With Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War premiering in Los Angeles next Monday, it’s time to look to the future of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU) slate—specifically, Ant-Man and the Wasp. While much of the original cast—Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly—is returning, there are two new considerable additions to this sequel. Not only is Michelle Pfeiffer joining the cast as Janet van Dyne, mother to Lilly’s Hope van Dyne, but Ready Player One’s Hannah John-Kamen will play Ghost—the main villain.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Evangeline Lilly’s role in 2015’s Ant-Man was a big occasion for the actress, as The Wasp was the first female superhero to enter the MCU. “It means a lot to me,” she said. “If I’m honest with myself, I feel a lot of pressure to make sure that it is everything that the world wants it to be.” While Lilly may have felt some weight on her shoulders to get it right, newcomer Hannah John-Kamen—and her role as the sequel’s villain, Ghost—is undoubtedly feeling the same, if not more pressure.
Peyton Reed, director of both Ant-Man films, claims the nature of Marvel’s Ghost character is fairly fluid, but choosing to make it female was simply more rewarding. “The Ghost character could be male, female, anything, so it just seemed more interesting to us (to cast a woman),” he said. “Ghost’s primary power is the ability to ‘phase,’ which allows Ghost to move through solid matter. She has all sorts of strange versions of that phasing power—it proves quite difficult for Ant-Man and Wasp to deal with.”
While many critics have vocalized their warranted frustrations with Marvel’s failed efforts to create threatening, characterized villains in their MCU, Ant-Man doesn’t seem to have that problem. It’s great to hear that part of the focus for the sequel here was establishing an even more daunting antagonist our heroes have to learn to manage, and that efforts to cast a woman not only make narrative sense but are giving a young actress a substantial role that could’ve quickly gone to the next blonde, male 27-year-old walking around Burbank.
As for fellow newcomer to the MCU, Michelle Pfeiffer, who’ll be playing Lilly’s mother, Reed is excited to bring her back to the comic-book fold after decades of appearing in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. “She hasn’t done one of these films since she played Catwoman with Tim Burton,” he said. “It was really interesting to bring her in and get her up to speed on all the mythology and her place in this world.” Surely, I’m speaking for most of us when I say Marvel has done an admirable job of establishing such a thoroughly fleshed-out universe and continues to expand it. We can’t wait to get up to speed, too.