- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
How 'WandaVision' made sitcom magic in front of a live studio audience
The title of WandaVision may focus on Elizabeth Olsen's sorceress and Paul Bettany's synthezoid, but the show's secret weapon might be Monica Rambeau. Six episodes in, Teyonah Parris' S.W.O.R.D. agent has proven to be one of the Marvel series' most engaging and emotionally resonant characters — whether she's investigating the weirdness of Westview or delivering sitcom-worthy one-liners.
With the show now about two-thirds of the way through, EW caught up with Parris to talk about bringing Monica to the small screen and how her story has resonated with audiences.
"We saw her in Captain Marvel, but we've gotten to really follow her path and figure out what she's been up to since then," Parris explains. "We get to explore who she is, why she's here, what she wants, her goals, her desires, her ambitions. Seeing this Black female character on screen in people's homes and giving them the opportunity to engage with Black women's humanity — that's the most rewarding aspect for me."
Suzanne Tenner/Marvel Studios
Parris credits WandaVision head writer Jac Schaeffer, executive producer Mary Livanos, and director Matt Shakman with working to fully develop Monica's character — from her grief over losing her mom to her determination to unravel the Westview mystery with Randall Park's Jimmy and Kat Dennings' Darcy. ("We really did become like the trio, hanging around on set and just bopping around, trying to figure out what's happening in Westview," Parris says with a laugh.)
She also points out that the show itself alludes to how many TV shows have historically relegated women of color to supporting or sidekick roles. When Monica first arrives in Westview, she's cast as Geraldine, a typical sitcom best friend to Wanda's main character. But once Monica breaks out of the sitcom world and returns to reality, the narrative shifts and she gets to become the hero of her own story.
"We kind of go through that through the decades: You see her as what would've been the sassy black friend, just there to serve a very particular plot point," Parris explains. "Then as [the story] evolves, you watch modern-day Monica, who has this full story and has her own life and her own ambitions and goals. We get to see all of that."
In the comics, Monica gains superpowers of her own, developing the ability to fly, manipulate energy, and travel at the speed of light. It remains to be seen whether Parris' version of Monica will follow the same path, but in the meantime, what we do know is that WandaVision won't be the last time Marvel fans will see her. Parris is confirmed to star in the upcoming Captain Marvel 2 (hitting theaters in November 2022), alongside Brie Larson's Carol Danvers (a.k.a. Captain Marvel) and Iman Vellani's Kamala Khan (a.k.a. Ms. Marvel, who's getting her own Disney+ show later this year).
The sequel also marks a reunion for Parris and director Nia DaCosta, who worked together on DaCosta's upcoming horror remake Candyman. The actress says she's most excited to team up with DaCosta again and work alongside Larson and Vellani — plus explore the hinted-at history between Carol and Monica.
"We tease a little bit in WandaVision what the relationship between Carol and Monica might be, so to have the real estate of a full film to explore that is very exciting," Parris says. "There's history there. So that'll be a good time."