Meet the Songwriters Behind the ‘Wandavision’ Hit ‘Agatha All Along’


This story contains spoilers for the seventh episode of “WandaVision.”

If you are a fan of the Disney+ Marvel series “WandaVision,” there are five words that have been stuck in your head for the past week: “It was Agatha all along.”

The 62-second ear worm appears in Episode 7, “Breaking the Fourth Wall,” and its purpose is simple: It explains what Wanda and Vision’s nosy neighbor, Agnes (Kathryn Hahn), has been up to this entire time. It has also taken on a life of its own, having spawned numerous trap, rock and rap remixes in the days since the episode debuted on Feb 19.

“None of us knew this was going to be the song,” said Robert Lopez, 46, the composer who created the songs for the series with his wife of 17 years, the Oscar and Grammy-winning lyricist Kristen Anderson-Lopez, 48. “We woke up that morning to find that it was all over the internet, and it was like, ‘This is awesome.’”

It isn’t the first time the songwriting power couple has created an infectious ear worm, having written tunes like the Oscar- and Grammy-winning song “Let It Go” for the Disney animated movie “Frozen” and the Oscar-winning ballad “Remember Me” for the Pixar animated film “Coco.” They’ve won a pile of Oscars, Emmys, Tonys and Grammys between them. (Lopez, who co-conceived and co-wrote the hit musicals “Avenue Q” and “The Book of Mormon,” is in rarefied air as the only double EGOT — someone who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony, twice over.)

But it is a minute-long riff on “The Munsters” theme that has burned itself into the brains of the collective internet over the past week.

“It’s got an ‘Addams Family’ twist with an electric harpsichord,” Anderson-Lopez said. “It’s super-duper cool and feels like something you’d find in a haunted house.”

Sung by Hahn and a chorus of male backup singers (including Lopez), it delivers the dramatic revelation that Agnes, is the powerful witch Agatha Harkness — and that it is she, not Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), who is behind all the oddities happening in sleepy little Westview. (Having killed a dog, she reveals, was among her dastardly deeds).

When the song debuted on Spotify and iTunes on Tuesday, it leaped to the No. 1 slot on the iTunes soundtrack charts. (The trap remix created by the hip-hop artist Leland Philpot is “the most glorious thing,” Anderson-Lopez said.)

In a phone interview from Connecticut on Wednesday, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez shared how the track came together, their trick for getting their own songs out of their own heads, and why Hahn’s character is “perfidious” rather than “hideous.” These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Did you have any idea “Agatha All Along” was going to blow up like this?

ROBERT LOPEZ No, not at all. We were sort of sad that we were winding down and we didn’t know if we’d have any hits come out of this thing. But my goodness.

What part of the song came to you first?

LOPEZ We have a theme — the “WandaVision” motif — that’s in every single song. So that was how we began with “Agatha.”

KRISTEN ANDERSON-LOPEZ But, in a way, “Agatha All Along” was there all along. We’ve been spoon-feeding a tritone that’s called the devil’s interval — the [soft voice] duh-duh-duh — throughout the series. And then ultimately, when the big reveal happens with the [thundering voice] DUH! DUH! DUH!, everyone had been hearing it steadily, so it felt like an old friend.

Where did you look for inspiration for the song?

LOPEZ We started with a different idea for a version of the song more along the lines of “That Girl.”

ANDERSON-LOPEZ But it just wasn’t right; it just wasn’t churning my blood the way that I wanted it to. So then we thought: It’s a show about witches, right? So let’s embrace it. What other shows are about witches and Goth figures? “The Addams Family,” “The Munsters,” the “Monster Mash” — all these Halloween-y kind of songs that have this grinding, growling bari sax.

LOPEZ We also have an electric harpsichord, which is what they use in “The Addams Family.” That’s the thing going dit-dit-dit-dit-dit-dit — the repeated chorus.

Who does what when you’re writing a song?

LOPEZ It changes with every song. Sometimes we’ll write it together in the same room, sometimes one of us will write the whole thing and the other one will take credit. In this case, Kristen wrote the full lyrics and gave them to me on a sheet of paper, and then I went to town with music.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ I would wake up in the morning, and sometimes I’d be so excited to write the songs that I would write them in the shower. Get out, get a towel, scribble them on a piece of paper with drips, blurring ink — and Bobby would compose them by 10 a.m., and we’d record them after lunch, and then get notes at like 5 p.m.

“Perfidious” is quite the lyric! Where did that come from?

ANDERSON-LOPEZ We knew we didn’t want to say hideous, because Agatha is still hot. So I looked at a rhyming dictionary and was like: “Perfidious! It’s so great! It’s so perfect!”

LOPEZ We always have an SAT word in the lyrics somewhere because people appreciate learning a word. And if they already know it, they appreciate being able to brag that they know it.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ Right! “Frozen fractals …” [from “Let It Go”]

You’re making songwriting sound super easy, but obviously it’s not. What is the most challenging part of the songwriting process for you?

ANDERSON-LOPEZ There’s theme-song writing, and then there’s musical theater songwriting, which are very, very different. For something like “Frozen 2” or a Broadway show, the songs have to carry so much story. You can work several days on it. But for the theme songs, we just had to set tone for each episode.

LOPEZ The story of a full-length musical is the hardest thing in the world to get right. Making sure that the songs support the important moments, get the character from Point A to Point B … that’s a whole torture room.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ Musical theater songwriting is like being an architect of a building, but with a theme song, it’s more like you’re designing the lobby.

LOPEZ But we like short form!

ANDERSON-LOPEZ We like it when it’s done by five and we can go feed our kids and have a cocktail.

How do you know when a song is finished?

LOPEZ For the most part, with “WandaVision,” they’d just have a few notes for every song. We were hitting bull’s-eyes all the time — it never happens that way! This was just the most fun project that either of us have ever worked on.


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