s slipped on its head. We were all incredibly enamored of that. Then I think there are a lot of current shows right now, like prestige series that are doing this very exciting thing where you watch a couple episodes and you think the show is one thing and then, by episode four or five, it flips the script. So that’s really I think where the more contemporary references come in in terms of boundary pushing in genre.Jac Schaeffer, WandaVision press conference, 1/10/21