‘WandaVision’: Teyonah Parris Explains Monica Rambeau’s Physical and Emotional Change
What happens when you go through the Boundary for a third time? The 'WandaVision' star explains.
Dr. Darcy Lewis has a warning for Captain Monica Rambeau — don’t go back through the Hex again because it’s unclear what will happen if you do. But knowing what needs to be done to help Wanda Maximoff and save Westview, a little warning like that isn’t going to stop Monica from doing what she knows is right. So, off she goes through the boundary...again.
The latest episode of Marvel Studios’ WandaVision, “Breaking the Fourth Wall” revolves around Monica (along with assistance from FBI Agent Jimmy Woo), trying to get back inside the Westview anomaly. Though she first tries to get in via an armored vehicle, eventually Monica abandons that plan and goes racing through herself without protection. And about that warning Darcy gave her? Monica comes out the other side quite different and is a changed woman, in more ways than one.
During her first meeting with Marvel Studios for WandaVision, Teyonah Parris saw this scene from Episode 7 displayed on the walls around her. “I was like, ‘What's that? What happens? Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh,’” she explained to Marvel.com, recalling the scene for the first time. “I saw magical rays, and glimmers, and stuff on the storyboards...and it was my face! And I'm like, ‘How did they do this already?’”
Passing through the Hex for now a third time, Monica’s cells have been rewritten on a molecular level clearly giving her some sort of unspecified new power. It’s a change Parris knew was coming from the very beginning for Monica, continuing, “When I sat down and talked to the [WandaVision team], they explained it to me that through Monica's compassion, through her empathy, and her willingness to put her own body on the line, she sacrifices her own self for what she believes is the greater good [to go back to Westview]. And that happens by passing through this energy field too many times, essentially.”
It’s an emotional scene, as viewers actually watch Monica’s cells being rewritten as she goes through the Hex. As the S.W.O.R.D. agent fights against the force field, visions and memories of her past are there alongside of her, reminding her that she’s capable of breaking through to the other side.
“[Director] Matt [Shakman] guided me through [the scene],” Parris continued. “He had in his mind how it would all mesh together. I just tried to imagine the grief and the heaviness of Monica losing her mom and not being there, and the heaviness of the guilt. And then essentially at the end, wanting to make her proud, wanting to show [Maria Rambeau] that I will move forward.”
“And a part of it also almost felt like, when you don't cry, when you don't stop to grieve and then finally somebody says one thing and all of a sudden, it's just, ‘ah.’ That was Monica's actual physical moment to grieve and to just scream and let it out, whereas before she's been trying to get through it by helping Wanda, by throwing herself into work. But in this one moment here, she got to really sit in her grief and move through it physically. We saw the physical manifestation of Monica moving through her grief.”
Filming this scene was also a challenge, as it meant Parris had to go through the motions multiple times in her different outfits to create the meshed effect that viewers see. As she explained, “When we filmed it, that was on a stage [against] a green screen. Basically, I had to wear each of my outfits, get tethered to a rope, and pull to have that motion. And so, there was that technical aspect of it. That was a little difficult, especially the ones in the space suit and then the stockings and heels. I just switched to sneakers!”
Once she’s through the Hex and into Westview, Monica wastes no time trying to talk to Wanda, and desperately tries to explain that S.W.O.R.D. Acting Director Hayward is the one she should be mad at. Not wanting to talk to her former friend from Episode 3, Wanda blasts Monica out of her house and onto the front lawn. But instead of falling to the ground like she did last time Wanda hit her, this time Monica’s able to hold her own.
“My hips still hurt from that!” Parris said with a laugh. “There were so many times myself, Matt, and [head writer] Jac [Schaeffer], and [executive producer] Mary [Livanos] had these conversations where we're like well, at this point Monica has become a bit of a throwing doll. She's just gotten ejected, and sucked in, and thrown out, and all of these things. And so now that she's passed through the Hex for the umpteenth time, how does [Wanda’s powers] affect her?”
“Originally, I was supposed to get thrown to the ground,” Parris continued. “And then we kind of came up with the idea of, well, what if Monica is able to now kind of harness the powers a little bit? And so we landed on that landing. That was the first moment where I really got to feel like, ‘ooh, a Super Hero.’”
What challenges might Monica face next? Considering the episode ends with her snooping around Agnes’ house before being discovered by Pietro, we’re just going to have to wait and see how her new powers might come in handy.
Catch a brand-new episode of Marvel Studios’ WandaVision this Friday, streaming exclusively on Disney+!
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