Why WandaVision’s Aspect Ratio Changed Twice

Warning: SPOILERS ahead for WandaVision episode 7, “Breaking the Fourth Wall.” 

WandaVision‘s aspect ratio has two very noticeable changes in episode 7, which fits with the major shifts in the MCU show’s storytelling. WandaVision episode 7 is its biggest installment to date, as the veil is finally lifted to reveal the true villain of the show. Rather than Scarlet Witch be the one who is behind Westview, it’s actually her nosy neighbor Agnes – now confirmed to be Agatha Harkness – who is in control, manipulating events to her whims, perhaps to boost her own magical powers and who knows what other nefarious purposes.

To fit with its big changes, there are also shifts in how WandaVision is presented. Since the beginning, WandaVision has played around with its format. The early episodes were shown in a boxy 4:3 aspect ratio, which matched the older TV sitcoms the show was aping, while the “real world” plot with S.W.O.R.D. was in 21:9.. In episode 6, which brought the show into the 1990s-2000s (with references to both), it switched between the latter and another format, with the Westview story now in standard 16:9 that befits modern TVs,

That continues in WanxdaVision episode 7, but with a couple of key moments that merge things together. The first comes when Vision wakes up in Westview, among the circus that was S.W.O.R.D. Rather than an instant shift, viewers watch the screen gradually expand, though it switches back and forth later again as normal when returning to the world outside of the Hex and back into Westview. The Vision moment is reversed, though, towards the end of the episode, when Wanda makes her way into Agnes’ basement, which turns out to be Agatha’s lair, or magical gateway of some kind. This time, the screen gradually contracts into 21:9. The changing of aspect ratios in such an overt way is a neat trick that helps land great impact – The Mandalorian also used it to good effect – but in WandaVision, it also shows the merging together of the realities, as the barrier between them begins to be removed and the lines blur.

With Agatha now out in the open, then there’s no need to keep up the pretence of presenting WandaVision as its own TV show, and things can revert to “normal”. At the same time, it also cements how Vision has been sucked back into Westview, and the difficulties faced in escaping it. Most of WandaVision’s major players are now in Westview – Jimmy Woo and Director Hayward are the only notable recurring figures still outside the Hex – and with WandaVision episode 7’s commercial teasing the Nexus, or in other words a means to the MCU’s multiverse, then the aspect ratio shift further highlights how everything is colliding and coalescing together.

While the aspect ratio shift of Vision waking up is important, and maybe hints at how he can never live outside the bubble, the second serves a purpose even beyond connecting its realities together. By shifting into the 21:9 format, it sets up a major showdown with Agatha Harkness in the remaining WandaVision episodes. It’s unclear if Scarlet Witch has fallen under her control, as Monica appears to with her eyes turning purple in WandaVision episode 7’s post-credits scene, but if so then it could be that Vision, the only person who can’t survive outside the Hex, is also the only one who can stop Agatha. This last clash fits with the show being an MCU spectacular (as does having a post-credits scene), and so the aspect ratio now matching the “real” MCU world outside the Hex meshes with that too.

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