Elizabeth Olsen Opens Up About “Insane” ‘WandaVision’ Pressure

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Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in 90s episode of 'Wandavision'

Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel’s WandaVision star, Elizabeth Olsen, fresh off a big night at the MTV Movie Awards, says the hit Marvel Cinematic Universe series on Disney+ wasn’t always a sure thing.

In a new interview, Olsen shares that bringing Wanda Maximoff to the small screen during a global pandemic was a really risky proposition, and one she wasn’t sure Marvel fans would accept.

wanda maximoff 1950s episode wandavision
Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios Black Widow Release Shuffle

Marvel Studios’ original plan for Phase 4 was to have Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff kick off the new era for the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the theatrical release of Black Widow. The pandemic majorly altered those plans as Black Widow faced a slew of delays in the wake of theater closures and capacity restrictions.

kathryn hahn as agnes (left) and elizabeth olsen as wanda (right) in wandavision
Credit: Marvel Studios

Black Widow, once with a planned release date of May 2020, is now scheduled to debut in theaters and on Disney+ (with a presumed Premier Access fee of $29.99) simultaneously on July 9, 2021. This bumped up WandaVision in the Marvel Studios release schedule.

black widow header
Credit: Marvel Studios

According to WandaVision lead actress Elizabeth Olsen, this raised the stakes for her performance as Wanda Maximoff the Scarlet Witch opposite Vision (Paul Bettany) in the very first Marvel Cinematic Universe streaming series to launch on Disney+.

Elizabeth Olsen Opens Up About Marvel’s WandaVision Pressure

On the Awards Chatter podcast, Elizabeth Olsen discussed how the pressure of being the first Marvel Cinematic Universe property that Marvel fans would see following the world-changing effects of the global pandemic. With WandaVision taking an anything-but-conventional approach to storytelling, Olsen feared Marvel fans would reject the post-modern, surrealist WandaVision as the MCU’s return to the pop culture landscape.

Credit: Sony Pictures

In the interview, Olsen describes the intense pressure of being the first Marvel Cinematic Universe project to premiere since Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) — starring Tom Holland as Spider-Man, and Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio — saying,

“Just being the first thing that… with Marvel, that the world hadn’t seen in 18 months. It wasn’t supposed to be that way, even with the TV shows. This other crazy pressure of, ‘What the hell did we just film?’ We filmed something crazy, so either you’re going to be with us or not with us.”

Scarlet Witch in WandaVision's finale
Credit: Marvel Studios

Elizabeth Olsen also described her initial hesitancy to bring Avengers Scarlet Witch and Vision (Paul Bettany) to a streaming miniseries as opposed to a film. For Olsen, it was a scary idea to attempt to transition two of Earth’s mightiest heroes to a more personal, grounded story than perhaps Marvel audiences were accustomed to. Olsen opened up about her WandaVision reluctance by saying,

“I think Paul Bettany [Vision] has his own version of this story. I was really scared because I thought these characters are supposed to be in a movie theater. They’re larger than life. They’re saving the world…”

Indeed, reteaming Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) with Vision (Paul Bettany) — who had died at the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) — in essentially a character study of a grieving person with extraordinary power held a high degree of creative difficulty for Marvel Studios and the cast of WandaVision.

Olsen went on to admit that while she was excited to explore the medium of television through the decades by playing off sitcom tropes — like recasting roles, or resolving farcical storylines with the snap of a finger — she worried she would disappoint Marvel’s dedicated fandom, saying,

“I think because of this excitement that I had about honoring television. I felt like that was the best way for Marvel to enter television is by honoring the medium… The moments leading up to this release, I was mortified. I felt like such an insane amount of pressure that no one was putting on me.”

Elizabeth Olsen is set bring Wanda Maximoff to theaters once again as Scarlet Witch will feature as the lead character opposite Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Doctor Strange 2. The upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) promises to exhibit even more of Wanda’s powerful chaos magic as Marvel continues to traverse the multiverse.

Vision, Wiccan, Speed, and Scarlet Witch
Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios win big at MTV Movie Awards

Elizabeth Olsen’s fears of a Marvel Cinematic Universe misfire with WandaVision appear to have assuaged, with the series mostly considered to be a success with viewers and critics. The latest evidence of this success was WandaVision racking up award wins at the recent MTV Movie Awards.

Fans voted WandaVision as “Best Show,” while Elizabeth Olsen won “Best Performance in a Show” for her portrayal of Wanda Maximoff. Kathryn Hahn won for her fan-favorite role of Agatha Harkness, and also took home “Best Fight” alongside co-star Elizabeth Olsen for their climactic battle in the WandaVision finale.

Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie From Stan's Instagram
Credit: Sebastian Stan Instagram

Marvel Studios added even more hardware to the trophy room as Anthony Mackie won “Best Hero” for his role of Sam Wilson, Captain America in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Anthony Mackie won another MTV Movie Award along with Sebastian Stan, as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes were voted “Best Duo” by Marvel faithful.

Scarlett Johansson was awarded the Generation Award for her contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow in the Avengers and Captain America franchises.

Do you think we’ll continue to see more creative risk-taking from the Marvel Cinematic Universe along the lines of WandaVision? Let us know in the comments!

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