(Spoilers from Marvel Studios and Disney+’s WandaVision will be found below.)
Disney+ premiered WandaVision‘s first two episodes, which were a retro dream that conjured up visions of The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched. The leads were all-in on the vibe with Elizabeth Olsen gamely throwing herself into what’s (tragically) Wanda Maximoff’s fantasy world and Paul Bettany showing off his comic timing that’s too perfect for words; and then there’s Kathryn Hahn’s nosy neighbor, whose identity has probably been figured out by Marvel fans already. A reference to Vision’s so-called “indestructible head” will hit Infinity War viewers right in the feels, but we’re gonna jump past that right now to talk about those Easter Eggs, which are wrapped within the retro commercials that play around the halfway mark of each episode.
Those commercials feel like they’re drawn straight from Wanda’s memories, as if they’re intrusions into the perfect life in suburbia that she’d hope to craft (complete with a pregnancy, and I’m interested to see whether that development will follow the same path as the comics). Overall, these first two episodes were a nice departure from the action-heavy MCU (things got better with balance in terms of character dynamics as the Infinity Saga progressed, but the film where Wanda debuted, Age Of Ultron, was not a strong point). And clearly, Wanda cannot escape her past. Also, SWORD is apparently trying to communicate with her (we’ll talk about that later), but those retro commercials made direct references to Wanda’s traumatic origins (although it still feels like they’re not doing the comic book thing where she’s Magneto’s daughter). It’s sinister stuff, all wrapped up in shiny, sitcom exteriors. Ominous!
1. Stark Industries
This commercial for the “Toastmate 2000” is almost terrifying when one considers that this is the first flash of color that we see on WandaVision. Color seems to pop in as intrusions from reality rear their heads, and here, we receive a nod not only to the MCU at large but an unsettling utterance about this machine from Stark Industries: “Forget the past, this is your future.” The couple who appears in this commercial also pops up in the next one, and this could be a nod to the death of Wanda’s parents. Certainly, that red blinking light does nothing to discourage thoughts of a bomb, and that’s exactly how the parents of Wanda and Pietro died: via a Stark Industry missile attack on their home country of Sokovia. They ain’t just talking about toast here, and it’s bleak, for sure.
Wanda’s past as a HYDRA test subject comes back to haunt her here with this reference to Strücker, maker of this watch and another haunting slogan: “He’ll make time for you.” The HYDRA logo flashes into view, and again, the actors might be Wanda’s parents. This spot’s a reference to Baron Strücker, who we learn (in Age of Ultron) performed experiments on Wanda and Pietro. That’s also how she got her superpowers, and perhaps this commercial also hints that HYDRA has some future designs for her, too. It’s also worth remembering that Wanda’s powers were unlocked by the Scepter (which, of course, brings in the Mind Stone and Vision). We see her resulting powers (telekinesis, energy projection, and so on) used for humorous effect so far on WandaVision, but the good times can’t last too long with all these ominous hints already dropping into view.
Meanwhile, there’s those SWORD intrusions.
Those insistent, busting-into moments from reality into Wanda’s new world simply won’t stop. Between the radio calls, the helicopter (with a telltale logo), and the beekeeper (also logo-ing and freaking the couple out) who emerges from a manhole (Wanda’s “no” utterance was damn powerful), it’s clear that SWORD is trying to reach her, but she shuts it all out — for the time being. The acronym stands for the Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division, and WandaVision will bring the organization into live action, but it sources from the comics and relates to The X-Men, so maybe we’ll see some Magneto references and/or other mutant action after all. SWORD is likely where Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) — who will play the grown version of Captain Marvel‘s Monica Rambeau, who might become Captain Marvel one day — will come into play in the series. It might also have something to do with Randall Park’s FBI Agent (from Ant-Man and the Wasp), Jimmy Woo, who will also surface in the show.
All of the HYDRA and SWORD references drop plenty of hints on where this show might go, and overall (and in spite of those very long credits), it’s a promising start to Disney+’s first MCU TV series and Phase Four. Damn, it’s cool to see some fresh live-action Marvel Studios content again.
‘WandaVision’ will stream new episodes each Friday.