If you’ve been feeling left out because all of your friends are talking about the season finale of Marvel’s Wandavision on Disney+ , you’re in luck… at least if you have a Disney+ subscription. All nine episodes (varying in length from about a half hour to nearly an hour) are on the service, and so are the essential MCU films that lead up to it.
If you’re new to Marvel films, you may be aware that all of the them are connected in various ways. So you might want to watch all of them in order – which you can do on Disney+. And one of the (many) great things about Wandavision is that you don’t really need to have seen the prior films to understand what’s going on: at its core, Wandavision is a story about love and grief. But of course, most of the main characters come with backstories. So if you don’t have time to sit through 23 movies, here are a few films that will help give you extra insight into the characters.
Vison and Wanda
Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015): This is the second Avengers film, so the main characters — Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony (Iron Man) Stark, Chris Evans’ Steve (Captain America) Rodgers, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk and Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton, as well as Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury all know each other. Both Vision and Wanda make their first appearances in this film (although Wanda made a cameo in a post-credits scene in 2014’s Captain America: Winter Soldier). Vision is an android who is, well, something more than just an android. Wanda and her brother, Pietro, are from a fictional country called Sokovia, and they have a particular grudge against Tony Stark. Without giving too much away, they end up teaming up with the Avengers. By the end of the film, both Wanda and Vision are full fledged Avengers. This film has historically not been the favorite among most Marvel fans, but Wandavison has caused many to reevaluate it.
Captain America: Civil War (2016): It turns out that, even though Wanda is the youngest Avenger, she might be the most powerful. And those powers are difficult to control. That leads to the division among heroes in the film; should the United Nations have oversight over such a powerful being? Can she (and the other Avengers) operate to save the world as they see fit, with impunity? Early in the film, we see Vision and Wanda’s relationship bloom, but as the film’s poster (and the trailers) give away, Vision and Wanda are on separate sides of his debate. This is probably one of the best films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019) shook every corner of the Marvel cinematic universe, including Wanda and Vision’s world. At the beginning of Infinity War, they were meeting in secret and clearly in love. We won’t tell you more than that. Wandavision takes place five weeks after the end of Endgame. For all of the millions of dollars in special effects and actors fees that went into these films, they also pack a huge emotional punch, much to the credit of the directors, brothers Joe and Anthony Russo.
Dr. Strange (2016) We know that Wanda’s story continues in the next film in that series, Dr. Strange In the Multiverse of Madness, due in 2022.
Captain Marvel (2019): Released in between Infinity War and Endgame, Captain Marvel takes place in the ’90s, so chronologically, it actually predates all of the MCU films except for Captain America: The First Avenger (which took place during World War II). But if you’re going to watch this, watch it between Infinity War and Endgame – the post credit scenes will make more sense. Monica Rambeau debuts in Captain Marvel, played by Akira and Azari Akbar as an eleven-year-old and a five-year-old, respectively. The Monica that we meet in Wandavision is the adult version, played by Teyonah Parris, and there are references to Captain Marvel; it’s also been well-publicized that Parris’s Monica will be in 2022’s Captain Marvel 2.
Agent Jimmy Woo
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018): Jimmy Woo, played by Randall Park, is an FBI agent who is Scott (Ant-Man) Lang’s parole officer; Lang (played by Paul Rudd) is on parole as a result of events from Captain America: Civil War. Woo is happy to tell his backstory to anyone who will listen, and it’s not necessary to see his past appearance, but it’s a fun movie. It’s uncertain if he’ll return to the Ant-Man franchise in the next film, 2022’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Dr. Darcy Lewis
Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013): In the Thor films, Kat Dennings’ Darcy was Jane Foster’s intern (Foster was played by Natalie Portman). That was a long time ago: now she’s Doctor Lewis. Neither Darcy nor Foster were in the third Thor film, 2017’s Ragnarok. Portman is returning for the next installment, but it doesn’t seem like Dennings is. But she got major love for Darcy’s return in Wandavision, so she may be pulled in for a cameo (the movie is currently filming).