When Elizabeth Olsen first started teasing that WandaVision was in the works at Marvel Studios, the show easily shot straight to the top of the MCU's most highly anticipated projects despite having almost no idea what to expect.
In fact, a lot of the anticipation surrounding WandaVision is due to the fact that no one really knows what's coming from the MCU's first Disney+ series.
First, you hear the show is set in the '50s. Then, someone else tells you that the series will remind you of The Brady Bunch. But, then you see a trailer for WandaVision and Monica Rambeau is rocking a hairstyle and denim vest from the '80s.
So, what the heck is going on?
Basically, every single trailer that's been released for WandaVision has been especially whacky, with plenty of delightfully confusing components. But, recently a short clip of the show was released, and it seemed fun and entirely harmless, finally giving fans some sense of normalcy.
However, if you dig a little deeper into that new clip, it becomes just as complex as every trailer fans have seen for the Disney+ series, and actually offers possible clues that WandaVision will emulate components of Jim Carrey's 1998 hit film The Truman Show.
When fans first started speculating about what WandaVision would entail, it was a common assumption to think the show would revolve around Wanda creating the mess that she'll later find herself in. But, as more footage of the Disney+ series is released, the less likely it seems that Wanda is in any position of control at all in this new reality.
In the new clip, Wanda tries twice to turn on a lamp telekinetically, but the light turns itself back off both times. It's only when Vision awakes and turns the light on by physically touching the lamp that it stays lit.
At first, this gives the impression that Wanda is simply unfamiliar with her powers, or that they are not working properly. But, Wanda seemed to be growing into her powers much better by the time fans saw Avengers: Endgame, so much so that she went toe-to-toe with Thanos and almost took him out.
What if Wanda’s powers were working just fine when she turned the light on, and it’s something (or someone) else that is turning the light back off and making Wanda think she’s the problem?
Perhaps Wanda is being discouraged from using her powers in this new reality, and whatever she uses her powers for is immediately undone by the person who put her there. This could be done to condition Wanda to eventually stop using her powers altogether.
This resonates in a very strange way with the 1998 blockbuster The Truman Show. In the film, the main character, Truman Burbank, has unknowingly been the star of the world's most popular reality TV show for his entire life. Every single person in his small town of Seahaven was in on it, from Truman's mailman to his best friend, and even his own wife. But, Truman didn't have a clue.
That is until Truman started to catch on. He eventually suspected something was wrong, and the further he tried to investigate, the more his manufactured life began to fall apart.
What if WandaVision follows the same narrative? What if Wanda is trapped in some sort of unending trance, with no memory of whom she once was? Who would do that to her, and why?
"We accept the reality of the world with which we're presented. It's as simple as that."
-Christof, The Truman Show
Wanda's new reality could also just be a very, very weird dream. After all, it takes a while to figure out when you're in a dream, doesn't it? A lot of times, it's the small details that give it away — the details you don't pay a ton of attention to until they're not as they should be. Did that sentence make you take another look at your surroundings?
Nightmares also have a tendency to not be scary as soon as they start. In most cases, they gradually become more and more frightening, until they are so terrifying that you wake up. But, what if you can't wake up?
The classic Marvel Comics villain Nightmare is rumored to be the main antagonist of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which WandaVision will reportedly lead right into. Perhaps Nightmare is the one keeping Wanda captive in a deep sleep, tormenting her in an inescapable dream, and the results are so catastrophic that they may be the certain “madness” that the Sorcerer Supreme will encounter in the Doctor Strange sequel.
But, more on that later.
THE WANDA SHOW
The Truman Show was all about showing viewers the life of Truman Burbank and how intricately the creator Cristof put it together. Truman didn't even realize he was being duped until his thirtieth birthday. This was largely due to things that happened very early on in Truman's life that conditioned him to live a certain way, to ensure the show's success.
Truman's hometown of Seahaven was an island, and the only way off of it was by boat or by taking a long bridge over the water. To ensure Truman would never leave the island, Cristof had to discourage Truman from ever traveling by water, and he did so by "killing" Truman's father at sea when Truman was young. Obviously, the actor playing Truman's father was fine, but Truman grew up believing that tragedy, and it kept him from even trying to leave the island for decades.
In a smaller, far less dramatic manner, the new WandaVision clip actually hints at that same concept. When Vision asked Wanda if she had been using her powers to turn on the lights, it’s a bit odd that Vision seemed displeased with Wanda, almost as if using her powers had been discouraged before.
When Vision noticed that Wanda used her powers, it almost felt like Vision was saying, “Wanda, haven’t we talked about this before? It’s no use using your powers.”
A synopsis of WandaVision's first episode explains that Wanda and Vision are hiding their special abilities in order to better fit in with their community. But, that doesn't explain everything.
For instance, if Vision was wearing a sleep mask when Wanda turned the lights on, then how did he know that Wanda was messing with the lights if he didn’t take the mask off until after the lamp turned off for the second time?
The actors in Truman's life throughout The Truman Show knew Truman's every move, sometimes before he even made one. They also wore earpieces and were given instructions from Christof on how to interact with Truman. These interactions included discouraging Truman from doing things that would harm the show's success, such as leaving the island where the show took place.
What if Vision isn't at all concerned with Wanda's well-being, but is instead acting in the best interest of the reality that Wanda is seemingly trapped in? The question to ask may very well be who cares that Wanda is using her powers, and why?
Many fans originally believed that this new Vision would be the product of Wanda’s fabricated reality, but as fans learn more about the WandaVision series, Wanda seems to be the clueless one, not Vision.
Even so, audiences had to watch Vision die twice in Avengers: Infinity War, so it’s safe to assume that the Vision in WandaVision is not the same synthezoid that audiences know from previous MCU installments.
So then how is Vision co-starring in his own Disney+ series?
Much of the success that Christof had with The Truman Show could be credited to Truman's wife Meryl, as she was often Truman's voice of reason, directing him throughout his adult life to ensure the show went the way it was intended.
In a couple of the WandaVision trailers, Vision appears determined to “fight for” his home in Westview with Wanda. Who are they fighting, and why? And why does Wanda need any convincing to join him?
If an organization like SWORD is trying to save Wanda from this twisted reality like they seem to be doing in the WandaVision trailers, then why would Vision give the impression that they need to be fought off? If Wanda is uncertain, why isn't Vision taking her thoughts into account when making this decision, like fans saw him do in Infinity War? What does Vision know, and why is Wanda better off in Westview than back in the real world?
"WANDA, WELCOME HOME."
The sequence in the first WandaVision trailer where Vision says, “Wanda, welcome home” throws me off just a bit. Vision is seen very comfortingly inviting Wanda into this very strange reality, almost as if he's already familiar with the setting and assuring Wanda it's a safe place. Just in that short sequence, TONS of questions immediately present themselves that Wanda should be asking. But, who does Wanda trust more than Vision?
Wanda once found comfort and solace in the company of Vision, which was hard to come across in her recent years, so it makes sense that Vision would be her "safe place," even in her dreams. A villain like Nightmare can surely use that to his advantage.
Vision could be Wanda's "Meryl" in a way. If Nightmare were to keep Wanda in this dream world, he would surely put parameters in place to make sure Wanda stayed on the right track towards this seemingly endless oblivion. Using Wanda's love interest — her “everything,” as she once put it — as the first line of defense against Wanda becoming wise to her condition would be a pretty perfect move.
There may be more proof of this in other WandaVision trailers as well. Vision acts very uncharacteristically in most of these promos, specifically when he emotes fear. What could Vision possibly be afraid of, after the feats fans have seen of his in the MCU?
In the clip that debuted on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, how dramatic was it that Vision jumped back into bed and pulled a blanket over himself after he heard a noise outside?
Rather, the more important question might be: what if Vision isn’t afraid at all, but is pretending to be afraid to make Wanda afraid? There could be a lot to be learned about this new Vision, and it isn’t looking good for Wanda's sake.
IT'S TIME FOR SOME MIND GAMES
My theory? WandaVision is intentionally misleading in nature, even in the title of the series.
With Wanda being the center focus of the show, traversing through decades of iconic TV eras, it’s all about watching Wanda on the television. Get it? Television... WandaVision...
What if the title has nothing to do with Vision at all, but is only a very convenient play on words meant to misdirect audiences? The title of the series could be misleading by nature, drawing an assumption that Vision's character in the show is the other protagonist and someone Wanda can trust. This could be done to purposefully throw off the audience, so it's harder to tell that Vision is actually part of the show's biggest problem.
When all the details are put together, the possibility that it really is Wanda against this dream world becomes more and more prevalent.
THE STRONGEST AVENGER
Wanda was given a very specific spotlight in Avengers: Endgame where she fought Thanos with greater ease than any other Avenger, but that sequence ended up serving no greater purpose than to simply show fans just how strong Wanda really is.
And if that wasn't enough, Kevin Feige also made sure fans knew that Wanda is the most powerful hero in the MCU, and even recently admitted that the WandaVision series was well in the works before they finished making Avengers: Endgame.
Wanda also destroyed an Infinity Stone without getting so much as a scratch in Infinity War, killing Vision in the process. But, that was undone too. That’s a lot of trauma to endure for nothing. Or was it?
Maybe fans were shown how powerful Wanda is in Avengers 3 and 4 in order to set up the premise for WandaVision, reinforcing that she’s a force to be reckoned with and why someone would either want her out of the way or want to use her to their own advantage.
Whoever is holding Wanda in this fabricated reality could be afraid of her, especially after the Lagos incident in Civil War. And if they know anything about Wanda's run-ins with Thanos, then they'd definitely be aware of the power they're messing with. So, why risk it, and how did they get this far?
Let’s not forget that when fans caught up with Wanda in Avengers: Infinity War, she had been on the run from the time Cap broke her out of prison at the end of Civil War two years prior. Then, at the end of Infinity War, Wanda was dusted away for five years.
So, after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Wanda is back where she was at the beginning of Infinity War. Because of this, Wanda will surely still be sought after by world governments for her violations of the Sokovia Accords all those years ago, which would explain FBI Jimmy Woo's involvement in WandaVision.
However, unlike before the events of Avengers 3 and 4, Wanda no longer has Captain America, Black Widow, or Vision to look after her. Agent Woo will probably be looking for Wanda in order to properly enforce the Sokovia Accords, and perhaps he finds a much bigger mess that ends up getting SWORD involved.
Why does all of this matter? In The Truman Show, anyone who had Truman's best interests in mind was also removed from Truman's life, which made it much easier for Christof to control Truman's life. The dual-purpose of killing off Truman's dad was to traumatize Truman, but also because the actor playing him didn't think it was right to hold Truman there as a "prisoner," so to speak. Truman's young love interest was also swiftly removed from the show when she tried to warn Truman of what his life really was.
Wanda is somewhat in the same boat post-Endgame. She has Clint Barton to turn to, but he has a family to look after. She’s also got Sam Wilson, but he kind of has his hands full becoming the new Captain America and whatnot.
So, in essence, Wanda is all alone, making it the perfect opportunity to nab her, thinking no one would be looking for her. And if this new Vision is in on it too, then it's going to take a lot for Wanda to realize the reality she's in is far from reality itself.
Just as fans watched Truman Burbank slowly put together the pieces that the world he lived in was fabricated, promotional footage for WandaVision shows that Wanda may have a very similar experience. And, just as The Truman Show very quickly began to fall apart as Truman descended into near madness, it's unknown what it will take for Wanda to escape the trance she's in or how far gone she'll be by the time she does.