With the milestone series now wrapped, we look back on revelations that left fans deflated
Major spoilers below for all of Wandavision.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe's official debut television series, WandaVision, is probably my favorite entry in the entire franchise... for at least half of it. Even with the unenviable responsibility of kicking off phase four of the MCU (reported to consist of over 24 films and television programs), the show delivered a remarkably original premise and well-crafted presentation that stands on its own.
"Superhero" film and TV, particularly in the case of Marvel and Disney, has a reputation for being formula-driven, derivative, and "safe." Yet somehow, in explicitly imitating and referencing several of the largest television series in history, WandaVision managed to be unlike anything else.
As viewers followed Wanda's strange journey each week, the internet lit up with excited fan theories that pieced together clues, Easter eggs, and information from cast and crew interviews. The show's "mystery box" storytelling and staggered release meant that after each installment came a week of speculation over what would happen next.
Some of the more obvious nods to the comics inspiring WandaVision (House of M, The Visions, and others), like Agnes being the witch Agatha Harkness, were easy to predict for avid fans. But the show consistently threw curveballs at the audience, introducing new threads and hinting at character reveals in a seemingly deliberate attempt to throw us all off.
Well aware of how intense fan speculation had become, WandaVision director Matt Shakman spoke to Entertainment Weekly three days prior to the series finale release, saying, in part: "I know there are so many theories out there; there will be a lot of people who will no doubt be disappointed by one theory or another."
Shakman was accurate in his prediction that many of the answers to their burning questions fans received (and didn't receive) after the finale would leave them bummed out and even frustrated with the show.
So as part of our collective grieving process, we look back on some of the biggest fan theories that seemed entirely plausible but tragically missed the mark. Because as a wise sentient weapon once pondered, "What is grief, if not love persevering?"
1. Evan Peters' casting was nothing but a super "meta" [dick] joke.Evan Peters What GIF by Disney+ Giphy
When Evan Peters arrived in Westview at the end of Episode 5, the internet lost it's collective s**t. For those that don't know, Evan Peters played Quicksilver in the Fox studios X-Men film franchise. In the comics, Quicksilver is Wanda Maximoff's brother — a detail that Marvel found loopholes to include in their introduction of the Maximoff twins in Avengers: Age of Ultron. In that film, he was portrayed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and was killed off before the credits rolled.
Now that Disney and Marvel own the film rights to X-Men, everyone was certain that Evan Peters reprising his role of Quicksilver in WandaVision meant one thing: our first official X-Men, MCU crossover event, by way of magic and interdimensional travel.
As the episodes went on, fans became less certain that this version of Pietro Maximoff was intended to be a mutant pulled from the Fox Studios universe. Many, however, remained hopeful that he had some significant role. Why would you cast Evan Peters as Quicksilver in this show if it wasn't important? Just to screw with us? As some sort of lark?
In Episode 9, "The Series Finale," it's revealed that Evan Peters is simply playing a random dude from New Jersey under Agatha's spell. Adding insult to injury, the dude's name is Ralph Bohner (pronounced "boner"), reducing all fan speculation to a dick joke.
2. The surprise celebrity cameo Paul Bettany kept promising, was in fact, himself.
Take a bow, Paul BettanyGiphy
After Evan Peters appeared weeks ago in Episode 5, Paul Bettany (the Vision) began teasing in interviews that there was yet another major actor cameo coming. Bettany claimed that nobody on the internet had yet guessed the identity of this mystery actor, but promised it would be a shock to everyone.
"Truth is, of all of the characters we were trying to keep secret, a lot of them got out through leaks," he said. "There is one character that has not been revealed. And it is very exciting. It is an actor I've longed to work with all of my life. We have some amazing scenes together and I think the chemistry between us is extraordinary and fireworks on set." - Paul Bettany to Esquire
Then, in Episode 8's mid-credit scene, "White Vision," also played by Bettany, was revealed and fans started to sense a prank afoot. Perhaps this entire time, Bettany was actually talking about himself!
Well, yeah - on March 4th, Bettany admitted to Good Morning America that he had always been referring to himself.
You got us again, you son of a b*tch.
3. No Reed Richards or Fantastic Four
John Kraskinski looking for his name in the credits
Speaking of highly anticipated character appearances that failed to be, let's talk about Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. Since back in Episode 4, Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) mentioned, but never named, a secret aerospace engineer friend that could help her reenter the Westview anomaly. An aerospace engineer, eh? Sounds a bit like Reed Richards, AKA Mr. Fantastic.
But why would fans think WandaVision would introduce the Fantastic Four? There are two reasons, actually.
First, Marvel and Disney confirmed in December 2020 that a Fantastic Four film was coming in phase four.
Secondly, in Episode 4, SWORD Director Tyler Hayward tells Monica that their experimental space travel program was shut down after several astronauts went missing during "the blip." That sounds a heck of a lot like the origin story of the Fantastic Four.
To be fair, that last clue may, in time, turn out to be legitimate foreshadowing of the iconic Marvel quartet. However, we can now state definitively that none of them appear in WandaVision.
4. No Mephisto, not even a little.Giphy
Continuing our list of character fake-outs, we have Marvel's version of Satan, Mephisto. Sure, it would have been pretty odd for Disney to greenlight Satan as the "big bad" in their PG rated TV show. China certainly wouldn't be too keen on depictions of the devil in WandaVision.
But let's look at a few reasons fans were justified in expecting a Lucifer-level villain.
- The show is largely about witches and witchcraft, which are commonly associated with the devil in pop culture.
- Mephisto is the "big bad," even beyond Agatha, in the comics that inspired this series.
- Also in the comics, Wanda's children, Wiccan and Speed, are actually part of Mephisto's soul. In Episode 6, Pietro tells the kids "unleash hell, demon spawn." Come on!
- Agatha's subterranean lair in Westview is packed with all sorts of demonic imagery.
- The MCU closed the book on Thanos, and how do you top Thanos in phase four? Uh, maybe THE DEVIL?!
Alas, there is no Mephisto in WandaVision. Surely the franchise could still be building towards Mephisto as the big bad of phase four, but for better or worse, he ain't here folks.
5. Doctor Strange never shows up!
Doctor Strange confused at the rumorsGiphy
One of the earliest fan theories paraded throughout the internet as confirmed fact was that Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) would be appearing in WandaVision. Hell, it made a lot of sense given that his prime directive is protecting reality. One would think he would have been brought in by day two of Wanda's make-believe spree.
That logic, combined with confirmation from Kevin Feige that the events of WandaVision lead directly into the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness gave fans extra confidence that the MCU's favorite wizard would be saving the day.
Many observed that "multiverse of madness" spells "mom" - and a big chunk of WandaVision is dedicated to her becoming a mother and then letting go of her children.
Then in Episode 7's faux commercial break for Nexus, a fictional anti-depressant, the narrator instructs Wanda: "You should not take Nexus unless your doctor has cleared you to move on with your life."
While Doctor Strange never shows up, it is clear that the show is setting up Multiverse of Madness, in which Elizabeth Olsen is confirmed to play a large role. You can even hear Doctor Strange's music theme playing under the final post credit scene of WandaVision as she studies the dark arts.
6. The show just kind of forgot about Jimmy Woo's missing witness?
Jimmy Woo being bad at his jobGiphy
When FBI agent Jimmy Woo arrives outside Westview, it's for the express purpose of locating a missing witness from the FBI's Witness Protection Program. That detail seemed important at the time and of course led to tons of speculation as to the identity of that individual. Maybe they were the key to understanding what was happening to Wanda and to Westview!
Bizarrely, it seems like the show just forgot about that plot thread. Pending a series rewatch for clues, it's unclear this is ever resolved or even referenced in the final few episodes. Between missing astronauts and missing FBI witnesses, this show seems reluctant to tell us where or why these mystery people are.
7. Dottie was just some lady.
Dottie being judgmental.
After watching an in depth YouTube video by The Film Theorists on Dottie, I was thoroughly convinced she was a hidden third witch in Westview. Aside from all the visual clues tying her to a known comic book character, Dottie was explicitly set up in the first episodes as a suspicious authority figure in town.
"Dottie is the key to everything in this town," Agnes tells Wanda. "Her roses bloom under penalty of death."
Plus, Dottie is the first to confront Wanda aggressively. "I don't believe you," she snarls at Wanda menacingly when Wanda claims she comes in peace.
Witch or not, Dottie seemed much less under the Westview spell than all the other residents, excluding Agatha. But in the series finale, it's confirmed that she's just some lady, ticked off that Wanda put her and her family through this.
8. No Friends episode.
Not David Schwimmer
We've previously touched on the subject of Friends and why many late '90s era sitcoms about young adults living in the "big city" didn't fit WandaVisions plot or themes. Still, viewers were understandably disappointed when the series skipped perhaps the most universally beloved sitcom of the past 30 years.
The closest we got is this background character that suspiciously looks like David Schwimmer.
9. No Secret Bonus Episode
None of us are fine.Giphy
This entry made it on our list primarily because it's simply sad that the show is over. Weeks ago, rumors began swirling about a secret 10th episode when a few people working on the show had IMDb credits listed for WandaVision Episode 10. As much as we'd love this to be reality, it was most likely a typo. Episode 9, "The Series Finale" (released on Disney Plus on March 5th) is the definitive ending to WandaVision.
What else would you have included in our #WandaVision list? Let us know on twitter, @Popdust!