The first trailer for Marvel’s WandaVision on Disney+ has got fans talking with its eerie and unsettling approach to sitcom domestic bliss between one one of the MCU’s most powerful magic users and her synthetic husband. What makes it even more unsettling is that the husband in question has been dead since 2018, thanks to Thanos and the events of Avengers: Infinity War.
When you combine this with the multiple sitcom homages that run the gamut from black and white 1950s wholesome escapades to ones that look like they would have been right at home in the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s, it’s understandable why some fans might want to know when WandaVision actually takes place.
Let’s look at the evidence.
Much of the WandaVision trailer is in black and white, and has a pretty strong I Love Lucy or Donna Reed Show meets Bewitched vibe. The earliest of those three, I Love Lucy, premiered in 1951, The Donna Reed Show premiered in 1958, and Bewitched in 1964. One shot in the trailer focuses on a wine bottle with a vintage of 1953, so we can safely say that these scenes are meant to take place some time after that…at least in Wanda’s mind.
And even though there are snapshots that follow of Wanda and Vision getting “colorized” as they move into a new decade (in this case the late 1960s/early 1970s) and other sitcom homages throughout bring us through a Family Ties/Growing Pains-esque ’80s and a Roseanne-tinged ’90s, eventually the truth has to come out.
WandaVision actually takes place firmly in the present of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We know this because of the quick sequences we see of government agents (possibly SHIELD agents?) investigating the sudden “arrival” of Monica Rambeau. These scenes (and to a lesser extent, the Halloween ones) are filmed in standard MCU style, and are meant to evoke a less heightened reality than the ones we see during the sitcom sequences.
But the biggest evidence comes when Kathryn Hahn’s mysterious character tells Vision what the audience already knows: he’s dead. So if he’s dead, how is he here?
The most likely explanation is that all of the real world action in WandaVision is taking place in the “now” of the MCU (so, several months to a year after the events of Avengers: Endgame, and five years after Vision’s death in Avengers: Infinity War) and everything else is either happening inside illusions Wanda is creating or actual threads of a multiverse that her powers are pulling in.
None of that is a satisfactory explanation for why Vision is alive (or if he even really is), but you can put good money on the fact that WandaVision takes place “now” no matter how the rest of it looks.
We’ll know for sure when WandaVision arrives on Disney+ in December.