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“WandaVision”: A Visionary Production

Published on March 9, 2021, at 7:05 p.m. 
by Rachel Fuller. 

Since its founding in 1923, The Walt Disney Company has sought to adapt entertainment to the changing world and bring joy to people of all ages. One of these innovations is Disney+, a video streaming service that hosts both classics and streaming exclusives from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Disney+ has reached a whopping 90 million subscribers in less than 14 months of existence.

Streaming services need something signature, exciting or nostalgic to compete with other services and gain subscribers. Disney+ relied on this nostalgia at first to pull in subscribers with the lure of the Disney Vault, releasing all of its classic favorites exclusively on the streaming service. If you’re anything like me, this was a huge draw for initial subscribers. But how could Disney+ compete with services like Netflix that were producing original content?

Disney+ has most recently found success in its original Marvel miniseries “WandaVision.” With a new episode releasing every Friday from Jan. 15 to March 5, “WandaVision” has kept subscribers hooked. The show notoriously ends most episodes on a cliffhanger, quickly cutting to a “Please Stand By” screen and rolling credits. Disney+ takes advantage of the return to weekly episodes instead of releasing the show all at once. The company benefits from this format; fans share theories online and on social media about what they just saw and what could happen next week.

“WandaVision” is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four, a group of movies and television series set to release from 2021-2023. The MCU releases its phase announcements in advance, a strategic move to engage fans and get them guessing at the connections and crossovers in productions. “WandaVision” has opened an exciting new door for Disney fans — the multiverse, the concept that every production in the MCU is a part of various alternate realities. This adaptation is a momentous move on Disney’s part to take full advantage of its vast source material in Marvel Comics.

Disney gets publicity in a genius way: by letting the fans do the work. When you have such a dedicated fanbase and so much source material to draw from, it’s no surprise that fan theories take over social media like wildfire. These theories help promote upcoming films and shows. A current example is the recent news that “WandaVision”’s storyline leads directly into “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

By taking advantage of its actors’ social media accounts, Disney also generates publicity. Before the title was officially released, three stars of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” posted a different title announcement on Instagram, each with a different film name and graphic. This clever use of social media caused buzz for the upcoming production, leaving fans wondering which of the titles is the real one.

Disney is using “WandaVision” as a catalyst for its upcoming productions, releasing small amounts of information at a time to encourage fan engagement and hype. Its marketing and PR techniques make Disney+ a force to be reckoned with in the competitive entertainment industry of streaming services.

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