WandaVision finished shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, in March 2020, mere days before the entire country would shut down due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It seemed like a stroke of luck for the Marvel Studios production, but WandaVision would still end up feeling the effects of the pandemic in major ways. A lot was left on the cutting room floor, director Matt Shakman has revealed, including an expanded role in the WandaVision season finale for Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and…Senor Scratchy.
In a two-hour conversation with Kevin Smith on the filmmaker’s Fatman Beyond podcast, Matt Shakman went into detail about the secrets, the fan theories, and how much the pandemic actually changed the season finale. The latter of which actually had more an effect than anticipated, as post-production changes and a final episode that wrapped just two weeks before its official release meant that many things were left on the cutting room floor.
“We wrapped in Atlanta and the pandemic hit, and we ended up having several months off, so further changes happened during that,” Shakman said. “We were doing post-production, and then ideas would come up and little changes would happen.”
One of the changes was Monica Rambeau’s role in the finale. The rogue S.W.O.R.D. agent and newly empowered hero curiously didn’t have much to do in the finale apart from uncover the secret behind Ralph Bohner (a reference to Growing Pains, which Shakman starred in as a child actor) and give Wanda a tender parting piece of validation. “We built and rebuilt so many different versions of how [Monica] would function in the finale,” Shakman said. “She had in some versions a much bigger role to play in the larger fight that was happening.”
One of those versions, in which Monica had a whole storyline with Ralph, Darcy, and Wanda’s kids, was even shot before it was ultimately cut due to unfinished VFX. It was a segment that would have uncovered the true form of Agatha’s rabbit familiar, Senor Scratchy, Shakman revealed:
“We did have something planned for Senor Scratchy which we ultimately couldn’t do just because the finale had so many different chess pieces. But we did have a whole sequence where Darcy, Monica, Ralph meet up with the kids, and they’re in Agatha’s house, and they think that maybe they should steal the Darkhold from the basement because the kids has seen it down there when they were being held hostage. And they go down to get the book, and as they reach out to get the book, the rabbit hops up in front of the book. And they’re like, “Oh it’s Senor Scratchy, he’s the best!” And they reach over the scratch him and he hisses and this whole American Werewolf in London transformation happens where rabbit turns into this big demon. And a Goonies set piece ensues where they try to escape from the rabbit. We shot it, but didn’t finish all the VFX for it. It was a great sequence, it was super fun and everyone was great in it, but we ended up moving it aside because it was a huge detour in the middle of everything going on.”
“Things were constantly changing and getting rewritten,” Shakman said, adding that the production of WandaVision is not unlike the process of a typical television series production. Because of their process, the finale was set to be completed only two weeks before it was set to be released on Disney+, throwing a wrench in Marvel’s original plans to release the first three episodes simultaneously. Marvel would end up releasing just the first two episodes so they wouldn’t have to delay the finale.
“There was a lot of experimentation going on and trying different things out…especially a lot of the real-world stuff in the finale,” Shakman said. “We also at one point had 10 episodes planned and we ended up collapsing a couple just to make the rhythm work better.”
Watch the entire conversation with Shakman, in which he also speaks about the accidental Kick-Ass reference, the intentional Blade Runner reference, and why no one is Mephisto, below.
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