WandaVision Writer On Making MCU Movies Vs. TV Shows

WandaVision head writer Jac Schaeffer talks to GameSpot about creating Marvel Studios' first TV show, not going overboard with Easter eggs, and more.

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When Jac Schaeffer sat down to begin writing WandaVision, Marvel Studios' first Disney+ TV show, she already had plenty of experience in the universe. As a co-writer of Captain Marvel and the writer of the upcoming Black Widow, she's firmly entrenched in the MCU. It was, however, her first outing as a TV writer, which highlighted some interesting differences in the process.

"It's very lonely to write a feature by yourself," Schaeffer told GameSpot. "It's fun because, you know, if you're the only one working on it through to the end, then you get all the credit. And that's really nice. And you can sort of pat yourself on the shoulder for your discoveries."

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With WandaVision, though, she worked with a team of writers to help craft the episodes, which only made for a better experience. "When you do it in a group, all of the victories are that much more exciting and the failures are kind of cushioned a little bit. Because you're in it together," Schaeffer explained.

It also changed her approach to writing. With a film, you're telling one story designed to be watched in a single sitting. WandaVision, on the other hand, is nine episodes released weekly. So, in addition to the overall story arc, Schaeffer explained, "I had big moments for every episode that I knew was where I wanted to land each episode and we sort of worked backward from there."

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It also changed her approach to writing. With a film, you're telling one story designed to be watched in a single sitting. WandaVision, on the other hand, is nine episodes released weekly. So, in addition to the overall story arc, Schaeffer explained, "I had big moments for every episode that I knew was where I wanted to land each episode and we sort of worked backward from there."

And unlike her previous work in the MCU--and everything else Marvel Studios has done before--WandaVision isn't a single type of show or movie. Instead, it's a mixture of several different eras of sitcoms, with an epic Marvel story bubbling just below the surface.

For most, burying that massive comic book-flavored mystery underneath a lot of dated comedy tropes might seem like a challenge. For Schaeffer, however, WandaVision's premise is why the show works.

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"It was my philosophy that the more we dug into the sitcom part of the show, the more the mystery pieces would land," she said. "So that sort of dictated how much early on in the series the mystery in the MCU peeks out, in order for that to feel spooky and satisfying and weird and emotional--all those weird feelings that you want the audience to have."

Of course, it's still a Marvel Studios project, with many of the trademarks fans have come to expect--deep dive comic book references, plenty of Easter eggs, and lots of threads to tie it to other projects in the MCU. And Shaefer will be the first to admit the strong pull to wanting to also embed plenty of nods to classic sitcoms. After all, not only have the first three episodes taken inspiration from the likes of Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, and I Dream of Jeannie. And WandaVision also has sitcom royalty involved. Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda) is the sister of twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen of Full House fame, while series director Matt Shakman starred on a late-'80s sitcom called Just the 10 of Us.

Thankfully, between Schaeffer, her producing partner Mary Livanos, and Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige, they know not to get too buried in the weeds when it comes to Easter eggs and references.

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"The temptation is very strong. Kevin is the sort of ultimate decision maker on that kind of thing and he really has a light touch with that kind of thing," the writer said. "And there were occasionally ideas that especially my producer, Mary Livanos, and I would get really jazzed about something that we thought was especially clever and we were so pleased with ourselves, and Kevin would be the one to be like, 'That's that goes too far. That's too much. That's too cute.'"

While on the surface, it's hard to argue against any Easter egg or reference that could be thrown in, Schaeffer and the rest of the WandaVision team believe going too far overboard would simply muddle what the show is trying to accomplish. "We all agreed that we wanted the sitcoms to really stand on their own and to be entertaining and satisfying," she said. "And if we got too cute, we would sink ourselves."

Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't any sitcom Easter eggs. After all, we know a reference to Full House is on the way.

New episodes of WandaVision air Fridays on Disney+.

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