Marvel has set its ardent fans abuzz with the debut of WandaVision on Disney Plus. The first two episodes lit up discussion boards with passionate discussions of plot twists, Marvel arcana, and Easter eggs. While there have been many good guesses about what it all means (SPOILER ALERT: I will be trying to avoid spoilers here), they are, at the end if the day, guesses. But there is one thing that can be figured out with certainty: Where WandaVision was filmed.
Interior scenes, shot in the style of classic TV sitcoms, were shot on sound stages. Exterior scenes were shot on two different backlots, one with a rich history in Hollywood, and another that is not nearly as well known. Let’s take a little tour through the (mostly) black and white world of WandaVision.
The title sequence of the first episode sends Wanda and Vision on a trip down a typical suburban street. If any of the houses look familiar, it is with good reason!
This is Blondie Street, on the Warner Studio Ranch lot in the San Fernando Valley. Originally owned by Columbia Studios, a couple of the houses on this street date back to the 1930s, when they were built for a film series based on the comic strip Blondie. Although they have been altered and remodeled, removed and replaced over the years, some can still be recognized from their weekly appearances in such vintage TV series as I Dream of Jeannie, The Partridge Family, Gidget, Dennis the Menace, Hazel, and Bewitched.
Of course, there’s a friendly mailman, manicured lawns, and a white picket fence.
That house with the white picket fence? That’s Wanda’s dream home. (And take a look at the house down the street with the peaked dormer windows!)
Here is a view of that street at the Warner Ranch, with the houses we have seen on the left.
And here is a clear view of the house that can be seen behind the mailman. This is the house next door to Wanda’s.
Here is Wanda’s dream home. It’s a snug little bungalow set among the trees. (Did I mention there’s a white picket fence?)
Here is the actual location at the Warner Ranch. Yes. It has a second floor. Nothing a little digital wizardry cannot erase. (It is the same house. I promise.)
As our title characters arrive home at the end of the opening, the camera angle is kept low, in order to conceal the fact that there is a second story on the actual house. One can also see that the sidelight windows on either side of the door have been replaced with solid panels.
There is only one other location seen in the first episode. Vision’s office is established by an exterior shot of a rather standard issue mid-century office building.
Here it is: Computational Services, Inc. Any sitcom husband would be proud to work in a place this vaguely defined.
This building is not at the Warner Studio Ranch. It is, in fact, many miles away at the Business District backlot at Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch. All it needed was the right signage and a few additional props.
Here it is with its surrounding business facades. You will notice there is a lamppost that is not seen in the program. Perhaps that is why they parked a T-Bird at the curb— so you won’t see the brackets sticking up out of the sidewalk.
The title sequence for the second episode is animated, with a clear nod to the classic sitcom Bewitched. Who wouldn’t fall in love with a smart, beautiful, resourceful women with magical abilities?
The Westview billboard seen in the title sequence includes a beautiful two story dream home, complete with a car in the driveway.
The house on the billboard is an exact match (except for the chimney!) for the Warner Ranch home of Wanda and Vision.
When Wanda emerges from the front door there is now more detail to her dream home.
Wanda spots something odd in the rose bushes. The elaborate porch across the street belongs to an almost actual house on the Warner lot.
This fairly substantial structure was built for the motion picture Small Soldiers (1998). Although it is a shell, it was completed on all four sides and has been seen in a number of films and television productions.
The house was given an elaborate Eastlake makeover when it appeared as the home of the Darling Sisters in the TV series Pushing Daisies.
Back on Wanda’s side of the street, as Agnes playfully “shoots” the mailman, there is a pretty clear view of the house with the two dormers up on the corner. We are not treated to a front view of this house in the episode.
If we had seen it, viewers would recognize it as 1164 Morning Glory Circle, the home of Samantha and Darrin Stevens for the entire run (black and white AND color) of Bewitched (1964-1972). The house sits on a slight reverse curve, and closes the view to the end of Blondie Street. In this view Blondie Street is off to the left. You can see one of those prominent dormer windows on the left hand side of the second floor.
As Agnes and Wanda make their way to the Westview Pool Club, we can see that Wanda’s simple white picket fence is now a sturdy rail fence with a bank of roses in the yard.
Dottie and her handmaidens are seen emerging from her house, next door to Wanda’s home.
The sidelights at the front door, arrangement of columns, and brick porch and foundation exactly match the house to the right of Wanda’s dream home.
As Wanda and Agnes greet Dottie and the girls, we see a reverse shot with a clearer view of the house from Small Soldiers.
The establishing shot of the Westview Pool Club is easily matched to a view at the Warner Ranch lot. (In fact, you can see the white marquee tent to the right of Wanda and Vision’s car in the title sequence of episode one.)
This swimming pool is the only functional pool on an existing Hollywood backlot. The brick edging and location of the diving board are seen in the Pool Club. You can also see the house with the prominent bay window and dormers just to the right of the marquee tent. Not seen in the episode is the plainer house next door.
A slight sidetrack: the house next door was most recently seen in the entire run of the Disney/ABC sitcom The Middle. The second floor was removed and the house and yard were “drabbed down” to make it a fitting residence for the Hecks.
Under the marquee tent poolside, the house across the street can be seen through some potted palms.
Here is a clear view of that house on the Warner Ranch lot.
As Wanda and Geraldine confide, we see the pool and a substantial building just beyond.
Here is the same view, without the Westview Swim Club set dressing. This building is actually the side and back of the Small Soldiers house.
As Wanda deals with Dottie and her minions, Vision makes his way into town to confront the Westview Public Safety committee at the town library.
The library, like his office building, is located far away, at Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch Business District in Valencia. Note that the lamp post at the sidewalk has been removed, and another car is parked in front of its former location.
Before getting to the talent show, viewers are treated to an expansive overhead shot of Westview. This is the main road through the Golden Oak Business District, with a couple of critical changes. The first clue that this is a backlot is the leisurely curve in the street. This is a visual trick used to make comparatively short stretches of road appear much longer.
Here is a ground view of the right hand side of the street. At least three buildings are exact matches. The major change is the digital erasure of the octagonal tower with the peaked roof, as well as the Santa Clarita Mountains beyond. In their place are a few trees and a prominently place water tower. This is a digital addition.
Another ground level view shows the deleted building, the plain brick buildings that close the view around the corner, as well as recognizable buildings on the left.
Here is a closer look at the buildings on the left. In addition to the water tower, it is likely the billboard for Squeaky Shine was also digitally added.
Moving further to the left, we see the building with three prominent arches. Fun fact: This is the left side of the library.
In a final shot of the Golden Oak Ranch Business District, we can plainly see the library and the building that encloses the area where the talent show was staged. This building was given a low dome in the establishing shot, along with that billboard and the water tower.
As an aside, what’s up with that water tower? Not only was it digitally inserted into the establishing shot of downtown Westview, it turns up three times in the animated title sequence.
There it is…
There it is again…
…and there it is.
The talent show was staged on this small triangular park. The stage was placed at the street corner, with the audience seated at tables with their backs to the prominent three sided building behind. The library can be seen on the right, and the peaked tower that was digitally removed in the establishing shot is at the center.
This is the view toward the stage. The building across the street is easily matched to a building at the Golden Oak Business District.
Here is that building, on the left. It appears the cornice was removed.
The Wentworth Department Store has a fairly elaborate facade at ground level, with a plain panel above. This could have been digitally inserted above the second floor, or added as a fairly simple addition to the facade.
This is the left hand side of the same building. The art deco panels and narrow, paired windows are an exact match for the Department Store.
Back home that night, Wanda and Vision step out of their two story home to investigate a strange noise.
I have no idea what this is, or what it means! But I do know this: It happened in the middle of Blondie Street, at the Warner Studio Ranch in the San Fernando Valley.