A VISIONARY NEW AGE

How premiere of WandaVison introduces new age of streaming

Elizabeth+Olsen+and+Paul+Bettany+speaking+at+the+2019+San+Diego+Comic+Con+International%2C+for+WandaVision%2C+at+the+San+Diego+Convention+Center+in+San+Diego%2C+California.

Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany speaking at the 2019 San Diego Comic Con International, for WandaVision, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California.

Back in July of 2019, thousands of fans were awaiting the arrival of Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, to announce the future of the widely acclaimed Marvel Cinematic Universe at San Diego Comic Con. Not only did Feige deliver news of the future Marvel films, but he also announced multiple spinoff shows taking place in the same universe for the parent company’s future streaming service which would be available for subscription in November of that year. 

Fast forward to 2021 and fans are eagerly awaiting the premiere of WandaVision, the latest and greatest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Spider-Man: Far From Home back in the summer of 2019. They’re thirsty for more Marvel since the studio didn’t release anything in 2020. The series, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, brings back two fan-favorites of the MCU, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and The Vision in their not-so-ideal suburban lives in the mysterious town of Westview.

Subscribers to Disney+ have also recently gained access to season two of the series that gave the platform its immense popularity, The Mandalorian. Since the release of Disney+, other streaming platforms have either stepped up their game in original content or have rebranded entirely. This was the case for HBO, who released their brand new HBO Max streaming service.

“I would probably prefer Disney+ because they’ve got a lot of the original shows that I used to watch,” PHS senior Alex Flores responded when asked what his ideal streaming service would be. “I’m 18 and I’ve grown out of some things, and there’s a lot of cartoons that scratched [an itch for] me [that] some younger people haven’t really watched. [They] haven’t had the experience I’ve had, and Disney+ really brings a lot of [memories] back.”

Streaming services that act as archives for older TV shows that ran in the 2010’s can often act as an escape from reality via nostalgia. Someone could easily pull up that one show they watched as a kid to summon memories of their childhood believed to have been lost forever, or they could rewatch a few episodes from another show and finally understand all the adult references that flew over their head as a kid.

Disney+ may as well be the superior streaming service not only because of the nostalgic power it brings with it, but also because of the massive budgets allowed for the newer series, à la WandaVision and The Mandalorian, which take the budgets granted to the movies they spawned from and extend them to episodes that have around four to five hours of runtime per season.

“I usually think that series are better than movies, not necessarily in production value or anything… they have more room to tell a story with a series,” said PHS Language Arts teacher Miss Bailey Jackson, who is fairly experienced when it comes to watching cinema since she occasionally integrates it into her lessons about plot structure and other literary elements. Miss Jackson is also a major fan of the fantasy genre; think movies based on Lord of The Rings and comic books.

Since what we already know about WandaVision is vastly different than other more recent shows and movies, it seems to be perfect for the streaming format. The show itself is composed of multiple genres of situational comedies, or sitcoms, that seem to progress through the decades with each episode. It references classics such as The Dick Van Dyke Show and a rumor is circulating that one episode will even draw inspiration from The Office.

“Something like WandaVision, what I know about its structure lends itself really easily to episodes,” Miss Jackson said. “Maybe something like Endgame could have been a cool limited series because there was so much to it.”

It starts to get difficult to continue the story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by cramming some of the studio’s biggest comic storylines or character origin stories into feature length films, so the application of the limited series idea has really been pushed to the extreme, with 11 planned shows theoretically slated for release up until 2022, which will contain one of the biggest comic book crossover events yet, Secret Invasion.

WandaVision releases on Disney+ on Jan.15 with two episodes available to stream, and weekly episodes air every Friday until the season finale on March 5.

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