WandaVision made history as the first television series within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, produced by Marvel Studios and continuing events established in MCU films. Across nine episodes and 23 Emmy Award nominations last year, the show sets up the life Wanda sees for herself and Vision through the lens of multiple time periods.
To help plan shots, powers and effects in the show’s homage across the television sitcom for realization on an episodic schedule, The Third Floor (TTF) LA, guided by Director Matt Shakman and working closely with VFX Supervisor Tara DeMarco and show departments, visualized key scenes in pre-production and through post production.
One notable use of visualization was to depict the creatives’ ideas for Wanda’s magic and how it told a story. “There is a large effects element Wanda creates called the ‘Hex.’ It is a magical force field that represents Wanda’s conflict and plays a huge part of the ‘sitcom’ story,” stated Visualization Supervisor Patrick Haskew. “We worked together with the director and VFX team to visualize the Hex and how it would appear and function in several sequences.”
Another unique aspect in the show is the evolution of effects. Each episode takes place within a distinctive sitcom “era,” using the design and effects styles of that time. “For each sitcom era, the director wanted to use era-specific effects,” said Haskew. “That meant that both practical and CG effects would be created as if they were being done in that era. For the dinner party in Episode 1, they hung props from a string using techniques as if the action was shot in the 1950s. And so the previs needed to be designed in such a way so as to anticipate that the shots and the action that was happening would be realized with these techniques.” Other episodes recapture effects and techniques from the 1960s to the 80s, 90s and 2000s – Wanda’s magic is a poof of smoke in a Brady Bunch-esque episode set in the 70s, while episodes in the 90s and 2000 era bring in humor and drama through the quirky personalities of iconic characters.
Episode 2 ”Don’t Touch That Dial” frames the action in the 1960s, cueing on design themes and filming styles from the classic show Bewitched, with Wanda’s magic adding unique touches. “At a pivotal moment in the story, Wanda’s black-and-white TV sitcom world ‘blooms’ into the colorized sitcoms that followed,” said Suzanne Cipolletti, TTF’s visualization co-supervisor. “It was wonderful to work with the series creators as they developed this ‘color bloom’ moment to move the story and characters into the next classic TV era. Not only in Episode 2, but across all the episodes, the show’s visual effects added their own layer to enhance the storytelling.”
Stream WandaVision on Disney+.