Ant-Man & the Wasp: New Characters Explained

Now that San Diego Comic-Con is finally over, fandoms across the Internet are working to process all the new information they received. For fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, new insight was given into Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Captain Marvel. Rounding out the remainder of Phase 3 will be next year’s Ant-Man & the Wasp. And though work has only just begun on the film, some of the biggest reveals from Marvel’s Hall H panel on Saturday were dedicated to the movie.

Along with some teaser footage showing storyboards and designs for the new movie and its characters and a brand-new poster, a flurry of casting announcements arrived this past week for the sequel to 2015’s hit film. After weeks of rumors, a group of new heroes and villains for the film were revealed. After word of Randall Park being cast as Jimmy Woo, we learned who Walter Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen, and Laurence Fishburne will be playing characters in the movie. And most excitingly, the original Wasp was given an actor in the form of Michelle Pfeiffer. But considering how obscure Ant-Man was to the average moviegoer before his film, it’s worth diving into exactly who each of these actors will be portraying in Ant-Man & the Wasp.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet van Dyne / The Wasp

In Ant-Man, we met the MCU version of Dr. Hank Pym and his daughter Hope (given her mother’s maiden name of van Dyne). We also hear the story of Hank’s wife, Janet, who used to fight alongside him as the Wasp. During a flashback, we see the Wasp in action during the moment she sacrifices her life. Later, when Scott Lang is in the Quantum Realm, we even see a tease of a person floating in the ether. Given all of those nods, it’s been assumed for some time that Ant-Man & the Wasp would not only turn Evangeline Lilly's character into the new version of the hero, but also properly introduce us to her mother, Janet.

With the casting of Pfeiffer, it’s clear Janet will have a significant role in the film. Whether it’s in the modern day after being rescued from the Quantum Realm or during an extended flashback, it’s not yet known. In the comics, the Wasp was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in 1963’s Tales to Astonish #44. A wealthy socialite, Janet’s father is murdered by an alien being and leaves her wanting revenge. Turning to her father’s colleague Hank, Janet is gifted with the ability to shrink and grow wings. She also has an electrostatic blast and the ability to control insects. Joining with Hank as Ant-Man, they’re able to avenge her father and eventually they fall in love. From there, the two of them would go on to found the Avengers with Iron Man and company.

In the MCU, we’ll likely see a slightly different origin for the Wasp and her relationship with Hank. For one, the two of them existed long before the Avengers and spent most of their time running covert operations for S.H.I.E.L.D. Still, expect to see shades of their legendarily fraught partnership and teases to their earliest adventures in the new movie. And considering the first Ant-Man hinted that superheroes have had a long, secret history in the MCU, it’s safe to assume the idea of a Cold War Avengers will be fleshed out more in the sequel.

Laurence Fishburne and Dr. Bill Foster / Goliath

Along with Pfeiffer, the other huge name that will be joining Ant-Man 2 is Laurence Fishburne. Another veteran actor now in the MCU stable, we can expect Fishburne’s Dr. Bill Foster to share a good deal of backstory and screen time with Pym and van Dyne.

Like the original Ant-Man and Wasp, Foster is a size-changing hero with a long history in Marvel comics. Created by Lee and artist Don Heck, Foster first appeared in 1966’s Avengers #32 as an employee of Tony Stark before working with Pym to help cure him after he gets stuck in his 10 foot tall form. A noted biochemist, Foster’s work with Pym would eventually lead him to become Black Goliath in 1975’s Power Man #24. Over time, he’d adopt the name Giant-Man from Pym before settling in as the fourth Goliath. He’d go on to be the most notable casualty from Civil War in the comics, with his son Tom eventually picking up his mantle during Civil War II.

In Ant-Man & the Wasp, it’s almost guaranteed that Foster will have worked alongside Pym in the past. We may even see him reteam with our heroes to try and rescue Janet from the Quantum Realm. Whether his past—or present—as a size-changing hero will remain intact, we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out.

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Key Release Dates
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) release date: Jul 07, 2017
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017
  • Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
  • Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
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