With Marvel's theatrical output still waiting out the pandemic, we're about to get our first Marvel fix in over 17 months in Disney+'s WandaVision. The first-ever MCU television series, WandaVision promises to be something far quirkier than anything we've seen on the big screen. After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Wanda Maximoff and the Vision are living their idyllic suburban life together. Like, seriously idyllic. Black-and-white, The Donna Reed Show idyllic. And it only gets stranger from there, with the show placing Wanda and Vision in subsequent decades with their own sitcom tropes. Something is clearly amiss, and it probably has to do with Wanda's powers and whatever is happening post-Endgame, but time will tell.
A we've come to expect from a full-fledged MCU property, WandaVision boasts a top-notch cast, with the creators borrowing characters from different Marvel films, and welcoming new and exciting performers into the fold. So who's on hand for this particular adventure?
Introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Wanda and her twin brother Pietro had been taken from their native Sokovia, experimented on by Hydra, and ultimately given supernatural powers. Pietro, who was given super speed, was killed in Age of Ultron, but Wanda ended up joining the Avengers. Her powers include telekinesis and telepathy, bordering on a kind of magic, which is why she's known in the comics as Scarlet Witch (though she's never actually been referred to as such in the movies). As an Avenger, Wanda formed a close bond with Vision, and — somewhere in between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War — they fell in love. After Vision was killed in Infinity War, Wanda was snapped to dust by Thanos, but she returned in Avengers: Endgame to rain hell upon Thanos in revenge. Portaying her is Elizabeth Olsen, who moved out of the shadow of her more famous sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley, to star in such films as Martha Marcy May Marlene, Godzilla, and Ingrid Goes West.
In Age of Ultron, the "mind stone" infinity gem from Loki's scepter was inadvisably used by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner to complete Stark's "Ultron" project of artificially intelligent guardians for the planet. Unfortunately, Ultron became sentient, rebelled, and tried to destroy humanity. As part of that effort, Ultron tried to build a superior synthetic body to upload into, but the Avengers captured the body, melded it with Stark's J.A.R.V.I.S. system, popped the mind stone into his forehead, and Vision was born, powered with ability to shoot energy beams from the stone, phase out of physical form, fly, and so on. In Infinity War, the Avengers attempt to extract and destroy the mind stone before Thanos can do it himself, with Wanda ultimately, heartbreakingly having to kill Vision in order to do so. And then Thanos just reversed time and retrieved the stone himself, killing Vision again. Paul Bettany burst on the scene twenty years ago, starring in A Knight's Tale and A Beautiful Mind. He's also known for his roles in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Da Vinci Code, Legion, and prior to getting cast as Vision, playing the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. in the Iron Man films.
Agnes is the nosy neighbor living next door to Wanda and Vision, and since she's the only member of the main cast who doesn't seem to have any comic-book significance, we are only left to assume that she's up to something. Mostly because you don't cast the queen of Peak TV Kathryn Hahn just to have her show up every day looking to borrow a roasting pan. Hahn has had roles large and small, on TV shows like Parks and Recreation, Transparent, and Mrs. Fletcher, and films like Bad Moms and Private Life. In Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, Hahn voiced the character of Olivia Octavius.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe first saw Monica Rambeau as a 1990s kid in Captain Marvel, playing the daughter of Carol Danvers' best friend Maria. What wasn't depicted, though it was foreshadowed, was that Monica in the Marvel comics is a superhero and Avenger in her own right, eventually taking up the mantle of Captain Marvel herself. So when she shows up on Wanda and Vision's sitcommy doorstep not knowing why she's there, you can expect that there's much more to the story. Teyonah Parris is perhaps best known for her recurring role as Dawn Chambers on Mad Men, where she arrived in Season 5 as Don Draper's new secretary and the only Black employee at Sterling Cooper Draper Price. She's since starred in films like Spike Lee's Chi-Raq, Barry Jenkins's If Beale Street Could Talk, and the upcoming remake of Candyman (directed by Nia DaCosta, who as it happens will helm the next Captain Marvel movie).
Kat Dennings got her breakthrough role opposite Michael Cera in the 2008 romantic comedy Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist. Her other major role was starring for six seasons on the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls. Of course, she is perhaps best and most widely known for her role as… Darcy Lewis from the Thor movies. Darcy is the young intern for Jane Foster when Jane encounters Asgardian thunder god Thor, and she brings her sarcastic sidekick energy throughout both Thor and Thor: The Dark World, though she never crossed paths with either Wanda or the Vision in her MCU travels.
Randall Park starred for six seasons on the ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, played the recurring role of Governor Danny Chung on Veep, and has appeared in such films as Aquaman and Always Be My Maybe. On WandaVision, he reprises his role of FBI agent Jimmy Woo, which he originated in Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Playing two of Wanda and Vision's other neighbors are character actors Fred Melamed and Debra Jo Rupp. Melamed best known for films like the Coen brothers' A Serious Man and TV shows like Lady Dynamite. His distinctive voice has been put to use in countless announcer roles (a fact that was parodied in Lake Bell's comedy film In a World). Debra Jo Rupp, meanwhile, is best known for her role as Kitty Foreman on the long-running sitcom That '70s Show.
WandaVision drops on Disney+ January 15th.
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Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, The Herald Sun, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.