It would appear that even a prophesied Chaos magic-wielding being isn’t capable of escaping the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marvel’s WandaVision just wrapped up its ninth and final episode this past Friday, but nine episodes had not been the original plan for this series. Speaking on Kevin Smith’s Fatman Beyond podcast, WandaVision director Matt Shakman revealed that the hit Marvel limited series was originally supposed to be ten episodes long, confirming rumours from a few months ago that there was supposed to be more.
According to Shakman, they initially toyed with the decision to drop an episode early on for creative reasons.
Well, yeah, things were constantly changing and getting rebroken. the story was changing, especially a lot of the real-world stuff and the finale. There was a lot of experimentation going on and sort of trying different things out. we also at one point had 10 episodes planned and we ended up collapsing a couple, you know just to make the rhythm feel a little bit better.
That decision was then basically made for them after the pandemic shut down production for a bit.
Once we wrapped in Atlanta the pandemic hit and we ended up having months off so then further changes during that we were doing post-production and then ideas would come up and little changes would happen as a result.
In the end, they simply didn’t have enough time left. With work on the ninth episode having been completed just two weeks before it aired, there would have been no way they would have finished ten episodes in time. And even what made it into those nine episodes got cut.
If you felt like the whole subplot of fake Pietro aka Ralph Bohner capturing Monica Rambeau felt a little undercooked, or that everybody’s favourite new duo of FBI Agent Jimmy Woo and scientist Darcy Lewis didn’t have much to do, it’s because you’re right. Originally, there was a story arc of Monica meeting up with Jimmy and Darcy in Westview, and also Ralph and Wanda’s kids sneaking into Agatha’s basement to try to steal the Darkhold. The scene would have also had the revelation that Agatha’s bunny Scratchy was actually a demon, complete with magical transformation. Principal photography on these scenes was completed, but all of that required post-production VFX work that the team simply did not have time to do (Shakman even admits that some of the VFX that made it into the finale ended up looking awkward), so the scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.
And all of this even changed how WandaVision was released. The show debuted with two episodes releasing at once before switching to weekly release, but it was supposed to be the first three episodes that debuted together on Disney+. Watching the show, this makes perfect sense as these three episodes form a sort of mini-arc and its the revelations at end of episode three that really sells the audience that something weird is going on in Westview. US press who had early access to the show even got the first three episodes in their preview packs. The problem was that if Marvel released three episodes on day one, they would have had one fewer episode for the weekly release schedule without that tenth episode, which they no longer had the time to do.
You can check out Shakman talking more about the production issues in the full embedded video below. He also chats about how he ended up directing the entire show (he had actually met with Marvel to pitch a movie, though he doesn’t say what), how they studied various sitcoms and shot in front of a live studio audience, and how WandaVision stayed true to the personal story about grief that it wanted to tell instead of chasing big Marvel Easter eggs. Though those are there as well, of course.
Last Updated: March 10, 2021