An early draft of the first Avengers movie included another female character in The Wasp. Sketches of Wasp even appeared in storyboards for the film by artist Federico D’Alessandro and we heard from other sources that the character's costume was quite similar to that of Angel in X-Men: First Class which opened in theaters a year before The Avengers. Ant-Man and Wasp are founding members of The Avengers in Marvel Comics, both appearing on issue #1 from 1963, but it's taken a dozen movies for the pair to appear onscreen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In Ant-Man, fans will finally meet not only Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), but his wife Janet Van Dyne as well, briefly. So far, the marketing of Ant-Man has been focused on the duality of the father-daughter relationships of Hank Pym and Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Cassie Lang, and the mentor-mentee relationship between Hank and Scott as the former passes the Ant-Man suit and technology down. But what about Hope? Why doesn't Hank enlist his physically able and brilliant scientist daughter to suit up?
We asked this obvious question to Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige when visiting the set of Ant-Man in October, the very first feature film to shoot at the brand new Pinewood Atlanta Studios location (Captain America: Civil War is also shooting there currently). How much does Wasp factor into the Ant-Man story?
"It factors in, in a number of spoiler-ish ways, but we will see Janet Van Dyne in action in this film. And part of sort of what happened to her. And then we will understand why that is the reason that he doesn’t want his daughter to follow in those footsteps. One of the reasons why he’s always so upset about superheroes in general, dismissive of them in general and also a reason why he doesn’t want her to put on the suit.
Because another very logical question in the movie is, why are you hiring this ex-con to put on your suit and do this? The answer is, because he has abilities in cracking security networks and in pulling off heists that nobody else has. Which is really why he needs to do it. But Hope is infinitely more capable of actually being a superhero in the beginning of this film, and we learn sort of that that’s ultimately when Hank reveals for the first time for the audience, and even the first time to Hope, what actually happened in the past and why he’s so nervous about putting on that suit. But there are things that we see towards the end of the film that indicate she could, she could get one of her own.
Later, when discussing the relevance of Ant-Man and how it fits into the MCU, Feige added one note that should please longtime Marvel Comics readers.
"We have - I don’t know if they’re around here, but in the offices of Disney we’ve got big blow-ups of Avengers No. 1. And I just love, you know, picking off the fact that each of those characters are finally coming to life, and two more will be hit in this movie."
What happens to Janet (Hope's mom, Hank's wife) in a flashback sequence explains much of Hank Pym's motivations in the film. He shares a sense of disdain for S.H.I.E.L.D., whom he served as an agent for in the past, and the idea of The Avengers. Hope however, doesn't share that sentiment, but the idea that "Hope is infinitely more capable of actually being a superhero" is a very interesting one.
We asked Evangeline Lilly about this next day, about what Hope thinks about her father recruiting an ex-con to become the next Ant-Man instead of herself.
"She hates it. [laughs] It's actually become a difficult question to address in the script. Why isn't Hope Ant-Man? In a day and age when Ant-Man was first invented, it would have made sense. Why would he hand it off to his daughter? That wouldn't make any sense at all. But in 2014, why wouldn't he hand it off to his daughter, especially a daughter as intelligent and capable as Hope? Of course we answer all those questions, but I can't tell you how or why."
Hank Pym recruits Scott Lang because he needs his specific set of skills. Lang is not only a talented thief but he's a master at electrical engineering as well which helps him do what he does. That's what Pym needs for a mission to steal something. Pym, otherwise, isn't interested in superheroes or putting his daughter - whom he shares a broken relationship with (Hope helped Darren Cross kick Pym out of his own tech company) - in harm's way.
There's also one more detail that could factor into Pym wanted to keep his daughter away from the suit and the Pym Particles that help allow it to shrink a person's size. The use of Pym Particles has a negative effect on the mental health of its user. For more on Pym Particles, read our explanation article.
Lilly also confirmed she signed a multi-picture contract with Marvel, as is standard for all talent joining the franchise, but is unsure of whether or not she'll return and if so, when and where. She is rocking that Wasp-y haircut in this film though, is a brilliant scientist, and each teaches Lang how to fight. With Marvel's need to add more female heroes to their universe, we wouldn't be surprised if Lilly suits up at some point in the future. A modified version of the Yellowjacket armor would sure make for an interest take on the Wasp outfit, stingers and all.
Marvel’s “Ant-Man” stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang aka Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne, Corey Stoll as Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket, Bobby Cannavale as Paxton, Michael Peña as Luis, Tip “T.I.” Harris as Dave, Wood Harris as Gale, Judy Greer as Maggie, David Dastmalchian as Kurt, and Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym. Directed by Peyton Reed and produced by Kevin Feige, Marvel’s “Ant-Man” delivers a high-stakes, tension-filled adventure on July 17, 2015.
Ant-Man opens in theaters July 17, 2015; Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot – July 28, 2017;Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Black Panther – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019;Inhumans – July 12, 2019.
Wasp art by Gabriel Soufer.