WandaVision fans were treated to an awesome first season of the show with a new and refreshing (if at times weird) take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The series delivered nearly across the board and set the stage for more stories along the way in what should be a massive Phase Four for the studio. There were also plenty of Easter eggs around possible cameos and appearances for other characters in the universe. Some came to fruition. Some, not so much. One of those potential rumors was around a possible sighting of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards specifically. It didn’t happen and now we have an explanation.
The rumors and speculation around Reed Richards making an appearance in for the first time in the Marvel Universe came from a WandaVision line, somewhat off the cuff, by Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) when she was talking to Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) about a way to possibly control Wanda. In the line, she mentions knowing an aerospace engineer who might be up to the task. This immediately sent fans into a tizzy thinking that the engineer in question would be the leader of the Fantastic Four. It was close enough to a description of that scientist.
Matt Shakman, who directed all nine episodes of the first season, weighed in this and what they had been working on with WandaVision and building tension around possible cameo, Easter eggs, and the like. On the Fatman and Beyond YouTube stream from Kevin Smith, Shakman stopped by for a lengthy conversation about the show and some of the decisions they made along the way. Regarding the Richards piece, this what he had to say:
“Some of those Easter eggs are absolutely intentional. And then some things, like just trying to clarify what was Monica’s plan with regards to the Hex (were not). We did reshoot a little thing there, changed some dialogue, added the aerospace engineer which was never an intention on our side to set up the Fantastic Four (laughs).“
He went on to say:
“(Fan theories are) charming and wonderful. But we’re building to this rover set piece, which I have worked my butt off on for well over a year creating this rover. And all of a sudden, everybody wants to know who’s going to meet her there, and I know it’s going to be this wonderful actress who’s playing Major Goodner, and it’s not going to be Reed Richards… I want people to be invested in what is the origin story of a different character that Monica Rambeau is becoming, and instead, we’re being distracted by someone else. So yeah, the director-producer in me is like, ‘Oh, don’t run with that one!’ Because I didn’t want the focus to shift from what was important, which is the story of Monica traveling through that Hex.”
So, for starters, the Fantastic Four piece for WandaVision was apparently never in the cards at all. For a popular show, one that is setting the stage for the rest of Marvel’s Phase Four, it’s clear that Shakman and company were aware of the little carrots and crumbs they were leaving out there along the way. That part isn’t lost on him at all and it does appear that the intention of the show was to purposefully develop intrigue and get fans excited. But in terms of this particular crumb, it does seem like they really weren’t away of the reaction they’d get.
In fact, Shakman almost sounds bummed that it overshadowed other WandaVision work they’d been doing on the show and with a new character. Such is to be expected, accounting for every little line and what fans will think is impossible. But it’s easy to see where the confusion came from.
And it isn’t like WandaVision didn’t deliver on some pieces around world-setting during its first season. We got an Evan Peters sighting in the Quicksilver role even if there are lingering question marks with that casting. And Vision made some, well, changes. Also, it did seem like the original plan was to have Doctor Strange make an appearance in the season finale, but the timing of later movies made it so that a shot scene was going to end up being moved to another movie. There are a lot of moving parts in this shared universe. It stands to reason even the best-laid plans would be in flux almost to the very end. But it was good to at least get an explanation on that line regarding the engineer and why it wasn’t Richards.