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It looks like Paul Rudd might just have an Ant-Man co-star in his own age bracket. If the talks between Evangeline Lilly and Marvel Studios pan out, she’ll become the latest actor to join the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. Lilly’s no stranger to big franchises and cult favorite properties thanks to her two career-defining roles – Kate Austen on the ABC drama Lost and Tauriel in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Much like Rudd before her, these early reports remain a little vague about which character she will be suiting up as in Marvel’s next possible franchise starter – if she even suits up at all. With that in mind, here are five roles that Lilly might be up for.
Janet Van Dyne/The Wasp
Just in terms of name recognition in comic book circles, you can’t have an Ant-Man without a Wasp. These two heroes have been crime-fighting partners (and more) since 1963, and a big screen Ant-Man outing without a Wasp would not only be a huge blow against diversifying the predominantly male Marvel Cinematic Universe, it would be a huge detriment to the spirit of Ant-Man. There’s just one problem: Paul Rudd isn’t playing Janet’s partner Hank Pym. That role belongs to Michael Douglas, which has led many people to wonder if director Edgar Wright has envisioned a similarly older – and possibly similarly retired – version of Ms. Van Dyne. Still, with a character as integral to the Avengers mythos as the Wasp, there’s no reason for her to be solely defined by her relationship with Hank Pym. Evangeline Lilly should play Wasp, and she should play a Wasp not defined by who she’s dating.
Knowing how the MCU works, Rudd’s Scott Lang will most likely be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. The superspy organization has become the farm team for superheroes lately, with Falcon, Black Widow and Hawkeye all getting their start there. If Lang is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, then it would make sense for him to have a few S.H.I.E.L.D. partners, and Mockingbird would be a great fit for Lilly. As Tauriel, Lilly proved herself an incredibly capable action star, and she would work wonders with the battle stave wielding and wisecracking Mockingbird.
Whether or not Marvel can legally call a character Spider-Woman remains up in the air thanks to Sony’s ownership of all things Spidey, but it’s likely that same red tape does not surround the name Jessica Drew. This Bronze Age heroine emerged from ’70s obscurity to become one of Marvel’s most prominent leading ladies, and she needs to be in a movie. On Lost, Lilly proved capable of making a tortured character with a dark past sympathetic and compelling; Spider-Woman exists in that same gray area. Plus, this heroine has deep roots within the terrorist HYDRA organization. This group needs to make a big comeback in the MCU, and introducing Jessica Drew might just be the way to kick off a larger HYDRA story.
Whitney Frost/Madame Masque
Marvel needs to bring more female villains to the big screen, and Ant-Man might just be the perfect place to start. Neither Hank Pym nor Scott Lang have especially compelling archenemies, unless you really think Egghead deserves a shot at film stardom. No, director Edgar Wright should cast a wider net and use an underrated – but actually dangerous – villain like Madame Masque. This calculating criminal mastermind could prove to be Scott Lang’s match, and it would actually be pretty awesome to see Lilly cut loose in a straight-up villain role.
Pym’s Daughter/Lang’s Girlfriend
Early reports made mention of Lilly playing a character that fits into this role, and that’s easy to believe knowing how Hollywood works. This character does not exist in the comics, as Hank Pym does not have a daughter and Scott Lang is divorced. Creating an original character for a Marvel film isn’t necessarily a bad thing – look at Agent Coulson and Darcy Lewis for examples of how this can work out well. It would be disappointing, however, for Marvel to cast a phenomenal actress like Lilly in a role that’s defined by her relationship to the male character, especially if that role falls squarely in the “damsel in distress” realm. If Lilly is playing Pym’s daughter, and if she has to be Lang’s love interest, then she should also be a kick-ass S.H.I.E.L.D. agent that saves the new Ant-Man’s life as many times as he saves hers. Evangeline Lilly needs to play a superhero, too.