WandaVision comes to an end this Friday and fans across the globe are sat with bated breath to find out what happens to the Scarlet Witch and her strange little family.
Will Vision survive his resurrection? What will happen to the twins if they leave the hex? Who is Agatha’s offscreen husband Ralph and will we ever get to see him? So many questions and only 40 minutes to answer them all.
Well, we spoke to one man who knows the answers to these questions, and much, much more. No, we didn’t somehow commune with Mephisto, we zoomed Matt Shakman the director and executive producer behind the brilliant WandaVision.
UNILAD: Let’s start with an easy one were you a fan of the MCU before you took the job on WandaVision?
Matt Shakman: Absolutely I was on the front row, on the first day of Iron Man and I haven’t missed one since and I’m a Marvel fan going back to the comics as a kid.
UNILAD: SO how did you feel when you found out you’d got the job and could play in the MCU sandbox?
Matt Shakman: Incredible it really is the job of a lifetime for so many reasons.
One because I love Marvel Studios but two because I was a child actor on sitcoms and that element of the show felt strangely connected to my own personal experience.
Then as a director, I get to play around with all the different things I’ve done on separate episodes. I do comedies, I do drama, I do action and spectacle so to do all those things in one show rally is the job of a lifetime.
UNILAD: We spoke to Jess Hall your cinematographer on WandaVision last week and he was telling us that balancing the show’s multiple tones and genres was a challenge at first, how did you approach the shifting genres?
Matt Shakman: Oh yeah tone is one of the biggest challenges for this show.
It’s been the greatest, most satisfying part of it as well because navigating those quick turns is a real challenge so we approached it through cinematography, through production design, the actors were very in tune with it.
We studied old sitcoms so we could understand how comedy felt in that time, so we could see what acting was like at the time, so all of us were working together to make those subtle turns happen.
So that turn at the end of episode one, into The Twilight Zone is partly done through Jess’s lighting and lensing, all of a sudden we switch from sitcom shooting to being at the table with them in more of a cinematic way, we’re pushing in on characters in a way you wouldn’t normally see in I Love Lucy but you would in The Twilight Zone.
It’s also in the performance Lizzie is shifting effortlessly from I Love Lucy and Dick Van Dyke mode into something that’s more about psychological horror and trauma. It’s a dance for all the departments to get that to work.
UNILAD: You’ve touched on the first episode, we’ve got the last episode coming on Friday. I know Marvel snipers are all about ready to take you out if you let slip a spoiler but what can fans expect from the last episode?
Matt Shakman: I hope they’re satisfied with the journey. My goal always is that a finale is surprising and inevitable, you never want to feel like you’ve taken a quick turn off in a completely new direction, you want to feel like you’ve been building towards something, but it also has to be surprising and emotionally connected to everything that we’ve been talking about.
UNILAD: Speaking of surprises, we’ve had more than a few surprises during WandaVision, most notably Evan Peter’s appearance as Quicksilver, were you expecting the reaction that his appearance got?
Matt Shakman: Well, we were very surprised at the enormous reaction, very satisfied. We knew we were going for that kind of reaction.
We didn’t know though ultimately what that reaction would be. There were a few leaks leading up to it which was unfortunate because I would have liked that to be a true surprise for everyone. But we were thrilled with the creation.
UNILAD: You must know that fans pour over every line in this show. The aerospace engineer line, that set people’s imaginations off with multiple fan theories about who it could be. Do you like putting those teases in the show because you know it’s going to get the fanbase going?
Matt Shakman: In that case, honestly, no! This was about making an arrangement with a colleague to get a rover to WestView so I was pleasantly surprised by the level of dialogue that came out of that from the fans.
Yes though there are other examples of us leaving bits and pieces of evidence because it’s a mystery box and a puzzle and we’re trying to tell a story people can puzzle out.
UNILAD: Let’s talk a little about Agatha and Kathyrn Hahn, can you tell us what it was like working with her to bring the character to life?
Matt Shakman: Kathryn Hahn is the best, she is a national and now international treasure. She is the only amazing actor, that I know of, who has gone ahead of the Weeknd and Justin Bieber on the iTunes charts here in the US. It was amazing to watch It Was Agatha All Along move up the charts.
She’s a phenomenon she can do anything she can do drama, comedy, anything in between. She was exactly the kind of actor we knew we needed to have for this part.
The same’s true of Lizzie and Paul and Teyonah as well, we needed actors capable of jumping between tone and style because the show is going to demand a lot of them but Kathyrn, yeah boy she’s a treasure and a wonderful person.
UNILAD: Paul Bettany’s mentioned an upcoming cameo and I feel everyone’s obsessed with this cameo now. I have to ask, is the cameo just White Vision?
Matt Shakman: I’ll let Paul answer that question, he’s the one who started this so he can answer it.
UNILAD: We knew you’d say that! In the last episode, we moved away from the fun sitcom, superhero side of the show and focused instead on Wanda’s grief and explored her trauma what was it like working on that episode?
Matt Shakman: The story of episode 8 is the story of the whole show, it is the trauma she’s gone through, the loss she’s experienced, that’s the engine behind the entire show.
It created the hex, the reality she made to escape the loss, it’s behind everything you’ve seen up to that moment, and it’s what makes everything that’s come before it work because it has this incredibly strong emotional throughline. This entire show is about someone trying to deal with their grief.
UNILAD: Finally, we have the finale on Friday, how relieved are you going to be after the episode airs not to accidentally leak a spoiler?
Matt Shakman: I’m excited, I hope that folks really enjoy the run and feel satisfied. It’s been the job of a lifetime and a thrill to see people respond so positively to the show, so I’m excited for them to see the last one.
New episodes of WandaVision stream exclusively on Disney+ every Friday.
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