Marvel Studios filmed the first episode of WandaVision – its first live action Disney+ series – in black and white and in front of a live studio audience.
The crew members even wore ‘50s-era clothing in order to achieve its midcentury ‘canned laughter’ sitcom feel, reveals Entertainment Weekly, which cites Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie as inspirations for the new six-hour comic book series starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany.
“The show is a love letter to the golden age of television,” WandaVision’s head writer Jac Schaeffer tells EW.
“We’re paying tribute and honouring all of these incredible shows and people who came before us, [but] we’re also trying to blaze new territory.”
Watch: The crazy first trailer for WandaVision
Set after the events of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, which – spoiler alert – saw Vision die at the hands of Thanos, the show sees newlyweds Wanda Maximoff (Olsen) and Vision (Bettany) living a seemingly idyllic life in a town called Westview, where they keep their superpowers under wraps.
But as the couple cycle through the decades, and the era’s relevant sitcom tropes, it becomes clear that something strange is afoot in suburbia. Bettany himself expressed surprised at his character’s return, calling a ‘really pleasant surprise for me and my bank manager’.
The show began filming in early 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic took hold halting the production, and was finished only in October as restrictions began to ease. It hasn’t dented the scope of the show though reveals castmember Teyonah Parris, who plays the grown up Monica Rambeau (introduced in 2019’s Captain Marvel) in the show.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I thought we were doing a little show,’ but no, it’s six Marvel movies packed into what they’re presenting as a sitcom,” says Parris.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige – a hardcore sitcom nerd who came up with the idea for the series – adds that you don’t need to be a diehard MCU fan to follow the show.
“If you haven’t seen any of them and just want to step into this weird thing because you love The Dick Van Dyke Show, it’s going to work,” Feige says. “But if you’ve been tracking the 23 movies we’ve made and following along the stories into Phase 4, there’ll be a wealth of rewards waiting for you as it all unfolds.”
WandaVision will stream exclusively on Disney+ in 2020.
Watch: Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany talk WandaVision