WandaVision’s writer reveals the show almost explored xenophobia, in a story arc where Wanda would face discrimination for her Sokovian background.
WandaVision’s head writer and executive producer, Jac Schaeffer, has revealed that she originally intended for the show to explore xenophobia. WandaVision began streaming on Disney+ on January 15, 2021, and was the first miniseries of MCU’s Phase 4. The series performed exceptionally well, due to the stellar performances of Elizabeth Olson as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany as Vision.
The series gives viewers the continuation of Wanda and Vision’s stories after the tragic events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, and also effectively set the stage for phase 4’s exploration of the multiverse. However, the series was not just strategically strong in the sequence of MCU events, but it was also an emotionally powerful series. The series allowed us to follow Wanda’s progression through the stages of grief and spoke subtly of the ways we cope with trauma and can unintentionally hurt others in our refusal to accept. However, it seems there was another powerful message that was almost included in the series as well.
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In an interview with Rolling Stone, Schaeffer revealed an original xenophobia plotline that almost made it into WandaVision. Schaeffer pointed out that xenophobia was a recurring theme in many of the older comic books and, thus, had the idea to explore it with the series. The theme would naturally present itself because Wanda is originally from another country – Sokovia. The pitch suggested that Wanda’s Sokovian heritage, and the fact that Vision is a robot, would cause some conflict between them and their neighbors. When things start going awry, the neighbors would become increasingly aggressive and chase Wanda and Vision out of town. Read Schaeffer’s statement below:
That idea was in my original pitch, but it was far too literal. In the beginning, we were thinking we would explore the issue of xenophobia, which is very present in some of the older comics. So the mechanism that would propel them into the next episode was a little bit more dramatic, almost cataclysmic. There’s the couple in the comics that make their lives kind of hard; they’re neighbors who like them because he’s a robot, and she’s Sokovian. And so the world would kind of fall apart, and those people would turn a little bit aggressive, and Wanda and Vision would be chased out of town. So the idea of “it’s not going her way, and that’s why she moves forward,” was far more literalized in the beginning. And then it became increasingly subtle and creepier and more based in psychological horror as we moved forward.
The story arc that Schaeffer presents is interesting and also easily could have fit into the context of the show. In the series, we see the town turning against Wanda when they recognize her control of them, but the xenophobia plot seemingly would have had Wanda and Vision being dramatically chased from town and blamed for the events because of where they come from. As Schaeffer acknowledges, the xenophobia plotline would have been very literal, but in the finished series we do, indeed, still see a repeated subtle acknowledgement that Wanda and Vision are different – she is a witch and he is a robot, they struggle to fit in with their neighbors and co-workers, and the typical suburban dream simply doesn’t work for them. Unfortunately, the xenophobia plot wouldn’t have fit well with the psychological horror feel of the series, hence why it didn’t quite make it into the finished product.
While it didn’t make the final cut, Schaeffer’s original idea is quite compelling, and it wouldn’t have been the first Marvel storyline to touch on deeper issues. It may have been reminiscent of Marvel’s Black Panther, which did a fantastic job of celebrating Black history and touching on the debate between violent revolution and peaceful revolution. The X-Men film series and Guardians of the Galaxy, too, have touched on the discrimination that individuals who are different face and the importance of acceptance. These examples, along with Schaeffer’s proposed WandaVision storyline, shows that the creators and producers of the MCU are weighing ideas to incorporate current events and themes into their shows. Marvel has an enormous audience and platform to speak on various issues, and it is intriguing to peak into the seriousness with which writers weigh their opportunities to incorporate these events.
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Source: Rolling Stone
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