When you work on a Marvel project, you need to keep a lot of secrets from the start and while there is still plenty fans want to know going into this Friday’s WandaVision finale, Matt Shakman – who directed the entire series — was happy to be able to now discuss many of the big moments that have occurred so far when Fandom spoke to him this week.
Read on for what Shakman had to say about this past week’s highly emotional penultimate episode – and a line of dialogue that has resonated for many – plus seeing Monica Rambeau’s origin, bringing Evan Peters into the MCU, and more, including Shakman’s response to some questions provided by members of Fandom’s MCU wiki community.
FUELED BY GRIEF
WandaVision episode eight, “Previously On,” was a pivotal installment of the series, as Wanda Maximof, thanks to Agatha Harkness, revisited key moments in her life that crystalized how she was fueled by so much grief thanks to the loss of her parents, her brother, and then, finally, the love of her life, Vision.
Said Shakman, “It’s so great to be able to talk to you after episode eight because I feel like it really pulls back the curtain of what the show has really been about from the beginning. It’s about grief, loss and how we come back from losing people we love. It’s also about love. The deep love she has for her family, the love that she has for Vision. I think that’s crystallized in that Avengers HQ scene when they’re in the compound sitting on the bed talking and we understand the powerful bond that’s being formed there and we understand everything we’ve seen before. I hope when folks go back and look at the other episodes they’ll see those sitcom worlds in a very different vantage point. This is the world that Wanda has created to take solace in.”
Though she’s given a terrific performance throughout the series, “Previously On” was an especially big episode for Elizabeth Olsen, who conveyed so much of Wanda’s love and loss. Said Shakman, “No one cares more deeply about that character than Lizzie Olsen. She has been playing her for a while. She is immersed in her comic origins and she really wants to make sure that the deep pathos that fuels that character is a part of the show. And the spine of the show has been this idea of love and loss since the beginning. I’m happy now to be able to pull back the curtain on it and show that all those earlier worlds were informed by this strong throughline.”
Vision has a line to Wanda in that aforementioned scene on Wanda’s bed that became focused on and beloved by fans the second they heard Paul Bettany deliver it, as he says to her, “What is grief, if not love persevering?”
Regarding that scene in general and how that line has resonated for so many, Shakman said that going into filming it, “I think it was obvious to all of us that it was a very powerful scene. The line is incredible but it really wouldn’t work completely without the speech that comes before it, Lizzie’s speech about waves of grief hitting her. It is absolutely crystallizing the major theme of the show and putting those two amazing actors together and seeing them bring those words to life brought it even more home for me. It had been powerful on the page but seeing it performed by them it took on even greater resonance.”
YOU SAY PIETRO, I SAY PETER
When it comes to getting an “OH MY GOD!” fan response, the end of WandaVision’s fifth episode was an all-timer for MCU fans, when Wanda’s brother came to visit – except he was played by Evan Peters, who portrayed Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver in the X-Men films, not Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who played Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver in the MCU.
Regarding getting to pull off this huge moment, Shakman said, “I was so super excited. I’m a huge fan of Evan and he’s amazingly talented. I was thrilled that we were able to make that work. That was an early idea that we had to really make sure we did right. It was thrilling to get him in the show.”
When it came to keeping Peters’ presence in the show under wraps, Shakman noted, “We had to hide him under capes and towels and all sorts of stuff to keep that secret for as long as we could. We didn’t quite make it to airdate with that secret a secret but we did our best!”
We now know Agatha possessed someone to play the “part” of Pietro, but we still don’t know who this person is. Is he someone in the MCU we’ve never met before – with Peters’ casting serving as a meta in-joke for the audience – or is this truly Peter/Quicksilver from the X-Men films, transported into the MCU via multiverse shenanigans?
When I passed on OliverMichaelWest‘s question on whether we might get a firm answer on who “Fietro” is in the finale, Shakman simply replied, “I think there’s a strong possibility you might get a little more of Evan Peters coming up. But how that plays out, I wouldn’t want to say.”
While Monica Rambeau’s involvement in WandaVision was announced from the start, it turned out that big things were in store for her, as the series charted her getting her own powers and putting her on the path to become a superhero in her own right (in the comics, Monica’s numerous codenames have included Spectrum, Photon, Pulsar and, originally, Captain Marvel).
When it came to getting to include Monica’s origin story in the series, Shakman described it as, “A huge honor and Teyonah Parris just crushed it. It was super fun to bring that to life. She did a beautiful job. We wanted the story of Monica to parallel the story of Wanda’s as someone who is also grieving, who has lost her mother, who is coming back into a world that has completely changed. She’s disoriented. How does she get her legs back and find her way forward? And it’s her own processing of grief that makes her understand what Wanda is going through as well and brings those two characters together. Having her transformation when her rover doesn’t quite work out and that moment where she charges in and destiny calls for her is a great moment for all of us to bring to life. Teyonah is great in it and she really gave it her all wearing 40 different pieces of clothing and having to do it all again and again and again.”
Of course, one other lingering question is Monica’s aerospace engineer friend who designed that rover, as there was a lot of speculation about who that might be – and then a bit of confusion when the rover was brought to Monica by a military friend who didn’t seem to be the engineer Monica was describing. Shakman however could only grin and give another “Wouldn’t want to say!” when asked if we might still be meeting that friend in the future.
There is a lot to resolve in the WandaVision finale, as we presumably will get closure on the Westview hex situation Wanda has created and we also know Tyler Hayward has brought Vision’s true body back as a ghostly, white-skinned incarnation that is likely not going to have friendly intentions for Wanda and the Vision she created within the hex – not to mention the various subplots and supporting characters to deal with, including Agatha, “Pietro,” and Monica.
It’s been announced that Wanda will return in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, while Monica is in Captain Marvel 2 and LiamTheFox07 was curious if we’d see the finale tie directly into the Doctor Strange sequel. Regarding juggling all of those elements, Shakman said, “I think a great thing about Marvel Studios, and this is a testament to Kevin Feige’s great leadership, there is that the stories are treated, on their own, as complete stories and they need to work and be completely satisfying from beginning to end. The story we started out telling in episode one is the story we want to conclude in episode nine. The fact that it then carries on and hands off is just because we’ve created a wonderful new step forward for all of these characters that can be picked up.”
Shakman added, “I think of Marvel like a really long relay race. You’re getting the baton passed to you. It gets passed to us, we inherit what’s been created before, make our story as best as we can, and then hand the baton to the next group of filmmakers.”
FAVORITE ERAS AND FUTURE MARVELS
Greater good and JayIsWayBetterThanKai both wanted to know which of the eras was the most fun for Shakman to work on during WandaVision’s decade-hopping run and he replied, “They were all so much fun but I think the 70s was my favorite because the set was extraordinary, and so were the costumes. It was all so colorful and vibrant. The hair was amazing.”
Meanwhile, ThatGuyNamedJoe·was curious if Shakman would like to do another project with Marvel. Said Shakman, “I certainly love working for Marvel. They are the best. They’re so wonderful as collaborators and they treat filmmakers so well. They are smart and supportive. I would love to work with Marvel again. I’m a long time Marvel fan. But no firm plans to do so.”
ALL THOSE THEORIES
Since WandaVision began, fans have been having a great time theorizing about it with the theories sometimes turning out to be dead on, sometimes partially right, and sometimes way off.
Asked if it’s been fun for him and his collaborators to see this occur now that the show is airing, Shakman said, “Yes. We created this show with so much love and passion. [Showrunner] Jac Schaeffer, the writers, myself, all the filmmakers involved, my team of designers, we all put so much care into creating the show that it’s so wonderful to see so much love and passion coming back from the fans. I love seeing memes and TikTok videos and theories. They’re so creative and wonderful. And of course some people will be disappointed that certain theories don’t end up coming to be true – or true in the course of WandaVision. But we pass them around. Please know the cast and crew, we love sharing them. It’s nice to know that your work is being received like that.”
The WandaVision finale debuts Friday, March 5 on Disney+.