WANDAVISION: 7 TROPES FOR WRITING A MEGA-MIX Series

Friday, 5 March 2021




Marvel's WandaVision has had me HOOKED from the beginning. As a huge Marvel fan, I've always had a soft spot for Wanda since the comics and her VERY complex story, which had me so curious about how it would translate as a series when first announced.


WandaVision has radically turned the "typical sitcom" on its head to include a variety of genres, character tropes and narrative arcs that twist and turn at every episode leading to ultimately (we predict!) a very likely tragic end for our Wanda. 


So I figured today's post would focus on some (because there's a lot!) of the writing tropes we can learn from this MARVEL-ous series WandaVision: 


7 Tropes (there are SO many, this post could honestly go on and on) For Writing A Mega-mix Series. . .




1) Genre busting/Genre Throwback


" Aren't we a fine pair? " - Vision



When your story is a mix of many influences, genres and tropes! 


  • Something that does NOT fit the usual map of genre.

  • Not entirely original (inspired by something else) BUT is original enough that it's powerful. 

  • A work that combines a multitude of existing genres.

  • Specific focus on a few characters within your story and their experience in these mash-up of genres. 




2) Ontological Mystery


" This is our home now. i want us to fit in. " - Wanda




The main plot of this type of story is that it centres around the INVESTIGATION of the restricted environment that your characters find themselves in. 


  • Your characters go on a journey to discover themselves/ uncover secrets/ overcome the goal the environment creates and eventually escape it!

  • The genre of your project is usually a metaphor for the unknowns your characters are dealing with: what is their purpose? why are they there?  what can they do to help their situation? 

  • Usually any character that comes close to discovering "the truth" suffers in some way. 




3) Painting The Medium


" There’s an awful lot riding on this one, Wanda. If tonight doesn’t go just so, I think this could be the end. " - Vision




When you modify the presentation of your story to convey specific information.

  • A useful tool that can imply a certain trait or plot device about a scene/character without blatantly stating it. 

  • Can create the jarring sense/tension that something "not quite normal" is happening.

  • You are able to play with unusual types of storytelling creating a confused sense of reality for your audience. 

  • This type of portrayal is only obvious to your audience, not to your characters. Your characters can be semi-aware and notice certain aspects of this "weird" world they live in, but relate it to the "laws their universe" is governed by. 







4)  Breaking The Fourth Wall


" You're not my neighbour. 

And you're definitely not my friend. " - Wanda



Your characters are aware to some degree that their reality is either being watched by an audience or they interact with their creator or quite literally, break the fourth wall between them and their audience. 


  • Usually this is used for comedic effect, HOWEVER - used in serious character scenarios gives a powerful effect.

  • Often used when your character is experiencing a crisis/ severe emotional trauma/ moments of insanity.

  • If characters are trying or attempting to leave/break through the fourth wall then it implies the world they are inhabiting is far more malicious/scheming then they realised.





5) Bullying a dragon - subverted



" That's just it Wanda, he's not yours. " - Director Hayward.



DO NOT piss off the character who wields incredible power. Or do, and suffer the consequences.


  • A character that is often persecuted/marginalised/ provoked by others  because of the power they hold. 

  • A sympathetic character to audiences because their under-dog story and treatment.

  • Often these characters choose not to fight back (because they know the outcome will be devastating for their enemies) but when they do. . . major shit goes down!!




6) Cerebus Syndrome



" I can’t feel you.” – Wanda




Your light-hearted story has taken a BIG turn in tone, elements and continuity. 


  • Transition to this part of your story is usually tricky, painful and shocking for your characters and audience. 

  • Usually a more intense character theme is introduced here. 

  • A new character can be introduced during this arc establishing the new tone from here on. 






7) The Reveal 


" What is grief, if not love persevering? " - Vision



Your audience is FINALLY given the information 

they've craved or suspected all along. 


  • It changes the game/nature of your story.


  • Propels the suspense into action.

  • Often creates a cliffhanger/ a new set of questions and threat or suspense that your character must deal with in the aftermath of this reveal. 




" This is chaos magic Wanda. 

And that makes you, The Scarlet Witch. " 

- Agatha 




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