WandaVision, Marvel’s new DisneyPlus show, debuted Friday with its first two episodes. CNET critic Richard Trenholm praised the retro-sitcom themed series, calling it “perfectly timed, kooky comfort viewing.” The show begins in black and white, with canned laughter as a backdrop and looking like a familiar old couple comedy along the lines of I Love Lucy. So it’s fitting that each episode includes one retro commercial. And those spoof ads aren’t just funny, they play off Marvel’s history.
(Possible WandaVision spoilers ahead.)
In the first episode, the commercial airs just about 10 minutes in, and begins with burned toast smoking in a retro toaster. It unfolds as an ad for the “new and improved ToastMate 2000,” which supposedly can toast even pie and meatloaf. As the toaster works busily away, it beeps eerily like a bomb, with its red light the only splash of color in the black-and-white ad. It turns out the toaster is a product of Iron Man Tony Stark’s family company, Stark Industries, and it features the ominous slogan “Forget the past, this is your future.”
But a Stark device beeping like a bomb has a frightening connection to Wanda. In 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Wanda and her twin brother, Pietro, reveal they were just 10 when they lost their parents in a bombing, and sat terrified for two days staring at the word “Stark” on an unexploded shell that landed nearby.
“We wait for two days for Tony Stark to kill us,” Wanda says in the film. It seems clear an ad for a toaster made by Stark that beeps like a bomb is no coincidence. While most of the episode is light and slapstick-ey and reminiscent of a fluffy sitcom, the commercial drops in with a reminder: There’s a darker past here, and the show could explore it.
In the second episode, the commercial comes at about 6:40 in, and appears to feature the same two actors as the first mock ad did. (CNET’s critic has some speculation about who the man and woman may be.)
The second ad shows an elegant couple heading for a night out and hawks the man’s Strücker watch. Not familiar with Strücker? Baron Wolfgang von Strücker is the Marvel villain who controls the evil organization Hydra in Avengers; Age of Ulton, and he’s the one who experimented on Wanda and her twin. So it’s especially chilling that the watch says “Hydra” right on its face, and has a menacing slogan — “Strücker: He’ll make time for you.”
Wanda and Vision may be attempting to live a sitcom-perfect suburban life, but the ads are a reminder that things may get serious before the full nine episodes are up. Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige even acknowledges the commercials are important.
“How (are) other truths of the show beginning to leak out?” Feige said, according to SlashFilm. “It’s just a strange version of the ’50s commercial or ’60s commercial … you’ll have to keep watching the series and understand. If you have been watching all the movies, you might be able to start connecting what those things mean to the past.”
The ads aren’t the only Easter eggs that reward close watching by Marvel fans. Check out our roundup of other noteworthy moments, including Vision’s gum, and that unnerving beekeeper.
A new WandaVision episode — and presumably, a new commercial — will premiere on Disney Plus on Jan. 22.
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— to www.cnet.com