It's been more than a year since WandaVision kicked off this new streaming era for the MCU, and, in some cases, fans are still reeling from the series. The Wanda-centric adventure through sitcom history also served as Marvel Studios' first dip into the world of Disney+. It jump-started a franchise that had been dormant for more than a year at that time, laying the seeds for what Phase 4 of the MCU will be all about.
The show tore the very fabric of reality as Wanda Maximoff took over a small New Jersey town, creating her own little Multiversal bubble to mourn her recently deceased lover, Vision. A part of this personalized pocket of Marvel magic (aka the Hex) were a couple of in-universe commercials.
These Hex-based advertisements were some of the most confusing elements of WandaVision, serving as teases that something bigger may have been at play. These ads gave fans plenty to chew on with each episode and held plenty of Easter eggs that are still being discovered to this day.
A Pym/Stark Joint Venture
In the new WandaVision: The Art of the Series book, Marvel Studios prop master Russell Bobbitt revealed the toaster featured as one of the in-universe advertisements in the MCU series has a Hank Pym tie.
Bobbitt said that the WandaVision team "played around with Stark/Pym colors” for the toaster. They "played around with a lot of storytelling" trying to create "Stark-ified or Pym-ified" versions of these antique toasters that would make fans ask, "Did Pym have a hand in this toaster?:"
"The ones you’re seeing here are inspired by Iron Man’s helmet. We played around with a lot of storytelling like, ‘Should it be Tony Stark? Did Pym have a hand in this toaster?’ Now, these would have been complete manufactures, the expensive versions, until we then went to, ‘Hey. Let’s go to an antique store and buy a toaster that would have been there and modify it.’ But eventually, these all went by the wayside so we could finally get to the one we had. And the blue pencil drawings on the right are all based on real toasters that were around, and then we sort of Stark-ified or Pym-ified them, if you will—if those could be words that we now invent.”
The Marvel prop master looked back fondly on the "multilevel story behind [building] the toaster.” The team worked hard to make sure it would "appear that it would do everything the narrator was talking about:"
“It had to appear that it would do everything the narrator was talking about in the commercial. The “Stark Industries’ and the ‘Toastmate 2000’ are metal plates. They’re not plastic. They’re not 3D-printed. These were all machined as they would do it in the ’40s or ’50s and used as appliqués onto the real toaster. This was a really, really fun piece to make. It was a very challenging piece, both storywise and physically to come up with the end product, and they just fell in love with it when it got to the set. It looked so good—it’s so shiny—and we ended up with something that feels really tangible for the time.”
He also noted that one final touch was using the light on the toaster as a nod to the "bomb in Sokovia" that has become a big part of Wanda's story:
“What people may or may not know is that we added that blinking light in the middle to mirror the bomb in Sokovia”
I'd Like to Make a Toast
In reading and listening to these Marvel Studios creatives, fans can truly learn so much about the things they love. Hearing Bobbitt go into detail on such a small prop and all the thinking that went into getting it on screen is simply amazing.
This was not just a case of finding the antique toaster, throwing a new label on it, and putting it on screen. For this one prop, there was blood, sweat, and tears going into it. There were actual storytelling decisions made behind this one prop and not just direct corollaries to the story at hand.
Yes, the toaster mimics the bomb that ties directly into the story of WandaVision, but what is even more stunning is this whole Pym/Stark tie-in. These are two characters that do not make any meaningful appearance in the Elizabeth Olsen-led Disney+ series, yet this prop department put real thought into this small appliance backstory.
It makes one wonder what other little details are hiding in plain sight for fans to find, they just haven't been pointed out yet.
WandaVision is streaming in its entirety now on Disney+.