Interview: Jack Schaeffer

Conversation with WandaVision series creator and show runner.

The new Disney+ TV series WandaVision just wrapped its nine-episode run and at least in little part of my social media world, it sparked quite a bit of discussion, most all of it favorable.

Here are two interviews with series creator and showrunner Jac Shaeffer. The first features excerpts from /film conversation.

I’m always interested in how people working inside Marvel are able to put their own stamp on these big projects, so what is it about WandaVision that makes it personal to you and your vision for the show?

Oh my gosh. Believe it or not, I’ve never gotten that question. I love it. What makes it personal to me? I love comedy. I love sitcoms. I also love really weird stuff: I love Lost. I love Twilight Zone. I love Amazing Stories. I love Hitchcock. I think that’s what’s personal to me, the sort of forced cohabitation of these different tones. My early career, it was hard to find my place. A lot of the stuff that I wrote didn’t land squarely in any one category, and I think that’s what clicked for me about this idea and what kept my energy going throughout the last two years: just how cool all of those things are if you serve them all on the same plate.

Jac Schaeffer

I know you’ve probably been asked a lot about the Nick at Nite inspirations for the various sitcom eras, but did you take any inspiration from any movies or TV shows when it comes to the outside the bubble storytelling for the rest of the series?

Yeah. In terms of the pop-up base and the S.W.O.R.D. of it in episode four, we had a lot of touchstones. Like Arrival was one of them. The current shows that take you to unexpected places — things like Russian Doll was an influence. Actually, that came out as we were writing, but episode four of Russian Doll totally flips the script, right? It’s a totally different deal. That blew my hair straight back. I was so dazzled by that. So there were some influences like that where it was, within a season, big structural shifts.

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You must have known that people were going to be applying ridiculous levels of analysis to every frame of this show, and you and your team put so much care and thought into every little detail. But you probably know that when the first season of Westworld came out, people on Reddit figured out the big twist a week into the season. Did you put any effort into deliberately misleading people with some of those background details in an attempt to preserve the surprise of what’s really going on?

Well, first of all, I didn’t anticipate this, I have to say. Maybe that was naive of me. But I think also, at the time, at the very beginning of the process, how the episodes would roll out was a bit of a question. So it wasn’t a guarantee that it was going to be week to week. So I didn’t anticipate this level of fervor. Also, the order at which we came out — the, if I can say it, the sensation that it’s become is wonderful, but I’m a little overwhelmed by it. And I also, of course, didn’t anticipate the pandemic and anticipate the intense desire for content. I am not on social media myself, so I’m only just learning about the incredibly dedicated people online who pore over everything. That’s all to say that this was a surprise to me and it has been a delight and an adventure. So I didn’t expect some of the theories. But there are red herrings, yeah. But any good storytelling has red herrings.

The second interview is with Entertainment Tonight.

To learn more about WandaVision, go here.

For 100s more interviews with screenwriters and filmmakers, go here.

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