When premieres on Disney+, it’ll be the first Marvel Cinematic Universe entry released in well over a year. While this is the first step into Marvel Studios’ future, though, it’s a show deeply tied to the past of television. The series finds Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) not fighting superpowered villains, but instead living inside a series of sitcoms as they slowly try to decipher what is happening to their reality.
The trailers show a number of tributes to sitcoms from decades dating back to the ’50s, long before the majority of the show’s cast was born. Naturally, though, director Matt Shakman knew exactly how to get the actors and crew of the series ready for filming. After all, his own history is tied to sitcoms as one of the stars of the late ’80s series Just the Ten of Us.
“This was the best homework that one could be asked to do, which is watch awesome old timeless television,” he told GameSpot. “And so yeah, we watched episodes of I Love Lucy and [The] Dick Van Dyke [Show], The Donna Reed Show, My Three Sons, all the way up through Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie–especially those two because they’re about people with special powers trying to hide them from their suburban friends. Then all the way up through The Brady Bunch and All In the Family, you name it.”
While there was a long list of shows to work through, some sitcoms were not included when it came to preparing for . “We were focusing mostly, though, on family sitcoms rather than shows like Taxi, because this is a love story,” Shakman said. “It’s a romance between Wanda and Vision about them building a home together. So we focused more on shows that were also about that.”
So don’t sit around expecting for a workplace comedy or Cheers-inspired episode of WandaVision to happen. Who’s to say something along those lines couldn’t pop up later in the MCU, though? After all, Marvel Studios boss that the MCU Disney+ shows are letting the studio “expand creatively.” Perhaps that means we’ll get The Office but with people who work in accounting at SHIELD.
WandaVision’s first two episodes premiere Friday, January 15, on Disney+.