Brimming with haunted roads and the ever-lurking threat of the Jersey Devil, our state is no stranger to the bizarre. All too often, weird and unexplainable phenomena happen here that leave people searching for answers. So it’s no surprise that the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a creative hub for mysteries and magic, chose New Jersey as the backdrop for its groundbreaking new addition, “WandaVision.”
The genre-defying series, now streaming on Disney+, stars the hauntingly charming Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and her mysteriously resurrected beau, Vision (Paul Bettany). What first presents as a giddy 1950s sitcom starring the two Avengers attempting to raise a family in suburbia, matures into a distressing story about the true power of grief.
Mimicking the best (and strangest) slapstick tropes of the past decades is the show’s clever and ominous way of disarming its viewers. In actuality, what we’re seeing is Wanda’s magic (perhaps manipulated by a nefarious foe) imprisoning an entire town in real-time, her unchecked trauma transforming the reality of Westview, New Jersey into an inescapable citywide sitcom.
Is Westview a Real Town in New Jersey?
The real Westview in New Jersey isn’t exactly a town, but rather an ‘unincorporated community’ in Bergen County. This gave Marvel’s set designers and producers the opportunity to create an area where the New Jersey aesthetic is loud and proud. Driving montages from Episode Four, “We Interrupt This Program” showcase cars cruising down the state highways and the ‘Welcome to New Jersey’ sign we’ve grown accustomed to. Other homages to our state are a New Jersey state flag that hangs over Westview’s library, visually accurate NJ driver’s licenses, and a casual name-drop of Hackensack.
The cozy home used by Wanda and Vision to start their family looks plucked from your friendly neighborhood cul-de-sac. The one-story house boasts the classic Dutch Architecture we see along our very own roads. Because Wanda’s power transforms every aspect of the town into her ideal decade of choice, viewers can experience a New Jersey main street in the ‘70s and see what a neighborhood Halloween would look like in the ‘80s. While the people of Indiana can point to the fictional town Hawkins from “Stranger Things”, natives of New Jersey can find representation in Westview on “WandaVision.”
Marvel’s Return to the Garden State
The MCU has dug its heels deep in the Garden State before. Camp Lehigh, the military base Marvel set in New Jersey, made its first debut in “Captain America: The First Avenger”. Most known as the birthplace of Captain America through science and experimentation, Camp Lehigh pays homage to the scientific legacy of New Jersey. The base is also reminiscent of the dozens of real military bases stretched across the state. New Jersey is set to reprise its hosting role when Jersey City’s Kamala Khan, the MCU’s first Muslim superhero Ms. Marvel, is set to make her debut later this year.
Filling the void left by existential television pioneers like “Lost”, “WandaVision” is a refreshing return to deeply calculated storytelling. All rise, fan theories! And with a budget greater than [that of] “Avenger’s Endgame”, WandaVision’s nine-episode run is Disney’s push to reinvigorate the superhero hype of the 2010s as they enter their long-awaited Phase Three.
It’s truly a great time to be a Marvel fan, unless you’re trapped in Westview, New Jersey with the Scarlet Witch.
Where Was WandaVision Actually Filmed?
Although Westview, New Jersey is named after a real town, “WandaVision” was actually filmed in both Atlanta and Los Angeles. Hundreds of skilled set designers transformed iconic film lots like Warner Bros’ Ranch and Disney’s Golden Oaks Ranch into Marvel’s newest venture. Just as the show is a love letter to sitcoms past, the production revisited actual filming locations used in “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie” both of which heavily inspired the first few episodes. Further, to really recreate the golden age of television, a real live studio audience was brought in to provide an authentic laugh track.
If you’ve tuned in, do you think WandaVision accurately depicts life in New Jersey? Is Wanda the villain in the city-turned sitcom? Let us know in the comments below.
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