WandaVision Creator Explains Why the Show Didn't Need Mephisto Or Another Evil Dude

WandaVision creator Jac Schaeffer weighs in on those fan theories and why there never was a villainous man at the center of it all.

By Lauren Piester Mar 12, 2021 11:56 PMTags
Watch: "WandaVision" Cast Dishes on Becoming Sitcom Experts

If you were just sure that a big bad, perhaps by the name of Mephisto, was going to emerge before the end of WandaVision, you were probably quite disappointed. 

However, you can't be blamed for thinking that. We thought that, and it was all based on the fact that in the comics, the demon Mephisto is the big bad responsible for Wanda Maximoff's mysteriously powerful twins at the center of her family story. But WandaVision was never designed to be a story about a young woman being controlled by an evil villain, especially if that villain is a man. 

"That's not fun!" creator Jac Schaeffer tells E! News. "Plus, then we'd have to spend time with that guy. Who needs that?" 

Schaeffer, who also wrote the upcoming Black Widow, calls that "old storytelling," and it's something WandaVision just wasn't in the mood for. 

"We had all the pieces we needed to finish the story," she says. "We had Kathryn Hahn! Why would we need Mephisto when we have Kathryn Hahn?" 

Very valid point.

photos
Renewed and Canceled TV Shows 2021 Guide

The conversation surrounding WandaVision was, from the start, plagued with fan theories that spiraled out of control. Sure, we were all having a good time, and a couple of them were right on the money—Hello, Agatha Harkness!—but for the most part, the fan theories fell completely apart by the end. The problem was that they were theories for a different sort of show than what Schaeffer and her team were trying to give us. 

WandaVision isn't a bridge designed to set up other movies and projects about powerful dudes. It's a show about a grieving woman, played beautifully by Elizabeth Olsen, taking control of her emotions and her power. 

"Really, it was so exciting to have a chance to center another woman and to tell a story of her internal life, and that was my focus," Schaeffer says. "I mean, I love comedy, I love sitcoms, I love action, all of that was gravy. But what I wanted most of all was to really understand this woman and not to have it crescendo in some way where she destroys herself or destroys everybody or needs to be saved or neutralized, or there's some intervention. I wanted it to be all internal, and to have her save herself." 

Disney+

Schaeffer says she felt a lot of pressure with Wanda, but not in terms of satisfying a fandom or being the first Disney+ Marvel show out of the gate. 

"The pressure that I felt is just for the women that I know and love, that they like it," she says. "And they think it's positive, and that it's pushing the ball forward." 

Schaeffer hired a lot of women to work on the show, and men who are feminists and who "have a lot of respect for the women in their lives." She wanted everyone to be on the same page when it came to taking care of the show's main character. 

As Schaeffer said, things could have gone very differently for Wanda. She could have destroyed herself and those around her, and ended up torn apart rather than, in a weird way, put back together. But destruction is not the nature of Wanda's magic. 

"It was so exciting to work in the space of this idea of chaos magic, because creation is the most feminine act," Schaeffer explains. "So the idea is that when she breaks, when she detonates, what she does is create, she doesn't destroy. She's not without sin—she takes a bunch of people hostage and traumatizes them, so it's not all puppies and rainbows, but everything is about creation and making. And that felt very resonant to me." 

read
WandaVision Has Been the Most Fun I've Ever Had With TV

Schaeffer would love to say that she didn't pay attention to any of the fan theories, but she couldn't help herself. She read "everything." 

"Yeah, the theorizing got crazy," she says. "I think I was a little naive. I didn't expect it to be at that level at all, and the Marvel people were like, 'Yeah, this is how it goes.' And there were things that made me nervous." 

A major element of WandaVision is the nature of a sitcom. It's designed to be comforting, an "agreement with the audience," as Schaeffer puts it, that by the end of the episode, everything's gonna be OK. 

"We intentionally shattered that," she says. "Like with real discipline, we ruptured that agreement. The first three episodes were predicated on that. But for the entirety of the show, we were making an agreement with the audience that we were going to deliver on both the MCU and the sitcom and the emotional and everything, and you want to believe you're going to stick the landing. So yeah, some theories made me nervous." 

The Mephisto theory, she says, is the one that didn't make her nervous at all. "I was like, yeah, that's not happening, and I feel fine about that. 

Despite her nervousness, Shaeffer says she was thrilled with the fact that fan theories were happening at all. 

"I was so flattered and honored, like deeply honored, that people were bringing the full force of their brains and their hearts to the story," she says. "And that the amount of effort that we as the creators, like the energy and blood, sweat and tears that we put into the show, people were meeting us there. I mean, that's an incredibly beautiful thing and I will feel grateful to the end of my days about that." 

Disney+

At the end of the day, Schaeffer is just thrilled that the whole show is now out in the world so she can finally openly talk about something she's so proud of. 

"It was like talking with my mouth tied behind my back for a very long time, but I wouldn't trade it for anything because it was so exciting," she says. "It's like, you know Christmas morning, when you give someone a gift that you know they're gonna love and you're waiting for them to open it? It was like that for eight weeks." 

Well, we loved it, and we're already eagerly awaiting what we might get next Christmas. 

WandaVision is now streaming on Disney+.