WandaVision Director Explains Why Wanda's Flashbacks Were Focus of Latest Episode

By Sam Hargrave Updated:

This week saw the release of WandaVision's most unique episode yet as the eighth installment took the form of a series of flashbacks revealing the tragedy of the life of Elizabeth Olsen's.

"Previously On" took viewers through the Avenger's life from her early days with her family to her parents' death, through HYDRA's experimentation on her, and the aftermath of Vision's death. Throughout the story, fans were treated to a series of new revelations regarding the various traumatic events of her life and the true origin of her magical powers.

As the show approaches its climactic finale, series director Matt Shakman offered his perspective on the meaning behind parts of the latest episode and the overall themes of the series.


In an interview with ColliderWandaVision director Matt Shakman shared his thoughts on finally getting to “pull back the curtain” in the latest episode as the meaning of the series becomes clear. 

Shakman was asked if he always had the “sense that the idea of, essentially, a clip show would be fun to explore” when it came to plotting out the eighth episode. The series' director reflected on choosing "Previously On" as the episode's title, referring to how it “reflects in the way it was constructed:"

“Definitely. I mean, WandaVision has been a meta exploration from the beginning, and so the idea of calling it “Previously On” reflects in the way it was constructed. And that line of Agatha's, which changed so many times but finally became “Now it's time for some real reruns,” sets that up in a great way.”

The filmmaker went on to explain the reasoning behind focusing on flashbacks to form the structure of the latest episode, saying he wanted to “spend time with Wanda in all of these key moments:” 

“But we wanted to go back and, aside from the madness of it, really spend time with Wanda in all of these key moments, these moments where we can really appreciate the love she had for her parents and how they all bonded as a family. And then what that loss felt like and the connection to Vision. And obviously what it felt like when she had to realize that he was completely gone in S.W.O.R.D. Headquarters.”

Shakman was then asked about the “gut-punch of a line from Vision about grief” and if he had been able to see the massive fan reaction the quote has triggered over recently. The director cited the interaction between Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda and Paul Bettany's Vision as the “center point of the show” about “what loss feels like:"

“Yes, I have noticed. It doesn't surprise me, I'm surprised in general by the positive response to the show, which is great and humbling, but that line really is sort of the center point of the show — that exchange, I should say, because I think it's both lines. I think it's both his response, but also her line before it, about what loss feels like.”

Lastly, Shakman explained how excited he was to “pull back the curtain” in the most recent episode, so viewers can now see the theme of “how you come back from loss” in the series' early episodes:

“It really is what the show is about. And I'm glad to be able to pull back the curtain in Episode 8 so that people realize, when they watch Episodes 1, 2, and 3, that this idea — this meditation on how you come back from loss — is really what the show is all about. It's about love.”


Despite being a series filled with sitcom-inspired MCU stories based on classic series', the latest episode of WandaVision proved to be the standout of the bunch. Many fans had expected the penultimate episode would take viewers through the story of Wanda's life, but few could have predicted the revelations that would come with it.

The story was filled with huge answers like discovering the hero had her powers even prior to HYDRA's experimentation, however, the most prominent moments of the story ended up being the emotional character study of Olsen's Wanda.

Viewers were treated to a story filling in the gaps between MCU projects, revealing the impact they had on the lead character in a way the universe had never done before. The themes of love and loss have been prominent throughout the series. Re-watching the early episodes after these recent developments only adds to the tragic nature of the story.

The WandaVision finale will stream on Disney+ on March 5, 2021, as it aims to provide a satisfying conclusion to the superhero epic.

- In This Article: WandaVision
Release Date
January 15, 2021
- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.