Phase 4 has already been packed with game-changing shifts in the MCU, with the biggest being the extreme focussed placed on Marvel Studios' Disney+ series.
Ever since he stood up to announce the future slate in front of thousands of fans at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has been promising the high-budget episodic outings would be integral to the cinematic universe's overarching storyline.
While the connections between the films and series have already begun to take shape, WandaVision has been teased to be the most integral as it ties directly to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. With Elizabeth Olsen returning as Scarlet Witch for the upcoming sequel, the two projects appear to be pieces of the same puzzle.
WandaVision left viewers anxiously awaiting the theatrical follow-up after the series finale concluded on Wanda in a surprising position. After realizing her true power and becoming the Scarlet Witch to defeat the villainous Agatha Harkness, the powerful heroine isolated herself in a remote setting to study the Darkhold.
With the sitcom bubble reality of Westview now gone, so is the perfect family life that the trouble Avenger had craved for so long. And yet the finale's post-credits stinger saw Wanda hearing the voices of her twin sons, Billy and Tommy, a plot point that the Doctor Strange sequel is said to be pursuing.
Despite this, Feige has made it clear that he wants moviegoers to be able to enter the theaters next year without absolutely needing to watch the Disney+ outing. But if one of the film's stars is to be believed, WandaVision may be more connected to the magical sequel than was previously thought.
WANDAVISION IS INTEGRAL TO DOCTOR STRANGE 2
During a recent interview with The Wrap, Scarlet Witch actress Elizabeth Olsen indicated that her WandaVision Disney+ series is essential viewing for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
According to Olsen, the upcoming sequel, which she will co-star in alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, “wouldn't make sense” without WandaVision as it “feels totally connected to the series.” The Emmy-nominated actress promised that the series “fully leads into where we find her” in the opening of the multiverse-centric blockbuster:
“Without ‘WandaVision,’ ‘Doctor Strange’ wouldn’t make sense. I do feel like it fully leads into where we find her. It feels totally connected to the series.”
SO HOW CONNECTED IS WANDAVISION?
Elizabeth Olsen's recent comments seem to directly contradict the historical comments of Kevin Feige, so some which are right?
The MCU made history in becoming the first cinematic universe to connect multiple franchises on such a large scale. Over the years, the connections between different projects have only grown greater, however, the studio generally makes an effort to ensure every film can stand on its own.
After the grand success of The Infinity Saga, Marvel probably isn't looking to change up its key formula too drastically, you know what they say: “if it ain't broke, don't fix it.”
But while the overall plot lines remain relatively standalone, the universe's biggest connections come in the development and changes in its characters. WandaVision left the Sokovian Avenger in a drastically different place to where she was after Avengers: Endgame.
Having gone through an elaborate metaphorical therapy session, Wanda was left having seemingly processed her many years of trauma and become more powerful than ever, finally understanding her true nature as the Scarlet Witch. Beyond that, after six years in a universe full of superheroes, Olsen finally donned a stylish heroic look.
With the Mind Stone-infused powerhouse now revealed as a magic-user, perhaps she may turn to Doctor Strange for help understanding her powers. The Sorcerer Supreme is bound to be intrigued by how she enslaved an entire town as is also likely to be after the Darkhold in order to ensure the powerful book never falls into the wrong hands.
Prior to changes made due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cumberbatch's Sorcerer was originally set to appear in WandaVision's finale. Additionally, Strange was initially written as the source of the sitcom's regular commercials as he attempted to break through to Wanda past the Hex around Westview.
Given the nature of the cryptic advertisements was left unexplained in the final episode, that plot point may be resurrected in order to explain why Earth's magical protector was absent through Wanda's reality-meddling.
If Elizabeth Olsen's statements are accurate, it paints the picture that the Doctor Strange follow-up may be just as much of a sequel to WandaVision as it is to the 2016 blockbuster. With the film's release now under a year away, more details surrounding the storyline of the multiverse romp ought to become clear in the months to come.
WandaVision is streaming on Disney+ now while Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on March 25, 2022.