The Essential Films In The MCU You Need To See To Understand ‘WandaVision’

You're not alone if you're feeling very confused by the characters and references in 'WandaVision'.

WandaVision MCU ranking

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Look, WandaVision — the new superhero serial from Disney+ and Marvel — is definitely a show worth watching. It’s a strange new offering for the genre, that crackles with fun energy, gorgeous production, masterful performances, and an enthralling aura of mystery.

The show follows two of the Avengers — Wanda Maximoff and the robot Vision — and explores their romance in a strange world that resembles classic sitcoms of yore. The mystery of how they got there, and what it all means, is slowly being unravelled each episode.

In fact, part of the joy of the show is the wealth of clues and hints about the greater mystery, and the dense layering of references from the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, which often help provide context for these reveals.

But a lot of people have been drawn to the success of WandaVision who aren’t huge MCU fans, or are simply casual fans, blissfully unengaged with the  so here’s a quick primer of the essential films to watch — as quickly and efficiently as possible — to get you up to date on the most important characters and biggest references, to enjoy WandaVision.

The Avengers

This film serves as the launching point to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a combined narrative. While there’s plenty of standalone films that precede it, this is the best place to begin — it introduces the language of superhero films, the stakes, the key players, and the the beginning of a narrative arc that continues to be told all the way through to WandaVision. You need to watch this so you GET the next Avengers film.

It’s a good film. A bunch of aliens invade New York, some superheroes need to learn to love each other in order to stop them, or something to that effect. It’s a bit basic compared to some later offerings, but it’s still really fun.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

This is the film most packed with essential WandaVision lore, as it’s the introduction of both Wanda and Vision. Everything you need to know about their very esoteric origin stories is crammed into this one film, so give it a crack.

That said — it’s not an all time great MCU film, that suffers some real plot flabbiness at various points, and unfortunately Wanda and Vision are the cause for a lot of this. That said! You gotta watch this film if you want to know what the hell is going on.

Captain America: Civil War

For reasons that are difficult to explain, Captain America’s third film has a whole bunch of characters from the Avengers, but also some other people aren’t invited. That’s life I guess! Anyway, Wanda and Vision are involved, and it’s an important window into who they are, and a continuation of their story.

This film is really good too, if you enjoy watching good guys punch each other a bunch.

Doctor Strange

Disney/Marvel have been very clear about the fact that WandaVision helps pave the way for the next Doctor Strange film, Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness. We don’t know how yet, but it seems like important homework, that will probably become clear soon.

Doctor Strange is a messy film, which I don’t love, but don’t hate. It certainly involves Benedict Cumberbatch.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past

You just have to take my word on this.

The X-Men films are just a seething hot mess, but this one is the best of them all. Wolverine goes back in time to kill someone, there are big robots, it’s great.

Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War

The beginning of the end of the huge Avengers franchise. Infinity War is all about an evil man named Thanos who wants a bunch of powerful and sparkly gems. This is very relevant because one of those gems is stuck in Vision’s head. Wanda and Vision are a huge part of the film because of this horrible fact.

This is a great film too — huge and epic and indicative of the scale of the MCU.

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel special look

Captain Marvel sits in a weird prequel timeline, but it helps set up one of the most important characters in WandaVision. If you want to understand why she’s so deeply immersed in SHIELD and SWORD, it’s worth watching.

This film is so close to being really good, but it just doesn’t quite get there. There’s a lot to love though, and you won’t have a bad time.

Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame Easter Eggs

To be honest, Vision and Wanda don’t feature a lot in this — but the consequences of the film deeply impact the new world that WandaVision takes place in. It’s pretty crucial. Also, how are you gonna watch Infinity War and then not end the story? You’d have to be mad.

There’s PLENTY of other movies in the MCU you could watch for more obscure references — an entire extended universe of them. But this SHOULD give you all the info you need to get a robust appreciation of all the facets of this show.

WandaVision is currently streaming on Disney+.