Don’t adjust your sets, it’s just a weird and wacky instalment of WandaVision. As Jac Schaeffer’s trippy television series airs another episode, it’s clear not all is well in Westview.
While the first three episodes have been a whistle-stop tour of the sitcoms of old, each has been sandwiched with a retro-inspired advert from years gone by. Given that this is the Marvel Cinematic Universe and nothing is left to chance, fans are trying to decipher the meaning behind those cryptic commercials.
More than just being used to shift a line of fictional products for your happy homestead, it’s obvious the adverts tie deeper to the lore of Westview. In particular, are the man and woman featured in the campy commercials ghosts of Wanda’s past and actually her parents?
In the MCU, Wanda and brother Pietro (better known as Quicksilver) came from the troubled nation of Sokovia. When they were 10, a mortar bomb fell on the their apartment and killed their parents.
A second bomb landed in front of the Maximoff twins and lay undetonated for 48 hours. With the Stark Industries logo emblazoned on the bomb, it kick-started Wanda and Pietro’s mission of vengeance, which saw them recruited as part of Wolfgang von Strucker’s experiments with the Mind Stone. Although all the other subjects died, Wanda and Pietro gained superhuman powers and evolved into their personas of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.
In a January press conference (via Variety), MCU overlord Kevin Feige teased how the adverts will help figure out the “other truths of the show.” Becoming more than just Easter eggs, Feige told audiences how the commercials will help them “start connecting what those things mean to the past.” If you look close enough, each commercial references the twins’ past. In episode one, there’s the advert for the Stark ToastMate 2000. The advert shows a blinking red light and a lengthy countdown until the toast is done – a clear reference to their parents’ explosive end. You might say they’re toast.
The next two ads are more direct ties to Wanda’s HYDRA days. Episode two featured a Strucker watch with the tagline of “Strucker, He’ll make time for you.” Despite torturing the Maximoff twins and experimenting on them, he also became a Stockholm Syndrome-type father figure by the time the twins took on the Avengers in Age of Ultron. Finally, the commercial for HYDRA Soak looks like both an Agents of SHIELD nod to Phil Coulson’s soap-making days AND a throwback to Wanda and Pietro being victims of HYDRA’s mind manipulation. Even though HYDRA seems done and dusted since Captain America: The Winter Soldier, remember Dr Armin Zola’s warning: “Cut off one head, two more shall take its place.”
With Wanda’s ability to alter this picture-perfect reality, the general consensus is Westview is some sort of forced reality she’s conjured up to cope with all the death and destruction she’s faced. Then again, there are those who think Wanda has been trapped there by a Big Bad like Mephisto. Either way, the dead rise again in Westview. As Kathryn Hahn’s Agnes reminded Vision in the trailer, “You’re dead.” Added to whispers that WandaVision could be setting the scene for Quicksilver’s return, it’s easy to imagine Commercial Man and Commercial Woman being the Maximoff parents recreated by their daughter’s fractured psyche.
Comic book fans will know the complicated Maximoff family tree isn’t quite what it seems. The show is loosely based on the acclaimed ‘House of M’ comic arc, where Wanda rewrote reality as a way to try and bring her dead kids back to life.
Following an earlier reveal in 1983’s Vision and the Scarlet Witch Vol. 1, #4 that Magneto is the biological father of the twins, he featured heavily in ‘House of M’. Although there’s been debate surrounding whether the famous X-Men villain really is Wanda and Pietro’s father, Fox’s X-Men movies nearly confirmed it as fact.
Whether the MCU will go down this route remains to be seen. Although it’s unlikely WandaVision will herald the introduction of Magneto and bring the X-Men into the MCU, fans should keep their eyes peeled for even the slightest Easter egg that the malevolent master of magnetism could be daddy dearest.
When pushed on the idea that Quicksilver and Magneto could pop up for a WandaVision cameo, Feige coyly told Rotten Tomatoes, “There are other characters in other episodes of this show. Who they are, what they are, not worth discussing right now.” At least it looks like Enriquez and Blade are in WandaVision for the entirety of its nine-episode run. It will be interesting to see whether the commercials continue to flesh out Wanda’s shady past and give a tease of what’s to come. Given that the first three episodes have already been a refresher on the Maximoff family’s tragic history, consider us sold on a bunch of retro products we don’t need and another wild WandaVision theory.
WandaVision is available on Disney+, with new episodes dropping every Friday.