News

WandaVision’s Sitcom Sets Hold Plenty of Easter Eggs for the MCU

Production designer Mark Worthington says there’s very little random about the ever-changing Westview home.

by | February 18, 2021 | Comments

Movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are vibrant pops of color. Iron Man’s crimsons and golds or the Guardians of the Galaxy’s blues, greens, and purples blur and swirl across the nearly every frame, giving audiences a sensory overload as they watch their heroes battle for good over evil.

So how did the MCU start the television section of its Phase Four chapter? With a black-and-white sitcom, naturally.

WandaVision, created by Jac Schaeffer, is ostensibly about the quiet, domestic bliss of telepath Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and synthezoid Vision (Paul Bettany) after their lives as Avengers. Premiering January 15 on Disney+, the show opened with the two living a The Dick Van Dyke Show–inspired dream existence of dinner parties and wacky neighbors. It has since bounced forward to different eras of TV as audiences (maybe) get closer to the truth of how the duo might actually be living in a The Stepford Wives version of suburbia — especially since, well, he’s dead.


Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in WandaVision

(Photo by Disney+)

WandaVision has been a hit with critics and audiences. The first season is Certified Fresh with a 93% Tomatometer rating and an 80% audience score.

But what do these design aesthetics all mean? How do they fit into the larger MCU story? To try to get to that, we talked to production designer Mark Worthington, who explained that the sets and dialogue aren’t supposed to be “exactly like any other sitcom set from the ’50s [or another era].” He said his hope, however, is that “it evokes that feeling.”

“It’s more about a sort of memory, in a certain way. What is our memory of those sitcoms? What, as an audience, what would help cue that?” he explained.

This is true for both the audience watching WandaVision who may spot similarities to programs they grew up watching either in real time or in reruns on channels like Nick At Nite and for a lot of the characters who have no choice but to follow orders not to change that channel.


Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in WANDAVISION

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

The sets are also meant to evoke the emotions of the story. An example: The third episode, entitled “Now in Color,” blasts Wanda and Vision into the 1970s and a The Brady Bunch–style ranch house, complete with wood paneling and a sunken living room. It may seem to be one of the happiest episodes because this is when Wanda and Vision welcome their twins.

“Obviously, the content of the episode drives that as well,” Worthington said. “It’s colorful, it’s very ’70s era, and, yeah, there’s this fun positive thing that happens in the episode. So all that tracks really well.”

But don’t get too distracted by the bright and shiny nostalgia. That episode also plays up the false domesticity of The Brady Bunch, with its fake, fenced-in lawn and happy homemaker lifestyle (aside from some screaming and a burst water pipe, Wanda continues early TV’s tradition of having one nice and tidy birthing moment and is right back to a size two with a flawless blow-out by credits’ end).

And, while many new mothers are protective of their young, Wanda is particularly careful of letting anyone get close. Neighbors Herb (David Payton) and Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) aren’t allowed to know she’s pregnant and have to secretly whisper to themselves about any bizarreness in the neighborhood. Geraldine (Teyonah Parris) pays the price for getting too close to a Wanda at a vulnerable moment and gets zapped far, far away. In the actual Brady Bunch show — as well as similar ones like The Partridge Family — the emphasis was on perfect, non-messy family values (the Brady kids didn’t even have a toilet) even though off screen, those kids were not so squeaky clean.


Elizabeth Olsen in WANDAVISION

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Then there are the clues — or possible clues? — hidden among sets and the costumes, which are designed by Mayes C. Rubeo, and other factors. In the Halloween-themed sixth episode, Wanda’s “soccer mom” take on a simple superhero costume is the shade of a mid-life-crisis red convertible with sharp horns and a cape — the character’s original 1964 X-Men comics look complete with Jack Kirby headgear (which she explains as a traditional Sokovian fortune teller’s outfit). Is this connected to her line that she seemed to conjure this world because she “made a deal with the devil”? And how does this connect to WandaVision’s family sitcom with the upcoming seemingly more action-packed titles like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? Judging by that show’s trailer, it will have more guns, flying and explosions than TV dinners and trick-or-treating.

“We have done Easter eggs,” Worthington said of ties back to the MCU grand plan.


Paul Bettany, Evan Peters and Elizabeth Olsen in WANDAVISION

(Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios)

Some of those Easter eggs identified by eagle-eyed viewers include:

• the first-ever MCU references to counterterrorism / intelligence agency  S.W.OR.D., which investigates extraterrestrial threats to Earth;

• a “Stark”-brand toaster; “Lagos” paper towels (to clean up Wanda’s bloody Sokovia mess?); and a nod to the midwife — a sentient cow named Bova — who delivered Wanda and her twin brother Pietro in Marvel comics;

• a commercial for a Strucker-brand watch — in the comics, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker experimented on Wanda and Pietro and is tied to terrorist organization HYDRA;

• the beekeeper uniform and multiple appearances of the hexagonal shape similar to the logo for dastardly scientific organization Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) founded by Strucker — the Mind Stone, which brought Vision to life, also has an elongated hexagonal shape;

• a commercial for “Hydra Soak” bath powder featuring the organization’s octopus logo;

• Pietro and everything related to Pietro: references to his death by Ultron, his “recasting” to the X-Men franchise’s Pietro/Quicksilver Evan Peters (rather than Age of Ultron’s Aaron Taylor-Johnson), his Halloween costume and hair (both reflecting the character’s Marvel comics origin), the Kick-Ass connection between Peters and Taylor-Johnson, and more.

Even the WandaVision home’s address, 2800, has meaning; specifically, referencing a multiverse Earth. And who’s going to appear in 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Wanda Maximoff, that’s who.

Worthington said that the Easter egg ideas have grown organically from the scripts or may have been brought in by himself or by longtime MCU prop master Russell Bobbitt, who is also the prop master on upcoming MCU shows The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Ms. Marvel, and Hawkeye.


Worthington knows something about managing audiences’ expectations. His credits include the two-part premiere of ABC’s Lost and several chapters of the FX anthology, American Horror Story. He said he did the first episode of CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery feeling like he “was definitely going to have a band of people with torches and pitchforks outside my house” if he didn’t do the franchise justice.

But he finds joy in seeing that “people make up their own versions of that and see things that we may not even have planned … that’s perfect valid,” he said. “Whether we absolutely plan everything or not is actually not really the point; [it’s] if the fans begin to create an idea out of that.”


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

binge dragons IFC Fantasy japan AMC Plus classics social media canceled TV shows Musicals 2018 21st Century Fox emmy awards Adult Swim PaleyFest RT21 royal family Pet Sematary Action Quiz PBS TCM Britbox Elton John Ovation Mary Poppins Returns Lifetime Christmas movies Cannes golden globe awards Logo Paramount Network comics slasher ABC Family young adult composers robots know your critic comic concert stand-up comedy Mary Tyler Moore TV movies remakes political drama zombies Film YA mission: impossible adventure festivals 2015 directors FX BET Awards TV renewals Amazon Prime Video Acorn TV crime thriller marvel comics E3 Summer Biopics Reality Competition The Academy WGN Kids & Family YouTube Premium a nightmare on elm street theme song rom-coms king arthur Toys zero dark thirty Esquire First Reviews TV Land indiana jones south america DGA Sony Pictures Martial Arts NBA documentary The Walt Disney Company anime wonder woman BBC America Comic-Con@Home 2021 streaming movies Disney+ Disney Plus Animation Pop TV rotten movies we love travel OneApp Netflix Christmas movies sequels YouTube Holiday mutant jamie lee curtis cops superhero renewed TV shows series Lionsgate razzies Image Comics based on movie HBO Go hollywood Heroines VOD venice comic books Black History Month stop motion sports MTV Hallmark Christmas movies Walt Disney Pictures olympics Amazon Studios game show foreign period drama Sneak Peek Television Critics Association HBO Max free movies Pop Fox News The Purge new star wars movies TruTV BET President DC Universe Hallmark adenture 93rd Oscars 45 Television Academy elevated horror facebook hist Comic Book screenings Cosplay Hulu Polls and Games LGBTQ quibi anthology Emmys high school christmas movies Awards Tour FX on Hulu TCA obituary trailers Neflix Apple TV Plus japanese New York Comic Con vs. CW Seed kong Hear Us Out ABC police drama miniseries First Look disaster godzilla San Diego Comic-Con spy thriller video on demand singing competition cartoon HBO golden globes Apple comic book movies doctor who vampires criterion TNT prank Awards TCA Awards Creative Arts Emmys Universal blockbuster 72 Emmy Awards X-Men Wes Anderson DirecTV toy story 007 docudrama festival Lifetime Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Western scary movies batman green book spider-man Travel Channel BAFTA rt labs SXSW Superheroe australia dramedy Oscars Super Bowl television dc what to watch historical drama hidden camera discovery CBS All Access Writers Guild of America GLAAD debate Tomatazos technology james bond Film Festival true crime Stephen King Spectrum Originals Fall TV justice league popular nbcuniversal werewolf Apple TV+ Tubi PlayStation critic resources spain Alien Teen scene in color mob screen actors guild Turner films live action reboot international Rocky Exclusive Video Pirates movie Reality scorecard pirates of the caribbean finale basketball target telelvision 4/20 video child's play italian Amazon Prime Columbia Pictures Showtime sitcom Trivia romantic comedy TLC dark Ghostbusters Star Wars NYCC dexter biopic WarnerMedia TV One tv talk nfl Broadway Comedy king kong cancelled TV shows Drama Christmas Countdown GoT feel good Bravo documentaries dogs Watching Series Freeform genre unscripted comic book movie sag awards Paramount Plus SDCC cancelled Turner Classic Movies spanish language Starz politics 2017 transformers Election FOX docuseries Pride Month cinemax streaming indie ABC Signature Spring TV BBC One IFC Films all-time Winners VICE Anna Paquin news rotten Ellie Kemper 73rd Emmy Awards dreamworks joker MSNBC Universal Pictures latino stoner serial killer BBC superman ViacomCBS revenge war thriller psychological thriller deadpool live event Set visit Extras Song of Ice and Fire Sundance lord of the rings Classic Film Mindy Kaling heist movie CMT comedies ghosts A&E E! worst Brie Larson DC Comics Superheroes comiccon name the review Schedule USA Network Best and Worst new zealand Sundance Now Peacock Binge Guide TIFF LGBT Tumblr Year in Review cooking Dark Horse Comics worst movies Valentine's Day Holidays black Disney Channel crime Disney Plus IMDb TV Music Chernobyl slashers Family Character Guide Women's History Month Amazon GIFs AMC Infographic 1990s 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards kaiju Disney Musical aliens space ESPN new york harry potter saw strong female leads medical drama NBC satire nature Shudder cancelled television animated posters Nominations cancelled TV series Marvel Television Marvel Cartoon Network Horror laika Epix toronto Mystery The CW 99% independent Certified Fresh History Emmy Nominations Interview versus women Video Games sequel The Witch Paramount book adaptation kids Food Network Avengers halloween tv cats supernatural Premiere Dates CBS RT History Masterpiece archives Box Office dceu TV Comics on TV movies jurassic park Fox Searchlight See It Skip It The Arrangement book Crunchyroll Funimation Instagram Live parents Captain marvel boxoffice Pacific Islander Nat Geo Tarantino Marathons cars psycho romance critics Tokyo Olympics spanish 2019 best 20th Century Fox witnail die hard mcc zombie Black Mirror Podcast casting FXX USA Country Crackle fresh Syfy Grammys Star Trek diversity A24 Netflix El Rey Mary poppins Thanksgiving Comedy Central Baby Yoda black comedy ID asian-american SundanceTV APB universal monsters Rocketman twilight football sopranos ITV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt mockumentary Sci-Fi TCA Winter 2020 richard e. Grant Winter TV blaxploitation The Walking Dead action-comedy OWN MCU Warner Bros. TCA 2017 franchise DC streaming service Red Carpet Sundance TV Rom-Com CNN spider-verse rt labs critics edition breaking bad suspense hispanic game of thrones Opinion halloween Legendary VH1 boxing hispanic heritage month 71st Emmy Awards french Endgame Arrowverse Pixar legend children's TV spinoff Calendar talk show rt archives ratings gangster Trophy Talk Academy Awards Shondaland art house Nickelodeon crossover Spike Rock award winner Lucasfilm marvel cinematic universe National Geographic TBS monster movies blockbusters Photos teaser 2021 science fiction Vudu Discovery Channel 2020 canceled Disney streaming service crime drama 2016 cults Trailer adaptation scary Mudbound chucky natural history aapi YouTube Red 90s biography 24 frames fast and furious Marvel Studios reviews American Society of Cinematographers