Breaking Down the Easter Eggs and Hidden Sitcom References
Disney+’s new original series “WandaVision” has left many fans confused and beguiled by its inclusion of numerous easter eggs and hidden references. The sitcom-style series depicts Wanda Maximoff (a.k.a Scarlet Witch) and Vision living an idealized suburban life in the aptly named town of Pleasantville; the trauma they experienced in “Avengers: Infinity War” has apparently never occurred. However, they both begin to realize that not all is as pleasant as it seems in Pleasantville: strange occurrences begin to tear at the fringes of reality, and audiences are left to unravel the mystery unfolding before themselves. An examination of the various clues riddled throughout the show may enlighten audiences as to the nature and direction of this seemingly innocuous series. Spoilers ahead!
Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will likely catch some of the more obvious easter eggs, such as those in the fake commercials embedded in each episode: episode one features a toaster made by Stark Industries, a nod to Tony Stark (a.k.a Iron Man). The second episode’s commercial features a watch called Strucker, a reference to Baron von Strucker, a known leader of the terrorist organization HYDRA and major antagonist in the MCU.
Notably, both commercials hint at past traumas in Wanda’s life, according to IndieWire. In “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Wanda and her brother Pietro (a.k.a Quicksilver) blame Tony Stark for the deaths of their parents, who were killed when a bomb detonated on their home. The toaster in the first episode beeps with increasing rapidity, echoing the sound of a bomb before it explodes. Furthermore, in the post-credits scene of “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” we learn that Baron von Strucker experimented on Wanda and Pietro, giving them their respective supernatural abilities of reality warping and super speed.
Some of the easter eggs may be more recognizable to fans of the comics. According to CNET, the two posters hanging in the back of the grocery store during the second episode’s animated opening—which advertise Bova milk and Auntie A’s cat litter—are discreet references to two Marvel Comics characters named Bova (a bovine human who helped deliver Wanda and Pietro at birth) and Agatha Harkness (a witch with a cat familiar who mentored Wanda in the ways of witchcraft).
By far the most frequent easter egg has been the symbol of an encircled sword. This shows up on both the computer and journal of someone who is watching “WandaVision,” on the red and yellow toy helicopter that Wanda discovers in her rose bushes, and on the back of the ominous beekeeper who emerges from the sewers. An article recently published on Den of Geek explains that the symbol is the logo of the Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division (S.W.O.R.D.), a sister branch to the more widely recognizable Strategic Homeland, Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D).
While Marvel has inserted an abundance of hints about what is coming next in their Cinematic Universe, the show has also paid homage to a variety of past sitcoms. As it was shot prior to the pandemic, the producers recreated classic TV sitcoms by including a live studio audience. During the course of the season, each of its 9 episodes are meant to focus on one specific decade of programming, with each getting closer to the present. Episode 1 takes place in the 1950s and is shot entirely in black and white. From the shooting technique, clothes, plot and home aesthetic, it was evident to many that the episode was influenced by “I Love Lucy” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
Episode 2 jumps ahead another decade, taking place in the 1960s. The producers wove in connections to the extremely popular 1960s sitcom “Bewitched” through recreating the opening credits using Wanda. In this episode, Wanda’s use of magic in order to bail her husband out of trouble follows the same lines that can be seen in “Bewitched.” Although Wanda was also seen using magic in Episode 1 to clean and cook, foreshadowing their homage in Episode 2, her use of it here evokes how it would have been portrayed in the 1960s sitcom. However, producers threw viewers for a loop —the episode ends in color instead of the original black and white. Such a colorful ending left many wondering if this was their way of both setting us up for the 1970s and giving one last ode to “Bewitched,” which itself eventually switched to colored episodes. Perhaps something bigger and more shocking is yet to come.
While many Marvel fans didn’t find the first two episodes enjoyable thanks to the endless search for easter eggs, there were still many that were happy to watch Wanda and Vision reunited. With only two episodes currently out, “WandaVision” has already left everyone wondering what will come next. Are fans correctly guessing Marvel’s plans for the future, or will we all end up pleasantly surprised if our guesses don’t come true? Whatever Disney+ decides to throw our way next, we will be right there waiting, eager to learn about what world Wanda is living in and who’s trying to get inside it.
Author: Shyanne Mortimer| A&E Co-Editor
Author: Kassandra Klein|Copy Editor