Marvel Studios certainly set itself up with a tough task going into Phase 4 of the MCU considering how much new material was planned for debut after the Infinity Saga ended in 2019. Even more challenging was the idea of starting this next chapter with a new platform for releases in Disney+, which started with the arrival of WandaVision in January 2021.
After Marvel Studios absorbed Marvel Television questions began forming about how the MCU would adapt to a long-form storytelling mode after building its success with theatrical movies. While this new venture started with a tribute to American TV sitcom history, the fandom quickly saw that nothing was compromised in terms of quality or excitement with this first Disney+ series.
WandaVision did its job by providing Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff a chance to deal with the entire grief spectrum as she experienced a new life with Vision and her twin sons while discovering her true potential as the Scarlet Witch. Coming as something that the MCU had never done before meant that there was a level of pressure to make sure it was done right.
As it turns out, the staff behind WandaVision was more than willing to put in any level of work needed to accomplish their goals, even if it meant putting in time on it after-hours.
ALL-NIGHTERS FOR WANDAVISION TEAM
WandaVision head writer Jac Schaeffer spoke with The Hollywood Reporter on the time she and her team spent writing the MCU's debut Disney+ outing.
Although she certainly asked around for any help she could get, the main tip Schaeffer got was to run the show "how [she] wanted to run it." Evidently, her team at Marvel had a similar viewpoint as Schaeffer explained her visions for her ideal "utopian working environment" on the series:
"Every showrunner I discreetly approached for a cheat sheet told me to run it how I wanted to run it. To my surprise and good fortune, my partners at Marvel felt the same way. Visions of a utopian working environment filled my head: a culture of respect and inclusion, big ideas and even bigger feelings, clarity of purpose, lots of laughing, and … a 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. workday."
Thinking back on her early days developing the series, Schaeffer reminisced on how she felt she had to "demonstrate [her] commitment to work" as she tried to find that ideal work/life balance, even on something as big as WandaVision:
"It still makes me sweaty to see those hours in black and white. Trained as I was to demonstrate my commitment to work by pretending I had no commitments at home, I was sure my wonderful co-executive producer Mary Livanos would laugh me out of the building. She didn’t (she’s wonderful). But it was a gamble: Could we be focused and brilliant enough to meet our deadlines and still get home in time for dinner?"
Schaeffer even admitted that she and her team had "a few planned all-nighters" to make sure all the work on the Elizabeth Olsen series went as smoothly as possible. She was happy to reveal that "the gamble paid off" in a "healthy" work environment, and she seemed to be satisfied with the entire process behind the series:
"I wish I could say that our room never worked past 4 p.m., but the truth is, there were a few planned all-nighters that I’m confident were enjoyed by all. (If you’re lucky enough to meet a WandaVision writer, ask them to sing “The Song.”) What I am proud of is the fact that the gamble paid off. The room was healthy and the work was good. It’s possible to have both. We made a show that resonated with audiences around the world, and most nights I still made it home in time for dinner."
EXTREME MEASURES PAID OFF
Jac Schaeffer is certainly no stranger to the hard work required to make a Marvel Studios project run after having a supporting role on the writing teams for both Captain Marvel and Black Widow. However, it's clear that she and her team knew how much dedication and effort would go into making sure WandaVision saw the same level of success as its big-screen counterparts.
This likely isn't the first MCU project which required its developers pulling all-nighters to get the job done, and it absolutely won't be the last considering how much is coming down the pipeline.
Schaeffer's work with her team on WandaVision paid off in a big way as the MCU's first effort making TV shows earned Marvel Studios 23 Emmy Nominations, which will hopefully lead to a few wins come September. This will hopefully set the standard for the MCU's future outings in the streaming world no matter how many more all-nighters have to come into play to make it happen.
All nine episodes of WandaVision are now available to stream on Disney+.