WandaVision: All The Clues, Easter Eggs, And Ominous MCU Call-Backs In Episodes 1 And 2
HYDRA, SWORD, and Baron Strucker all have a place in the retro-sitcom surrealism of the MCU Phase 4's first TV show.
After a full year of vacation from the MCU, Phase 4 is finally here--and it's really weird. WandaVision, the first Marvel TV show to hit the Disney+ streaming service, has dropped its first two episodes, introducing us to the inexplicably screwball, completely bizarre, undeniably retro world of, well, Wanda and Vision.
What the show doesn't have, however, is much context. The first two episodes give us nothing in terms of answers for how either of them wound up in this place, why Vision is alive, what's real and what's fake, or what it all means in the bigger picture. These are pretty big questions to have hanging when you consider that, last we checked, Vision was dead and Wanda had just finished fighting Thanos.
Still, while we may be light on solutions to the show's many mysteries, we do have an abundance of clues. From references and nods to real-life TV history that may or may not be setting the stage for a big reveal to call-backs to MCU lore you may have forgotten about entirely, WandaVision is jam-packed with breadcrumbs. Now we just have to figure out where they're all leading.
What are your theories after the first two episodes? Share them in the comments below.
Anyone who's spent a significant part of their childhood watching old reruns of shows like I Dream Of Jeannie, Bewitched, or I Love Lucy will recognize the artifice and style of the first two episodes immediately--this is lovingly recreated '50s and '60s pop culture, right down to the laugh track.
Vision's business attire
The symbol on Vision's tie is loosely borrowed from the version of the character that appeared in King and Walta's Vision comics where, dressed as a regular human businessman, Vis would wear a tie clip to emulate the diamond pattern on his chest.
Incapable of forgetting
This moment is played as a gag but it's a bit more sinister when you consider that yes, Vision should absolutely be "incapable of forgetting" yet somehow seems to have forgotten his own death. Maybe this isn't really Vision after all.
Kathryn Hahn's Agnes is a new character for the MCU but it's likely that she's either heavily borrowing from, or simply a new incarnation of Agatha Harkness, a witch who helped train Wanda's magic back in the '70s and '80s--she was dressed as a witch in one of the early trailers and seems to have a vested interest in the goings on of Westview. Could be a coincidence, could be something more.
The Coasters' song Yakety Yak was released in 1958, giving us a more solid timestamp for the era of the first episode.
By Stark Industries
Of course, we get a commercial break--this is a sitcom after all--but this one's advertising something a bit unusual. This toaster is made "by Stark Industries" and, in addition to preparing all your food, is urging you to "forget your past, this is your future." It even sounds like a signature Iron Man repulsor blast being charged up when the lever is pressed down.
Now, it may seem comforting at first--Stark Industries is one of the good guys, right? It might be worthwhile to pause and remember just how many times Stark tech has fallen into the wrong hands or been used for nefarious purposes.
It's easy to forget some of the finer points of Wanda's MCU origin story, but she is indeed "European." She and Pietro are Sokovian, which put them in the crosshairs of multiple catastrophic events across Age of Ultron and Civil War.
Hey, we're in the '50s for this episode, meaning the Cold War is still very much at the forefront of everyone's mind. The Bolsheviks were a Russian political party founded by Vladimir Lenin and Alexander Bogdanov.
Episode 1 closes with a mysterious, faceless observer watching WandaVision the "show" in what looks like a surveillance van--jotting down notes on a pad with the logo of SWORD on the cover.
SWORD has been a bit of a conspiracy theory in the MCU since the stinger of Spider-Man: Far From Home revealed that Nick Fury has in fact been up in space working with the Skrulls, presumably as a replacement for SHIELD. In the comics, SWORD stands for "Sentient World Observation and Response Department" and is based in a spaceship.
This episode confirms that SWORD is indeed a part of the MCU and is either invested in figuring out what's happening with Wanda--or, potentially, the group behind the sitcom world, pulling the strings.
Vis and Wanda's separate twin-sized beds are another relic of sitcom history--back in the '50s and '60s, network censors deemed couples sharing beds or blankets "inappropriate." One of the most famous examples of a married couple with two beds was Lucy and Desi throughout the entire run of I Love Lucy.
Obviously things shift around a bit here as Wanda uses her magic to course correct--the (very PG) implied sex scene would have never flown back in the day.
During the animated intro, you can see a sign for "Bova Milk" at the supermarket. Bova was a humanoid cow creature that helped raise Wanda and Pietro in the comics.
New episode, new house
Wanda and Vision's house is completely different this episode--though they don't seem to notice.
The toy helicopter is painted like Stark's Iron Man armor and emblazoned with the SWORD logo.
Though she gives her name as Geraldine, this is Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau--the adult version of the child from Captain Marvel. Why is she here, and why does she give a fake name?
Help Me, Rhonda
The Beach Boys' Help Me, Rhonda debuted in 1965--also "Rhonda" sure sounds like "Wanda," doesn't it? But why does it seem to affect "Dottie" as well?
"For the children"
The cult-like chanting of the fundraiser being "for the children" definitely seems out of place enough to catch notice--but its placement and the context is a bit confusing. In the comics, Wanda featured heavily in an event called The Children's Crusade, which featured her son, Billy, trying to gain control over his own reality warping abilities by seeking a missing Wanda out.
It certainly seems like there are people trying to track Wanda down in this show--but we don't know why or to what end.
A blast from the Age of Ultron past, Baron Strucker--seen here in, uh, designer timepiece form--was a HYDRA agent responsible for experimenting on Wanda and Pietro. He was killed by Ultron in his prison cell and largely forgotten. You can even see the HYDRA skull octopus on the watch face. The question is why?
Where's Mr. Hart?
Interestingly enough, while the very excitable Mrs. Hart is in attendance at the fundraiser, Mr. Hart seems conspicuously absent.
If there were any doubts at all about whether or not this "reality" is weird, Wanda is pregnant in an instant--which, believe it or not, is actually very much in line with what happens in the comics--sort of. Despite having two kids who go on to be in the Young Avengers, Wanda has never actually had a traditional pregnancy, instead relying on all sorts of weird magical junk, from soul fragments to demonic influence, to help her have children.
The stranger crawling out of the sewer grate dressed as a bee keeper has the SWORD logo on the back of their suit--before Wanda simply rewinds reality and removes them entirely, of course. Weirdly, in the comics, "beekeeper" iconography is typically reserved for the villainous organization AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) foot soldiers, largely because their uniforms resemble the same silhouettes.
Welcome to Technicolor
If you hadn't already caught on, it would seem that we're going to be hopscotching through TV history as the show progresses. We started episode 1 in the I Love Lucy-inspired '50s, spent episode 2 in the '60s, and at the end of the episode, round things out by heading into the '70s, with an aspect ratio change and the move to full color.
If we continue at this clip and with this pattern, we can expect episode 3 to flesh out the '70s, 4 to start edging into the '80s, 5 to be around the '90s, 6 to be in the '00s, and 7 to be in the '10s, leaving 8 and 9 to, hypothetically, close out in the modern era.