Marvel Studios WandaVision is their first venture into the world of sitcoms. For over ten years we have seen our favorite Marvel characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the big screen fighting threats like Thanos. Now in WandaVision, we will see a few of them deal with more serious threats like dinner with the Vision’s boss. As well as the local talent show. Plotlines that would have been common in a 1950s sitcom. As we have already talked about in a previous piece, the series is not a parody of a sitcom, but a genuine MCU sitcom.
To make sure they were authentic, they made sure to add a classic component that the MCU veteran actor and actress were not accustomed to, a live studio audience. The filmmakers decided to shoot the first episode this way to bring genuine laughter like the classic shows. This was something that actress Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Wanda Maximoff said was challenging for her during a press conference over the weekend ahead of the release of WandaVision. She was quite relieved when they once again added the fourth wall. But that she still had a lot of fun with it.
Her co-star Paul Bettany, who plays Vision, also made some remarks about the live studio audience in WandaVision. “You can’t help yourself when there are people there—you want them to hear it and laugh at it. It makes it all a little bigger. And that, I think, captured the style of the ’50s. It was a brilliant decision.”
“I was really nervous,” Bettany continues. “We rehearsed it very thoroughly, and every member of the crew was dressed in [1950s] costumes. Everybody really got into the spirit of it. And then the audience came in, and we just went for it. We jumped into the abyss. I just loved it. I should’ve been on a sitcom all these years.”
Director Matt Shakman for the series also talked about the effect of a live studio audience on the actors’ performances. “It’s amazing when you put actors in front of a live audience, how much that material jumps when the adrenaline, the excitement, the communication is happening between the actor and the audience. It elevates the material, and it becomes much more like a play. That was a huge part of what we captured in episode one—that spark, that kind of lightning in a bottle.”
WandaVision is a fantastic homage to classic sitcoms. But it also stays true to it’s MCU roots. Part of it of course is the live studio laughter that we have seen in so many sitcoms growing up. I feel that after so many films, this was a way to pay respects to television shows as Marvel Studios starts releasing series on Disney+.
Marvel Studios’ WandaVision premieres exclusively on Disney+ on January 15th, 2021.