Imagine watching the first 30 minutes of Avengers: Endgame, pressing pause and then sitting down to interview the Russo Brothers. The only question to ask is, "Sooo... What happens next?!" That's sort of what it feels like talking to Jac Schaeffer, WandaVision's creator and head writer, with six of the nine episodes still to go.
Here's what we've seen so far: Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and a very much still alive Vision (Paul Bettany) are living a perfect sitcom life -- literally -- as they navigate dinner parties, talent shows and one seriously speedy pregnancy. All is not what it seems, however, with neighbors behaving increasingly bizarrely, the arrival of an ominous beekeeper and an organization called S.W.O.R.D. monitoring their every move. Episode 3, "Now in Color," ends with Wanda giving birth to twins, Billy and Tommy, and recalling the death of her own twin brother, Pietro. When Geraldine (aka Monica Rambeau, played by Teyonah Parris) suddenly remembers that Pietro was, in fact, killed by Ultron, Wanda magics her our of the home, flinging Geraldine through some sort of forcefield and into the real world.
Which begs about a billion questions: Is Wanda creating this sitcom reality, or is someone else controlling it? How is Vision back from the dead? Why doesn't Monica know who she is? How does S.W.O.R.D. factor into all of this? Will Kathryn Hahn's Agnes or another character reveal themself to be the villain, or is Wanda actually the show's big bad? And what the hell is going on with those commercials? The problem is, Schaeffer can't say much. "I just wish I could!" she exclaims over Zoom.
Following last Friday's episode, ET spoke with Schaeffer and asked her about the lack of post-credits scenes, introducing Monica Rambeau into the MCU and bringing back Pietro Maximoff -- at least in memory. Here's what she was able to say.
ET: I'm one of the people who's really enjoying the slow burn week-by-week rollout. That said, is this a puzzle where we're not going to see the full picture until that very last piece is put in place? Or will we know some answers before the finale?
Jac Schaeffer: I think that there is increasing amounts of satisfaction to be had as the show goes on. We want to keep interest throughout, but we don't want anyone getting bored and frustrated. I think that it's safe to say that questions will start to be answered soon.
I know everyone sat through the first episode's credits waiting for something. Did you ever consider post-credit scenes with each episode?
We looked at the show in a lot of different ways and a lot of different structural ways, but yeah. That's a tricky question and I'm having trouble dodging it. [Laughs]
My follow-up might be even harder then, because I don't know if I'll get a chance to talk to you again before the finale. To be prepared, should we sit through those final credits?
I would say that in any Marvel property, you should watch the thing in its entirety, no matter what. That's what I would say.
And they are beautiful credits. And the more episodes you watch, you're like, "Oh, that's the pavilion where they did the magic show. Oh, those are the butterflies from the nursery." There are new things to connect each time.
Aren't they so pretty, those credits? So pretty.
I need to talk to you about a moment from the last episode that everyone was talking about, which is Wanda bringing up Pietro and his death for the first time since Age of Ultron. What was the backstory for when, where and how that moment would come to be?
So, my approach with Wanda was to look at the entirety of the woman, right? All of herself and all of her experiences and all of her trauma, and losing Pietro is a big part of that and having been a twin is a big part of that. As far as the placement of it, that was a lot of the work in the writers' room, was when do we have these moments? When do we reveal things? When do we delve into authenticity? Because the sitcom stuff, there's the patina of the happy, false environment and the happy, false self a little bit, so it made sense to me in that moment for her to have some emotional honesty.
I always wished we could have gotten more of Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Pietro, so I have my fingers crossed that he'll pop up here. I obviously know you aren't going to tell me that, but now that he's been brought up, how much will Pietro's memory play into the series going forward?
It's so hard to answer these questions. They're very good questions. But again, it's about Wanda's internal life and what her experience is and what her feelings are. That's what we're going to explore.
Another thing that's been fun week-to-week is seeing the theories about the in-sitcom commercials. People think they might represent Wanda's traumas, some are predicting that the actors in them are Wanda and Pietro's parents. How close have you seen people getting to cracking that bit?
I actually haven't paid very close attention to the commercial speculation, because there's so much to look at. The commercials, people are very focused on the Easter eggs of it and the meaning of it, which is great and what I want. I want fans to be engaged in that way. But also, when I watched the shows, I'm reminded that it was a structural thing. When you watch a sitcom, commercial breaks are part of the rhythm of the show, so that sort of dip away and come back is actually very much part of the fabric of the sitcom aesthetic.
Fans connected the most recent commercial for Hydra Soak to an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which would be one of the few times the MCU has connected back to those Marvel shows. Was that an intentional connection? Are they sniffing in the right spots there?
This is where I'm going to talk about something entirely different. What can we talk about? [Laughs] It rained yesterday!
I have one more you're probably going to have to dodge, but I have to point-blank ask you. I know the series was inspired by Tom King's The Vision, among many other comic runs. We got that Grim Reaper Easter egg in episode 2, and in one of the featurettes, you're interviewed in a room that appeared to have Wonder Man concept art on the wall. Will Wonder Man and Grim Reaper be in this?
I am just going to take this opportunity to applaud you for your deep dives. You're a very close viewer and internet comber and that is great.
One of the things I'm very excited about and I know many, many people are excited about is that this series will introduce Monica Rambeau. Teyonah is a dream of a person. We've only seen Geraldine thus far. What was the most important part of Monica Rambeau as a character for you to capture?
You're correct. Teyonah is just luminous. She's such a fantastic talent and such a pleasure to watch and to be around. She's a lovely person. I was lucky enough to contribute to the Captain Marvel script, and that movie is so much about the strength of women. Maria's character is an incredibly strong single mother, and so for me, with Monica, it was a lot about doing service to that group of women and what they stand for and coming from a military family -- being women in the military early when it was very difficult -- so, it was a lot of that legacy that fed into the character of Monica and her internal mettle.
We know this series will connect with the next Spider-Man and Doctor Strange 2. During the writing process, are you working with Jon Watts and Sam Raimi and their teams, or do you write to your end and then pass it off and they pick up where you'd finished?
It's a little bit of both. I'm lucky enough to be in communication with some of those folks and to know a little bit of what's going on. It's not my job to oversee how all of those things interconnect, but I'm told and led in on the things that I need to know to make sure it all adds up.
New episodes of WandaVision stream Fridays on Disney+.