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WandaVision explores themes of mental health present in the comics, says Elizabeth Olsen
Don't be fooled by the quiet suburban life enjoyed by Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) in the WandaVision TV series coming to Disney+ later this year. There's a darkness lurking beneath the veneer of their idyllic existence that continues to hop between genres. Speaking with The New York Times, Olsen revealed that the show tackles some heavy topics like mental health, which is a big part of Scarlet Witch's character in the Marvel source material.
"WandaVision is such an incredible concept," the actress said. "It’s the first time we get to understand her as the Scarlet Witch that she is in the comics, and that’s exciting for me, because I haven’t yet been able to give her that time onscreen. So that’s going to be fun. She’s always been a representation of mental health and illness in the comic book series, and her major role is handling that stigma within Marvel."
When pressed for details about Vision's place in the story, Olsen clammed up. "That I can’t answer, because he died in [Avengers: Infinity War]. I'm sorry," she said, quickly apologizing with a laugh. "I know you wouldn’t care. I tell my friends, but I can’t tell you. They’re like you — they know nothing, so I just tell them everything because it doesn’t matter. I know it will go nowhere."
She also couldn't say much about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which WandaVision ties directly into. "Doctor Strange, I don’t know too much about, because it’s still kind of early. And then after that I would really love to do a five- or six-week independent film, with a beginning and an end," Olsen admitted.
"I really love working for Marvel. But the time part of it requires you to not be available for certain things, and that’s been heartbreaking," she concluded. "I think work is exciting as I get older. I’ve never really felt like a 20-year-old onscreen, and I’ve always felt excited to age. But when it comes to a career trajectory, I also really admire people who have lived many different lives in a lifetime, and I do want to play around with that. I have a lot of things I would like to do in my life, and it’s not just based in acting."
During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! earlier this month, Olsen recounted how she thought she was in trouble when Marvel Studios Kevin Feige president first called her to talk about WandaVision. It turns out she (and Bettany) had nothing to worry about — Feige is seemingly a pretty cool dude and doesn't expect his actors to completely accommodate their lives around the MCU.
"The thing that’s amazing about Marvel is that they never as producers tell anyone to get into any kind of physical shape," she told the NYT. "They don’t have expectations of you being thin or strong. They just assume that if you think your character needs that, that you will do that. It’s not something that they hold over you. I literally asked [Kevin] at one point, 'So when can I have kids? When can I be pregnant?' And he goes, 'Live your life, and we’ll work around it.' I don’t think it’s happening within the next five years, but it’s something I’m really excited for."
WandaVision is expected to premiere on Disney+ sometime in December. Showrun by Jac Schaeffer, it co-stars Teyonah Parris, Kat Dennings, Randall Park, and Kathryn Hahn. Multiverse of Madness is scheduled to open in theaters Mar. 25, 2022. Sam Raimi has been tapped to direct.