San Diego Comic Con is coming to a close and all that anyone can talk about is the Marvel Cinematic Universe panel from last night. Even fans that didn’t get the opportunity to go to the panel got to find out exactly what was going on. Ryan Peganos, the executive editorial director for Marvel, was livetweeting the entire panel. Between him and the other people who were giving updates on the panel, like Ryan Turek and Superhero Report, Twitter was ablaze with news from Marvel. Whether it was discussing what new movies were being announced or the cast of a Marvel movie walking on stage, fans everywhere were bombarded with updates. One of the movies that was covered at the panel was “Ant-Man”. The whole cast was brought out and fans were introduced to new characters and actors. The biggest announcement made at the panel was that Evangeline Lilly was going to be be playing Hank Pym’s daughter, Hope Van Dyne. But where’s Jan?
There are some characters that can’t exist without another. Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (way to drop the ball on that one, Bryan Singer), Luke Cage and Danny Rand, Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson, and most importantly, Janet Van Dyne and Hank Pym. So why isn’t Jan in the movie?
Probably one of the most infamous moments in comic book history is when Hank gets angry and hits Jan, his wife. Despite how long ago this happened, there’s zero excuse for his spousal abuse. This one panel is basically the entire reason that Jan isn’t going to be featured in “Ant-Man”. Marvel’s idea of ‘redeeming’ Hank was to not only ignore the entire issue of him being a wife beater, but also to just completely ignore the idea that Jan even existed.
Jan is a very important character to the Marvel universe. Not only was she an original Avenger, but she was also the one to come up the name “Avengers”. Hank Pym is nothing without Jan. Ant-Man is nothing without Wasp. The MCU needs her. Having characters like Black Widow and Storm are great, but they aren’t enough. How great would it be for a little girl to go see “Ant-Man” and see Wasp flying around in her brightly colored costume, zapping bad guys and still being interested in feminine things, like fashion and make-up? Marvel missed an opportunity to finally reel in the audience of little girls that they so desperately need.
Some arguments are being made that because Hope is going to be in the movie, it’s okay that Jan isn’t there. This, however, couldn’t be more wrong. Completely erasing a female character that’s not only incredibly important to the main character of the movie but also the movie franchise as a whole cannot be ignored by putting in a less important character. Hope Van Dyne is barely a part of Hank’s story. Not only is she actually called Hope Pym in the comics, but she’s also a part of an alternate universe, rather than the 616 universe, which is considered to be the canon universe for comics. Plus, she’s not a hero; she’s a villain. She tried to assassinate the other Ant-Man’s (Scott Lang) daughter, Cassie. As happy as I am to see another woman being added to the list of MCU characters, putting Hope in “Ant-Man” in the place of Jan was a bad move on Marvel’s part.
Marvel’s idea of not putting spousal abuse in their movies, which is the only good part of this whole debacle, is to completely cut out the spouse factor rather than, y’know, just not having Hank hit Jan. They already completely changed the Mandarin and ignored Black Widow’s age in the MCU, but apparently the idea of erasing an extremely problematic part of a character’s story is too complex to them.
Scott Lang is also going to be a part of “Ant-Man”. Between the two Ant-Men that will be featured in the movie, Scott is typically the more liked one. He also has a more interesting origin story. When Cassie becomes ill, Scott steals the Ant-Man suit and becomes a thief so he can save his daughter. When he rescues a doctor who was being held hostage and they cure Cassie, Scott decides to return the costume to Hank and turn himself in. Hank hands over the mantle of Ant-Man to Scott, but only if he uses it to help people rather than steal from them.
Just like Jan is to Hank, Cassie is the center of Scott’s life. They’ve always had a very good relationship. Cassie idolized her father and was proud to be the daughter of Ant-Man. Despite her mother and step-father always telling her that her father was no good, even after he dies when she’s a teenager, Cassie has always looked up to him and followed his example. She was also friendly with the Avengers. She’s even called Iron Man “Uncle Tony”. Cassie becomes a bigger part of the comic book universe when she joins the Young Avengers. In “Children’s Crusade”, Cassie manages to go back in time and save Scott right before he is killed. Unfortunately, Cassie is killed by Doctor Doom only a few issues later.
Cassie’s death all but destroys Scott’s life. In the series “FF”, it is shown that Scott has a picture of him and Cassie from when she was younger on his phone. He begins to talk to the picture as if it was actually Cassie. He sets out to kill Doom for murdering his daughter. He keeps a picture of Cassie by his desk. On the bottom of the picture are the
words “I love you Daddy” in pink ink. He has nightmares about not being able to save her. Even when she’s dead, his life still revolves around Cassie.
If Cassie was such an important part of Scott’s life and storyline, then why isn’t she in “Ant-Man”? Marvel can put a random little boy in “Iron Man 3” who wins over the hearts of fans but they can’t put Cassie Lang in a movie? Marvel said they would be announcing the cast to every character of their announced movies and yet Cassie was never once mentioned. They’re either planning for her to be a minor character in the movie who’s only there to supply motivation for Scott to be Ant-Man, or she’s going to be a nameless character. It’s hard to imagine Cassie being completely cut out of Scott’s story, but if Marvel’s willing to cut out Jan from Hank’s, who knows what other story lines they could mess up.
Ignoring important female characters that could potentially have their own movie or lead to more interesting story lines in the movie is doing nothing but hurting Marvel. If Cassie Lang was in “Ant-Man”, she would be the first Young Avenger in the MCU, which could lead to more of them being added. If Jan was in “Ant-Man”, she could start the Mighty Avengers and help introduce more Avengers to the MCU. But alas, Marvel is noncompliant and we’re going to have to deal with yet another superhero movie full of straight, white men. As if we haven’t seen that before.
So, Marvel, do your fans and yourselves a favor, and stop erasing your female characters from the MCU. It’s not as hard as you think it is.