Contributed by Mike Manolo
“It’s about damn time!”
Those final words from uttered by Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) during the first Ant-Man film’s mid-credits scene are what rang in the ears of every fan. This wasn’t just because they were frothing at the mouth to see long-time comic book Avenger, The Wasp, finally in action, but also because 2015 represented a time where female superheroes were still heavily under-represented in the geek-culture zeitgeist. Granted, since then, Marvel Studios films like Thor Ragnarok, Black Panther, and Avengers Infinity War all featured strong roles for women—but none of the fantastic female characters in those films had dedicated films to call their own. Finally, every fan that waited since 2015 will have their patience rewarded, as Marvel Studios unveils their first, and thankfully not the last, film with a woman on the title bill: Ant-Man and the Wasp.
As this is Marvel Studios’ first major step towards building a progressively gender-equal superhero movie landscape (with next year’s Captain Marvel closing in ever so swiftly), during a press conference in Los Angeles, members of the press were anxious to hear what the cast and crew had to say about the future of female leads in the MCU and the film itself:
Kevin Feige on the decision to make this an equal billing title – Ant-Man and the Wasp- rather than just Ant-Man 2:
“That was the first idea for the movie before even Civil War…Clearly the first Ant-Man film was essentially all about how qualified Hope is. And her estrangement from her father was preventing her from doing these things…and it was without question in that tag…which was her finding that suit and saying it’s ‘about damn time’, we always knew that the next one was going to be Ant-Man and the Wasp, and it would be finally time to see her suit up and be the hero she said earlier she was going to be.”
The conversation continued with the revelation that The Wasp was at first going to be introduced in Civil War rather than an individual solo film, before the filmmakers changed their minds.
Evangeline Lilly on the decision to give The Wasp a dedicated movie:
“I got a call saying ‘we decided not to put you in Civil War…because we really want to dedicate a film to introducing this female superhero. And we don’t want her just to be a side note in this larger story.’ And that was SO exciting for me. And then I still didn’t know there was going to be double billing. That didn’t come until later. And that was sent to me as a surprise via email – a screencap of the title.”
Continuing on discussions about The Wasp’s place in the franchise, and the possibility of an All-Female Avengers movie, Evangeline was also asked who from the MCU she would like to team up with:
“I used to say it’d be fun to see The Wasp and The Hulk, because she’d be so teeny and he’d be so giant. But then we did Giant-Man and The Wasp, so that’s out. I personally have an enormous crush on Okoye, and I’d love a chance to hang out with Danai as much as possible, so let’s just say that. Besides the fact that I’m going to continue to keep the rumor and gossip about an All-Female Avengers movie going”
Ant-Man himself, Paul Rudd, was later asked about whose idea it was to make Hope better at using the suit than Scott:
“Hope was born into the family business. In the first one, it was pretty clear she was really good at this… the idea that Scott was never really sure how he could be Ant-Man and still be a good parent—that these ideas could co-exist—[was the dilemma] we really wanted to hang this on…So one of the things I like about it is that we really are a duo, a team, and we work together pretty well. But…from the get-go, clearly [Rudd points to Evangeline] she’s really good at this.”
Hannah John-Kamen was then also asked about the status of villains in the MCU:
“I think what the villains of the Marvel Universe do so well is that [their issues] are not black and white. It’s so very grey. They are very redeemable. They are fun. And you want to see them again”
When Hanna was asked about whether she saw her character, Ghost, as a villain:
“Absolutely not. I think I definitely approached the character, not as a villain at all. Definitely a threat to the characters and heroes of the movie. But when you play a villain, you have to play it like you’re the good guy and everyone else is bad. And her stakes are so high. She has such a clear objective in the movie. And in the end, it’s every man for themselves.”
During the conference, Michael Douglas was also asked about how it was working with Michelle Pfeiffer, and whether there may be prequel movies featuring younger versions of their characters:
“When I heard Michelle Pfeiffer was going to play my wife- I was a tremendous fan of hers, and I’ve never been given the chance to work with her- I was totally ecstatic. Then reading the script and finding out that Michelle and I would be 30 years younger it made it all that much better. So it was a treat. And it remains to be seen where all this can go.”
Laurence Fishburne was also asked about his current and previous experiences as both a Marvel fan and Marvel actor joining the MCU:
“A few years ago, I ran into a guy named Tim Story, director of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. And I went up to him and said ‘I am Noren Radd…the guy who becomes the Silver Surfer’. So I was cast in Rise of the Silver Surfer. I’ve also been a reader [of Marvel] since I was 8. A fan my whole life. And I really enjoy the movies and everything that they’ve done…And I realized that I was on the lot, with Marvel, working on Black-ish…and remembered I had worked with Louis D’Esposito a few years ago. And I thought ‘I should go talk to them and say hey what do I have to do to be in the movies’. And they were kind enough to say ‘we’ll think about it.’ A couple of weeks later they were like ‘you know about this guy?’ And oddly enough it was a guy I didn’t know about. Although I was a Marvel reader…I did not know about Bill Foster…Ant-Man and The Wasp became Avengers in the beginning. So that’s why I knew about Hank Pym and the Pym particle. But I never got to Foster…So they sat me down [and caught me up]…and allowed me to join the family.”
Ant-Man and the Wasp blasts into theaters July 6th.