Spoilers for WandaVision below!
Update: The commercial seen in episode 3 of WandaVision advertises Hydra Soak. Another Hydra nod, this one actually traces back to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In Season 4, Coulson speaks of a “blue soap” that Hydra secretly uses to implant false memories in the minds of clueless civilians. The packaging for the soap in the WandaVision commercial is, of course, blue. To top it off, the actress in the ad says, “you read my mind!” Our original article has more insight.
The MCU is back after a break that felt longer than just a little over a year. WandaVision is certainly an interesting choice for Marvel’s return, but of course, many other factors came into play with the film industry adjusting to the ongoing pandemic. One thing is for sure, Marvel fans were craving for something new. WandaVision debuted last week to widespread acclaim thanks to the dedication and zany antics on display. Naturally, with a show with so much mystery involved, fans were always going to sport their “tin foil” theory hats from day one – but the amount of work put into theories so far is impressive to say the very least. A handful, in particular, deal with a concept never before seen in the MCU, in-universe commercial breaks.
The first two episodes of WandaVision feature brief commercials that fit in a time slot that would theoretically play out if this show was actually broadcast on TV. The sitcom plots of WandaVision fade out, and then viewers are suddenly presented products and advertisements that fit into the schemes of the time periods at hand. Anyone who has seen the show (and any form of marketing) knows that the Marvel series will feature the aesthetics and formulas of the many American sitcoms across time. Taking all kinds of inspiration from everything between I Love Lucy and Modern Family. Now, almost nothing in the MCU is there just to take up space. In fact, many adore the idea of every detail, no matter how big or small, being intricate and strategically presented to them. This is one of plenty reasons leading to the MCU’s mass appeal. Though WandaVision presents a unique challenge.
To put it simple, the commercials are very important and will only get more layered as the show progresses. In the search for answers, fans should start with the words of the Marvel boss himself, Kevin Feige. The studio president was asked to shed some light on the in-universe commercials during the press day for WandaVision. Feige, being the all-seeing eye of the MCU, is always asked questions that he frankly can’t answer due to spoilers. Upon being asked about the commercials, Feige showed some hesitation, but it was too good of a topic to not give any insight to.
If this is the very first Marvel MCU thing you’re watching, it’s just a strange version of a 50s commercial or 60s commercial that you’ll have to keep watching the series to understand. If you have been watching all the movies, you might be able to start connecting what those things mean to the past.
Feige basically spells the obvious. But thanks to dedicated fans across the web, these first two commercials are already being broken down in interesting ways. The commercial from episode one being an ad for Stark Industries’ latest invention, a toaster called the Toast Mate 2000. The commercial from episode two being an ad for a luxurious Swiss watch made by Strücker. The universal connections are instantly clear – even crystal clear for new viewers thanks to centered logos on screen – Tony Stark and Hydra. These two topics, of course, tie back to Wanda Maximoff’s first appearance in Age of Ultron. Wanda and her twin brother Pietro first met the Avengers as adversaries, coming off years of Hydra experimentation. The rogue A.I. Ultron managed to recruit them after Hydra’s downfall thanks to one big reason: their shared hatred of Tony Stark.
So catching up to the commercials in WandaVision, the toaster is a clear call back to Stark and the watch is named after Hydra leader Baron Von Strücker, who specifically watched over the Maximoff twins. Pretty simple so far, but here’s where it gets interesting. First of all, the Toast Mate 2000 takes a long time to work in the commercial, ticking off before awkwardly burning some bread to a crisp. The way it ticks sounds pretty close to well… a bomb. Something is clearly off as the actors showing the toaster are visibly uncomfortable. This has lead many to believe that the toaster is a callback to the Stark bomb that killed the Maximoff’s parents in Sokovia, a story told by Wanda in Age of Ultron. Fans have also connected the sound effect to the bomb that first detonated next to Tony Stark in Iron Man. It does sound dangerously close but this could be a coincidence?
Secondly, the time on the Strücker watch reads 2:42. Details with numbers usually come in the form of addresses or license plates, and WandaVision already did the latter. Wanda and Vision drive into their new neighborhood in a car with a license plate that reads “0102”. Avengers issue 102 from 1972 is the comic debut of the Grim Reaper – a scythe-wielding villain with ties to Vision who has also already been hinted at in the show. Going back to the 2:42 on the watch, Avengers issue 242 is probably not the relation here since it it features the Beyonder, a villain that is not as strongly connected to the material at hand. However, googling “Avengers vol. 2 issue 42” brings us to Vision Quest, an arc from the West Coast Avengers series of 1985. This famous story sees Wanda distressed as Vision is dismantled and rebooted in a pale white form with no past memories. This story eventually reveals that Wanda and Vision’s twin sons aren’t actually real and are connected to the demon Mephisto. Fans are heavily assuming Mephisto to be the true villain of WandaVision and the 2:42 nod supports the notion.
The toaster symbolizing the Stark bomb that killed Wanda’s parents is pretty dark, and it gets even darker with the popular fan theory of the two actors in the commercials actually being Wanda’s parents. Ithamar Enriquez and Victoria Blade play the two nameless actors in each commercial, and will more than likely reappear in every single episode. With each commercial representing the trauma behind Wanda’s pivotal character aspects, assuming that they are actually her parents isn’t too much of a stretch (especially when they already play a couple in the Strücker ad). The answer won’t be clear until far later in the season, but for now their reoccurring faces adds to the charm and quirkiness of WandaVision.
What more pivotal moments of Wanda’s history could these commercials pull from? The following topics are all on the table: Ultron, the Battle of Sokovia, Pietro’s Death (You didn’t see that coming?), Crossbones’ suicide bombing from Civil War, the Sokovia Accords, the Mind Stone, and last but not least, Vision’s own death at the hands of Thanos. A retro Ultron-themed commercial would be especially hilarious. The first two episodes of WandaVision leave the door open for endless possibilities, and Ultron making a cameo would not only be warranted with the connection to Vision, but long overdue. James Spader’s take on the character needs more love as it is. Funny enough, since the show pays homage to the plots of old sitcoms, there can definitely be an episode where the “father in-law” drops in unannounced. If not a robot, it could totally be Spader himself in the flesh and it would work because none of this is real anyway! If Marvel isn’t that crazy, then a commercial for a new Ultron-lawnmower would do just fine.