Even if you’ve already seen “WandaVision,” you may still be wondering, “Wait, what the heck is going on in ‘WandaVision’?”
The new series, starring Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda/Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany as the synthetic humanoid robot Vision ― both from the Marvel Cinematic Universe ― is like a kooky romp through decades of sitcom history. Both of the initial two episodes, streaming now on Disney+, pay homage to the family comedies of yesteryear, with a bit of Marvel mystery baked in too.
The premiere gives a nod to “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” as Wanda and her husband, Vision, who are new to the neighborhood of Westview, forget Vision’s boss is coming over for dinner. Given that the couple are superheroes trying to hide their powers, hijinks ensue.
Episode 2, which is also mostly in black and white, then jumps to the “Bewitched” era of television, as the couple enters a magic act in the neighborhood talent show. But after Vision’s inner workings get all gummed up (he is part machine after all), Wanda has got to reach into her bag of tricks and use her magic to convince the town she doesn’t actually have magic.
The best part is, you don’t need to be an MCU expert to enjoy it. In fact, the mirroring of beloved past sitcoms makes “WandaVision” the type of show your dad might even call you in the room to watch, saying something like, “They don’t make ’em like they used to.” Well, the joke’s on you, Dad! It’s 2021, and we make our sitcoms in black and white by choice!
Still, deeper questions are afoot. Didn’t Vision die in “Avengers: Infinity War”? How are the pair in a sitcom world anyway? And, wait, can we go back to that whole “Vision is dead” thing?
If you’re curious about the mysteries of “WandaVision,” these theories may explain things:
Wanda is probably manipulating reality.
For those wondering how the pair wound up in sitcoms in the first place, look no further than Wanda’s reality-bending powers. Since Vision technically died in “Infinity War,” it seems that Wanda is creating a new reality where she and her robot boo (ro-boo?) are living safely in the comfort of comfort TV.
Why not? Thanos basically took two whole three-hour movies to defeat. Here, any problem can be solved in a half-hour.
As evidence, the retro ads that appear throughout the show seem to be right from Wanda’s memories. The name “Strucker,” which comes up in a watch ad, is the name of the person who experimented on Wanda, giving the superhero her powers. Also, Stark Industries made the bombs that killed Wanda’s family, and a Stark Industries toaster commercial includes a blinking red light that may be hinting at that.
Some fans even theorize that the actors in the commercials are Wanda’s long-dead parents:
Are these Wanda's parents? The Stark Industries "toaster" has a blinking red light beeping like it's about to go off... Wanda was trapped with the Stark bomb that killed her parents for 2 days. The same people show up in the HYDRA commercial too. pic.twitter.com/P42DszD1Yi
— Liv 🎨 ᱬ◊ (@livesque) January 15, 2021
Scarlet Witch similarly created an alternate reality in Marvel’s popular “House of M” comics, which is already confirmed to be one of the inspirations for the series and has an Easter egg in the premiere. In the comics, this alternate world was created after the deaths of a number of heroes, allowing them to come back to life blissfully unaware.
In “House of M,” the characters in the alternate reality can’t quite remember their pasts. Likewise, Wanda and Vision can’t remember where they came from or how they got where they are in the show’s premiere. In Episode 2, new neighbor Geraldine (Teyonah Parris) tells Wanda she doesn’t know what she’s doing there and momentarily seems to forget her own name.
Someone may be manipulating Wanda.
A voice can be heard coming over the radio in Episode 2, saying, “Wanda, who’s doing this to you?”
This voice seems to clue us in that there’s an antagonist hiding in Wanda’s perfect sitcom world. It’s too early to know if this is the case, but a prevailing theory is that the villain of the series is a demon called Mephisto.
Mephisto plays a part in a storyline from the comics involving Wanda and Vision’s twin boys. And with Wanda revealed to be pregnant at the end of the second episode, it’s not a huge stretch to assume Mephisto will show up in some way.
Some lines even indirectly suggest the demon is already around. At the talent show planning committee meeting in Episode 2, someone mentions the “devil’s in the details,” and Wanda’s nosey neighbor Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) tells her, “That’s not the only place he is.” (P.S. Keep an eye on Agnes. Not everyone is who they seem, and fans have been theorizing for a while that Agnes will turn out to be Agatha Harkness, a powerful Marvel witch and possible mentor to Wanda.)
What about all the other weird stuff?
There are plenty of instances in “WandaVision” where things just seem off and reality starts to peek through. Sometimes in these moments — such as when a toy helicopter shows up in the shrubbery — a logo for the Marvel intelligence agency S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division) can be seen. The logo suggests that the agency is keeping tabs on Wanda’s alternate world, possibly even trying to bring it down altogether.
In one case, someone in a beekeeper suit appears in the street wearing the logo. Wanda says, “No,” and reverses time to a moment she prefers, sans beekeeper dude. So buzz off, bro.
Before we log off ...
It’s worth remembering that prior to Vision’s death in “Infinity War,” his consciousness may have been saved on a computer program by Shuri (Letitia Wright). When HuffPost asked “Infinity War” directors Joe and Anthony Russo in 2018 if Vision had been saved by Shuri, they said it wasn’t “territory” they wished to discuss.
The Russos gave us a similar answer in 2016 when we asked if Captain America was worthy of holding Thor’s hammer. (He would later go on to wield it in 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”)
At the end of the “WandaVision” premiere, someone — apparently from S.W.O.R.D. — can be seen supposedly monitoring Wanda’s world using computers. So even if Wanda’s version of Vision is make-believe, like many classic shows, it’s always possible he gets a reboot.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.