Marvel Studios has been overwhelmingly successful with the Marvel Cinematic Universe over nearly 13 years of action, with a number of behind-the-scenes personnel becoming regulars with the company. Phase 4 will see this trend continue with directors like James Gunn and Peyton Reed returning for their third MCU movies, while Taika Waititi and Ryan Coogler will take on their second movie each.
Not only will Phase 4 see multiple returns from the Infinity Saga, a select few of Marvel's finest are taking on multiple projects in Phase 4 alone. James Gunn will helm Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 along with the Holiday Special, Ryan Coogler will take on Black Panther II along with an unspecified Wakanda spin-off on Disney+, and Jon Watts will complete the Spider-Man trilogy before bringing the MCU's Fantastic Four to life.
One of Marvel’s top writers is also taking this same challenge in Phase 4, and she gave some insight into how her projects compare to one another.
WANDAVISION TOUGHER THAN BLACK WIDOW
In a recent interview with SyFy, Marvel Studios writer Jac Schaeffer went into details on her experience writing WandaVision compared to Black Widow. Serving as a writer on both projects, she explained that WandaVision was the easier entry to write, noting that the restrictions of the series helped narrow her focus:
"I like the sort of crazy pond of being 'it's a sitcom and it's the MCU.’ That is incredibly challenging but it's something I enjoy and it makes sense to me, the puzzle of it. I worked on [the upcoming Black Widow movie], and I found it harder to do more of a straight-ahead superhero story. It was just a little harder to hold on to, whereas the experiment that was WandaVision used every single piece of my brain and that of my writers'."
Schaeffer explained that WandaVision was "sort of like doing a period place," where the restrictions in place due to the time periods were helpful. She compared the experience to having "guardrails" as she worked on it:
"It was sort of like doing a period place, in that the restriction was helpful. It sort of gave me guardrails, I guess."
Elizabeth Olsen believed that Wanda Maximoff "has a tremendous amount of guilt” as she secluded herself from the world after the finale of 'WandaVision.'
Kevin Feige explained that they had to cut Doctor Strange from the WandaVision finale because "it would have taken away from Wanda," revealing that they "didn't want the end of the show to be commoditized to go to the next movie."
Kevin Feige confirmed that a deal was finalized between Benedict Cumberbatch and Marvel to appear in the final episode of 'WandaVision.'
SITCOMS VS REAL WORLD
Taking a look at Scaeffer’s comments, her explanation behind WandaVision being the easier project to write seem to make some sense.
The MCU's first Disney+ show is confirmed to be partially set in historical eras of TV sitcoms from the 1950s to present day, which was featured in the first three episodes using the '50s, '60s, and '70s as the foundation. This likely helped to give Schaeffer and her team solid parameters within which to write for the core cast, especially with classic sitcoms like I Love Lucy and The Brady Bunch to use as inspiration.
Even though the timeline of Black Widow has been confirmed, there are unlimited options for where to take Natasha Romanoff’s journey. The only known facts are the beginning and end of the story between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, and the plot is certainly more of a straight forward superhero movie than the alternate reality-based WandaVision.
No matter if Schaeffer has the aforementioned “guardrails” or not, her work is proving to be successful already after first working with Marvel on 2019's Captain Marvel. The first four episodes of WandaVision have been a hit, and the hype for Black Widow has been building for nearly two years as the first solo movie for one of the original Avengers inches closer to release. All in all, it's a great time to be Jac Schaeffer.
WandaVision will continue with "Episode 5" premiering on Disney+ on Friday, February 5. Black Widow is currently set for release in theaters on May 7, 2021.