WandaVision , Marvel Studios' first series on Disney+, gave fans a smaller, character-driven story that lacked a lot of the action found in their blockbuster films. Whether you loved it, hated it, or are somewhere in the middle , this first MCU series set the stage for an entirely new way of telling these superhero stories.
A major aspect of the series ultimately became Wanda Maximoff's grief. After the traumatic events in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War where she lost her brother and her love, Wanda was understandably unstable. The events that transpired in WandaVision display the stages of grief and show how touching but also how horrifying it is to see Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch handle her loss.
It has now been revealed that these stages of grief were one of the building blocks when coming up with the idea for WandaVision.
THE STAGES OF WANDA'S GRIEF
In a recent interview with The New York Times , WandaVision showrunner Jac Schaeffer revealed her initial pitch for the show "was mapped to the stages of grief." She said her and the writers even met with a grief counselor to get a better idea of how to bring these elements to life.
"In the writers’ room, we had intense conversations about grief and loss. We had a grief counselor come and speak to us. My initial pitch, the structure of the show was mapped to the stages of grief."
Schaeffer continued, directly discussing the origins of Vision's memorable line: "What is grief, if not love persevering?"
Apparently, Paul Bettany "was really hungering for" something that could comfort Wanda.
"I did not know that that line would be a sensation, but it did feel at the time that it was the perfect distillation of the show. Laura Donney wrote an extraordinary episode, and as we were moving toward production on the scene, Paul was really hungering for, 'what’s the thing that Vision can say that will bring her comfort?' He wanted a line that, in a very Vision way, would perfectly encapsulate a definition of grief, like in Age of Ultron , how he says, 'A thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.'"
Schaeffer further revealed that this memorable line was initially, "What is grief but love surviving?"
"So I came up with a line that was something along the lines of, 'What is grief but love surviving?' We agreed that wasn’t quite it and we were turning it over and trying to figure it out. My incredibly talented assistant, Laura Monti, came up with the word 'persevering.' We all believe that the line was born of the enormous amount of collaboration and unity on the show. So many talented women, specifically, came up with it."
THE SCARLET WITCH'S ACCEPTANCE
The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In the series finale, we saw Wanda finally accept her reality, close the Hex, and wipe her twins and the new Vision from existence. While it was a touching moment finally having to let go of her ideal "vision," she was left to face an entire town of people who saw her purely as a villain.
Even though Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda did finally make it through the final stages of grief, her journey to get there meant holding thousands of people captive. Not only were they stuck physically, they also were under mind control and unable to think freely. When you're as powerful as the Scarlet Witch, living out a hyper-realistic daydream can come at a cost.
It is great to see that from the very beginning her grief was a fundamental piece of the story. It really translates well on the screen, and now that the season is over it's even easier to see that the stages of grief are the backbone of the series.
How does one of the most powerful beings in the MCU mourn? What are the consequences? A lot of those answers were given in WandaVision , but others may be given when Elizabeth Olsen returns in Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness on March 25, 2022.