‘WandaVision’ Head Writer Jac Schaeffer Gives Us the Ultimate Guide to What Happened in Westview & Beyond
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for WandaVision‘s Season 1, Finale, “The Series Finale.”]
One of this year’s biggest TV shows came to an explosive conclusion on March 5 when fans finally learned the outcome of Disney+’s Marvel superhero drama, WandaVision.
Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) officially became the Scarlet Witch (with an amazing ensemble to boot!) after a magic-fueled battle against witch Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn). Unfortunately, she did have to let go of her not-so-real family, hubby Vision (Paul Bettany), and their two powerful sons (maybe). The hex Wanda projected over the town of Westview, New Jersey, during a dangerous exploration of her grief is gone. Newly superpowered Monica (Teyonah Parris) has an out-of-this-world mission. And we even learned the true identity of Pietro (Evan Peters) — ahem, “Fietro.”
But many questions remain. So TV Insider turned to head writer Jac Schaeffer who, we are grateful to say, gave us a detailed look at everything we still need to know (well, almost everything).
First, how did you decide what you absolutely had to tie up in the finale, and what could remain more open-ended?
Jac Schaeffer: The emotional side of it was always the primary focus — the story of Wanda and Vision and their family. So, we always knew that that’s where that would land, and that she would have to say goodbye, reach acceptance, and process her grief, and that she would have to surrender the kids along with that.
The finale was the hardest one to write. It’s the most rewritten because of the Marvel-nous of it and because of the technical side of these battles, and what’s possible. And then there’s also the chessboard of it. Where are all the characters at a given time and what’s their agenda, everybody needs a moment — that was on and on and on. As that evolved, it was a constant conversation with Marvel about how these stories continue on and where do we need to land for that.
In terms of the chessboard, there’s this one shot in the finale where you’re outside and then there’s this pullback to see Monica with Pietro in his mancave, which just immediately grounds you as to where you are.
That shot was on the page, and there was a moment where they were going to put them in the basement, and I was like, “But what about the shot!’
So, was the WandaVision show that Darcy (Kat Dennings) discovers and S.W.O.R.D. is watching just a byproduct of the hex? Why would Wanda broadcast it if she just wanted to be left alone?
We had so many conversations in the writers’ room, and there were scenes written where there was more theorizing … so that we realized we didn’t need that much. But if you’re asking me, I can tell you, and there were scenes written speaking to this — I think that Wanda was looking for a witness. I think the crafting of the show is part of her curating the experience. She’s making something beautiful as evidence, right? I think that’s psychologically what’s going on.
But then, to send it out into the world, and again, I think all of this is subconscious, sending it out into the world is an element of a cry for help. There’s an element of somebody going, “Look and bear witness to what I’m enduring.” And that was a conversation about Monica [too]. She’s the witness, essentially. She’s the one who receives and understands and acts accordingly.
Speaking of Monica, we know that she gains her powers, or ignites them, by going in and out of the hex. Should we assume that she’s the only one affected in that way, besides, of course, the emotional and mental turmoil that all of the Westview citizens will be dealing with?
I think we’ll have to wait and see about that.
With Wanda being an Avenger, I think viewers tend to think of her primarily as a hero. So her decision to tuck Agatha away in Westview was a bit of a shock. Where is Agatha now that the hex is gone, and why did Wanda make this decision for her?
I think Agatha’s in Westview, knitting macramé or whatever because that’s what Wanda wants and put into play.
But I agree with you, there’s something nasty in that. And I love it. We have this notion that superheroes are good through and through, and I don’t think they are. Wanda is inherently selfish, and I don’t judge her for that. Given her life, how could she not be? She can be spiteful and cruel and functions on an anger thread. She has no twinge of conscience to lock-up this woman exactly where she doesn’t want to be and how she doesn’t want to be.
I also believe, and we talked about this a lot with Katherine and Lizzie, the relationship between Wanda and Agatha is very complicated. There’s antagonism, that’s how it’s set up. But if you look at every scene between the two of them there’s an exchange; there’s mentorship; there’s friendship; and there’s a sister bond. I like to think that on some level Wanda wants to keep her on ice, just in case.
The Vision vs. White Vision battle being solved by an ancient paradox was so incredibly fun. How did that come about?
Ultimately, there could never be a winner or loser. It could just go on forever and ever, like at the end of WarGames. So, we realized the only way to resolve this is a logic battle. And how perfect is that for two Visions to have to resolve the conflict using their intellect? We knew that it would need to be some argument about fundamental self, and it was [staff writer] Megan McDonnell, who was in the room and now is a writer for Captain Marvel 2, she stumbled upon this Ship of Theseus thing. She had to explain it to us like eight times.
It seemed so fitting for Vision’s character to have this scene and it was Matt’s [Shakman, director] idea to have it in the library with them spinning around, which was so beautiful with the fluttering of pages — all of that was so great. And then we just found out a few days ago that the Ship of Theseus is in the comics! Which, wow. Like, more than anything in my career — time is a flat circle. It’s crazy.
How would you describe Wanda’s mental state by the end of the show when we see her astral projecting and making tea. Where’s she at, mentally?
My assessment of it is that there has been healing and she has reached a level of acceptance of everything that has transpired with Vision. She has integrated her trauma in a way that has given her peace. However, I also think that she has fully stepped into her power and that she’s feeling very confident and very invincible, which is a little bit dangerous. Her life has been about so much self-doubt and so much denial of all things. Denial about what’s happened to her, but also a denial of her essential power. So, I love it for her that she’s embodying it fully. But we all know the saying, “With great power…”
Can you say whether WandaVision or any of the stories within it will continue in any way?
I don’t know, and I just think what’s so exciting is that we get to see Wanda in Strange 2 [Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, 2022]. That’s about as exciting of a continuation as you can get. We’ll see.
WandaVision is available to stream in full on Disney+.