This article contains spoilers for “Episode 9” of WandaVision.
Marvel Studios has officially completed its first full season of material on Disney+ after the finale of WandaVision. Finding a way to tie up a number of loose ends while bringing nearly an hour full of action and drama, the MCU’s debut streaming show turned out to be quite a success all around.
“Episode 9,” entitled “The Series Finale” brought Wanda and Vision’s story to a heartbreaking end as Ms. Maximoff made the choice to let go of both the Hex and her newly formed family. Before that ending, she had to tackle her full evolution into the Scarlet Witch while battling an immensely powerful Agatha Harkness.
Paul Bettany’s Vision had his own intense battle against a replica of himself, one that included a philosophical conversation about the Ship of Theseus in relation to the true identity of The Vision.
VISION VS. WHITE VISION
In a recent interview with Marvel Entertainment, WandaVision star Paul Bettany went into depth on the work it took to bring Vision’s fight against White Vision in “Episode 9” of WandaVision to life.
In terms of the actual characters, Bettany explained that it was much more than the fact that “of course, one is purple, and one is white.” He even revealed that he was “intimidated by the idea” of White Vision being such an intimidating figure in this finale:
“To differentiate between the two characters in a way that didn't just feel superficial... I mean, of course, one is purple, and one is white, so you have that going for you. But I wanted [The Vision] to be familiar and yet at the same time kind of intimidating. And for some reason, I was really intimidated by the idea. I kept putting off dealing with it because I knew we weren't shooting it till later. I was letting some ideas percolate because he has a very quick arc for where The Vision needs to go. He has a big turn to get through. I was really frightened of it!”
Specifically, Bettany discussed the Ship of Theseus sequence in the library Bettany confirmed that he learned lines for both versions of Vision. The dual portrayal for the one scene “was all very confusing” to keep straight in Bettany's head:
“I have to learn his side of the fight. He would have to learn my side, and then we'd swap. It was all very confusing. And then it was really confusing with the — I don't know it must be a three, four-page dialogue scene, which is [a lot]. We had this huge scene together. I couldn't learn it. I'm good at learning lines. I couldn't learn. And then I realized, ‘Oh, I'm trying to learn both things at once.’”
When looking at the bigger picture, Bettany realized he had to learn the lines for this back-and-forth “from Vision's point of view and then relearn it from The Vision's point of view” to keep the dialogue on track. It was especially tough taking on the White Vision role with Bettany feeling “super intimidated” by himself.
“(I had to) learn it from Vision's point of view and then relearn it from The Vision's point of view because things become much easier... to learn when you understand why the person is saying it and what they want. And I realized I couldn't learn it because I had these two opposing objectives and desires in my head. And it was just impossible. I was super intimidated by myself.”
With the challenge of playing both sides of this fight, Bettany spoke on how he had to play each character on separate days with different color schemes. When he played one Vision, his stunt double, Adam Lytle, would play the other Vision for the fight.:
“I would come in one day and I would be Vision or The Vision. Then Adam [Lytle], my stunt guy, would play Vision. And he learned all of the dialogue and for both parts — he was brilliant. We would play the scene like that. And then the next day, he would come in. And he would get The Vision. Then I would get Vision. And then we would play the scene like that and the same to the fights so that they could always have my bella faccia on camera, at some point. It was more confusing than I had sort of allotted. It used up all of my brain.”
BRINGING THIS FINAL BATTLE TO LIFE
When the post-credits scene in “Episode 8” of WandaVision arrived, fans were anxious to see if the show would deliver on the Vision fight that was so clearly teased with White Vision's birth. This presented Paul Bettany with some of the most intensive work he’s had to do in any of his MCU projects to date.
With Bettany embodying both versions of Vision, WandaVision gave a fantastic look into not only the colored Vision’s acceptance of what was happening but also another rendition of the character that was much more volatile than before. White Vision’s only mission was to kill Wanda and destroy his doppelgänger, which required some true intensity in Bettany’s physicality to come through. Bettany also flexed his acting chops with the Ship of Theseus conversation, conveying this philosophical concept to audiences in an understandable manner while portraying two separate personalities.
For all the time Bettany has spent in the MCU playing JARVIS and Vision, this was something he had never done before. Even though he had played Vision for almost six years after the character’s birth, this was his first time playing the Android with such animosity and such a lack of empathy.
Safe to say, Bettany excelled in this dual role as Vision seemingly met his end in the MCU. This also likely means that he was telling the truth when he commented that the cameo he’d teased for weeks was himself, but it still turned out to be something special.
The WandaVision finale is now available to stream on Disney+.