Although recent news surrounding Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man has seen some troubled developments recently, including the loss of director Edgar Wright and star Patrick Wilson, some news about additions to the cast have started to emerge out of San Diego Comic-Con in two very important roles: one connected to Michael Douglas’ Henry “Hank” Pym, as well as the antagonist of the film.
Officially breaking from Marvel, actress Evangeline Lilly, known for her role on “Lost” and recently seen by audiences in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as Tauriel, has joined the cast of Ant-Man in the role of Hope Van Dyne, who is described as the daughter of Pym. On top of that, actor Corey Stoll, who recently became known to audiences for his role as Rep. Peter Russo in the first season of the Netflix original series “House of Cards,” will play a character named Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket, who is described as the film’s primary antagonist.
Kevin Feige praised the casting of both actors in their respective roles, which have an air of familiarity to them for comics fans, though the comic book incarnation of the Darren Cross character has never been known as Yellowjacket, and technically, no character with the specific name of “Hope Van Dyne” has actually appeared in comics published by Marvel.
There was a character named “Hope Pym” that appeared in a series depicting an alternate future, and she was the daughter of Hank Pym and his wife Janet Van Dyne, who in the comics, has served as a hero named Wasp. In this future, Hope had grown weary of the Avengers of the time, feeling that they had disgraced the memories of her parents, and became a villain named the Red Queen who directly opposed the Avengers. Lilly’s character obviously shows some inspiration taken from this pre-existing character since they decided to use her first name (presumably with her mother Janet’s last name), but this by no means guarantees that she will be a villainous character. In the news item announcing the casting from Marvel, studio head Kevin Feige even states:
We look forward to audiences learning more about her character when she joins forces with Hank Pym and Scott Lang in 2015.
Whether or not the film decides to take her character in a more…provocative direction, of course remains to be seen.
The story with Stoll’s character also shows inspiration from the comics, but not direct adaptation. Darren Cross was indeed an enemy of second Ant-Man Scott Lang, but the codename Yellowjacket was one that was actually used by Hank Pym in a new, heroic guise. The Cross character from the comics has only appeared in one comic book issue – Marvel Premiere #47 from 1979. In it, Cross was the CEO of Cross Technological Enterprises, which directly competed with other Marvel Universe corporation such as Stark Industries and Norman Osborn’s Oscorp.
In an attempt to prolong his life after a fatal diagnosis, Cross’ body became mutated, and he managed to survive by kidnapping people and having his doctors perform a series of illegal heart transplants. He was actually tracked by the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd’s character in the film), and Cross was killed due to the physical strain he endured when fighting off Ant-Man.
Cross’ adoption of the Yellowjacket identity indicates a story featuring a degree of corporate espionage, perhaps stealing technology from Pym and Lang in order to directly oppose them. That’s just an educated guess, though, as this looks to be a film that will be an interesting mixture of adaptation and inspiration from the source material, rather than directly taking characters and situations from the comics as most of Marvel’s previous films have been more likely to do. Either way, Ant-Man looks like it’ll be a very interesting addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with two very solid actors fulfilling these very important roles.
Ant-Man is scheduled to be released as part of Marvel Studios’ “Phase Three” on July 17th, 2015.
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