After Marvel turned to a swath of up-and-coming stars to help get their Avengers universe off the ground, they are bringing out the big guns for Ant-Man, the film set to kick off 'Phase Three' of the studio's cinematic universe. With Michael Douglas signed to play the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, and Paul Rudd starring as his successor Scott Lang, director Edgar Wright already has a one-two punch packing more star power than any of his prior projects.
But what would a Wright film (or a Marvel one, for that matter) be without a romance? With that in mind, the latest reports claim that Marvel is already making moves to cast Lost alum Evangeline Lilly as the female lead - a role long rumored and anticipated to grow into far more than a love interest, but a big screen incarnation of the female superhero known as 'Wasp.'
The report comes courtesy of Variety, claiming that Marvel is in "early talks" with Lilly - most recently seen on screen in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - to star opposite Rudd. Again, a superhero film featuring two good-looking leads in a budding romance is to be expected, but as is usually the case with Marvel's adaptations, the character she'll be playing could have serious ramifications on the film universe, beginning with The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
In the Marvel comics, Ant-Man is regularly mentioned in the same breath as Wasp, a.k.a. Janet van Dyne, his partner in both crime-fighting and marriage. It was no secret that the original plan for The Avengers was to have Wasp as part of the team, so when rumors of an Ant-Man project began to gain momentum, casting rumors included potential candidates for both miniature masked heroes.
One regular mention was Rudd's past co-star Rashida Jones, but it seems that Marvel is eying an actress who is currently enjoying a bit more blockbuster attention. However, it's being claimed that the role in question will be that of Hank Pym's daughter, further indicating just how much Edgar Wright will be re-writing comic book canon.
Since Janet van Dyne/Wasp was Pym's love interest in the comics, fans are faced with two questions: will Evangeline Lilly's role as Pym's daughter give her the gift of shrinking - or growing - genetically, or will her superpowers be written away entirely? We're inclined to think the former, but so far it's anyone's guess.
It isn't hard to see how the female lead being the daughter of Hank Pym (Douglas) would create comedy in line with Edgar Wright's strengths, adding the humor of a protective father who was no romantic slouch in his younger days (as a 1960s super spy). Douglas has described the script as "really fun," and the chance to play not only an aging superhero but a suspicious father (with good reason, since it seems Scott Lang will be stealing the Ant-Man suit from Pym) seems like a role Douglas could excel at.
It will be interesting to see how fans react to this news, as much as an indication of how much blockbuster cred Evangeline Lilly has earned since her time on ABC's Lost. She has been seen in supporting roles in Real Steel, and the aforementioned Desolation of Smaug, but a Marvel film would take her to a whole new level.
What do you think of the potential casting and changes to canon? Are you fine with changes being made to the Pym/Lang/van Dyne relationship, as long as we get a big screen incarnation of Wasp, or do you doubt the direction this will take the characters? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Ant-Man opens in theaters on July 17th, 2015.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.