The article contains spoilers for the WandaVision TV series!
Now that WandaVision is over, I have a question. Why did Wanda and Vision have to have children in the first place? Vision isn’t even human.
Bear with me for a second here. I do understand that this TV series is not only a continuation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but it is also an adaption of an extensive comic book history of these two characters. There is such a thing as comic book canon that has to be reckoned with, I know that. Although, we also have to understand that the original source can also be flawed and not necessarily stand the test of time. Here, however, I would like to take a look at a plot device in WandaVision as a standalone TV show rather than as a comic book adaptation.
Wanda becomes pregnant by the end of the second episode with her pregnancy literally bringing color to Wanda and Vision’s world, as the show transitions from black and white sitcoms of the 50s and the 60s to the colorful 70s.
Sitcoms are essential to understanding WandaVision. They are utilized as an escapism tool for Wanda to forget about her sorrow and loneliness. We all come back to our beloved sitcoms time and time again because we love the comfortable and predictable storytelling they provide. And sitcoms do have their own formula with the nuclear family is one of the key pillars of it. It would have been hard to model each episode after iconic sitcoms without including children. Hard but not impossible. Popular sitcoms where none of its lead characters have children (Seinfield, I Love Lucy, and The Honeymooners), or where the nuclear family does not play a central role (30 Rock, Parks and Recreation), do exist.
TV and film play a huge part in normalizing social phenomena. As a young woman who is set on living her life childfree, I’ve become more and more aware of the way this choice is marginalized in the modern patriarchal society. The need to have children is being transmitted to us constantly and not only by our mothers. No family is truly complete until there are children. That is the message. Yes, the creators of WandaVision may not have thoughts of their children’s plotline as anything other than a plotline (and canon at that). However, this choice does not exist in a vacuum, outside of our societal values.
For me, Wanda and Vision’s children could have been easily extracted from the TV series without it taking anything away from the plot and character development. I know that this was all part of Wanda’s fantasy life fueled by her intense grief. But the creators could have just as easily sold us the version of that fantasy with just Wanda and Vision living their idyllic married life. Thankfully, the chemistry and the connection between the two shines through so brightly throughout the series, we would gladly revel in their romantic bliss as they get through the daily tasks together.
Do Wanda and Vision have to have children for the audience to feel the full extent of sadness for what might have been? Perhaps, simply losing a loving partner does not seem like a tragedy of the appropriate scale for the show. This would not be the first time when MCU essentially tells us that having children is what makes a woman whole. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow, describes herself as a monster shortly after admitting to being made infertile. In Avengers: Endgame, she sacrifices herself over Hawkeye (who literally became a serial killer in between Infinity War and Endgame) in a gesture that implies that his life matters more since he has a wife and children.
The writers of WandaVision also appear to use Wanda’s motherhood as a way to anchor a character that otherwise maybe would be too antagonistic and nonconformist. Mothers are often painted as fighters and warriors when it comes to protecting their children, which makes motherhood a convenient plot device to both redeem the female character and explain her motivation. Wanda does some pretty appalling things all season and receives next to no repercussions for them in the end. Maybe it’s okay to trap and torture an entire small town if all you want is to have children with your humanoid lover.
Ultimately, the message of WandaVision is that every woman, no matter her extraordinary abilities, dreams of children to complete her. Superheroism dwindles next to motherhood.
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