During today’s WandaVision press junket, I was able to ask Marvel Studios One-Above-All, Kevin Feige, about how his late grandfather’s work on the Dick Van Dyke Show might have led to the creation of this series.
Me: “You guys just did talk quite a bit about Dick Van Dyke and while we were researching and thinking about what to talk to you about, we noticed that your late grandfather, Robert Short, worked on the show as an executive for like 5 years. I was wondering if you could talk about how that might have led to this project and how special it is to you to get to pay tribute to him in this way.“
It is special. My grandfather worked for Proctor and Gamble…and Proctor and Gamble was, back in the day, sponsor and producer on mainly soap operas but in the early, early, like 50s and 60s I think they did some primetime, so I don’t know that he was actually on the show but he was one of the sponsors and companies behind the show. And that might have had a little to do with it.
Feige went on to explain how his childhood love for sitcoms lead to the development of WandaVision:
There’s something fun that has happened. It’s mainly I watched too much TV as a kid and TV meant a lot to me and I found comfort in television families. One thing we talked about early on is these are not parodies, this is not direct satire…we love these things and they meant a lot to us, dated and silly as they may seem now, there’s a comfort factor there. So that was the primary factor behind…and the comic inspiration, of course, is what lead us to putting these ideas together.
And it wasn’t just Feige’s background that led to the series. Many of the people involved with the show, and with Disney, have a history with sitcoms:
There is a wonderful thing though that happened with Matt’s background as he’s talked about, which is so amazing. Lizzie’s background with her sisters, which didn’t even occur to me until I think we were standing in the writers’ room with pictures of Full House on the wall and I went, “Oh, right.” And yes, the connection with my grandfather going way back and even the people who oversee Marvel Studios and created Disney Plus, Bob Iger, ran ABC, I think, he was very influential in putting Family Matters on the air. And Alan Horn ran some of the greatest, biggest sitcoms of all time. And to a certain point, Matt included, this was everybody’s past, and it was fun to hear stories as we worked on this series about all these people that we worked with every day and getting an insight into where they come from. My grandfather being one of them.
And then there was Feige’s last comment of the day, “That was a good backup question.”
We’ve heard plenty about WandaVision was something near and dear to Feige’s heart and there’s no doubt that this interview shed some light on that.
WandaVision streams THIS FRIDAY, January 15th.