The Wasp was originally part of the lineup of 2012’s The Avengers, something that would have significantly changed the MCU timeline. The recently released The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe reveals that writer and director Joss Whedon originally planned on replacing Black Widow with The Wasp in The Avengers due to scheduling issues with Scarlett Johansson. These plans never came to pass, however, and Johansson’s beloved depiction of Natasha Romanoff instantly became one of Marvel’s most famous heroes, thanks to her status as a founding member of the MCU’s superhero team. Had Whedon’s plans for The Wasp become reality, the MCU may be quite different today.
The Marvel Comics version of The Avengers debuted in 1963, with a lineup nearly identical to the 2012 film, only Captain America didn’t join until the fourth issue, The Hulk left the team in the second issue, and Ant-Man and The Wasp were founding members instead of Hawkeye and Black Widow. Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne formed the crime-fighting duo of Ant-Man and The Wasp, using Hank’s “Pym Particles” to shrink in size without any loss of strength. Adding to this, Hank could communicate with ants, commanding them to swarm his opponents or perform subtle tasks for him, while Janet could fly and fire energy pulses from her hands, known as “Wasp Stings”.
In the MCU, Janet and Hank were Cold War-era SHIELD Agents who used their astounding powers for clandestine missions overseas. The modern iteration of the MCU’s Wasp is Hope Van Dyne, Hank and Janet’s daughter (and an adaptation of a character from Marvel’s beloved MC2 alternate universe). Neither MCU Wasp is officially part of The Avengers, though Hope participated in the climactic battle at the end of Avengers: Endgame, fighting against the forces of Thanos and helping to prevent another cataclysmic use of the Infinity Stones. In Whedon’s original plan, The Wasp would be played by Zooey Deschanel, and her proposed role in The Avengers would have had long-lasting ramifications for the MCU.
How Wasp Fit Into The Avengers (& Would’ve Changed The Movie)
As revealed in The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Wasp was intended to take Black Widow’s place within the hero lineup in The Avengers, since Scarlett Johansson was having scheduling issues that nearly prevented her from appearing in the game-changing film. The Wasp was a founding member of the team in the comics and was featured prominently in the fan-favorite animated series Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, so veteran Marvel fans would have been just as happy with The Wasp helping to form The Avengers as they were with Natasha. From a filmmaking perspective, however, The Wasp would have changed more than simply the variety of powers and abilities shown in The Avengers.
The heroes in The Avengers all appeared in a previous Marvel film before their triumphant coalescence during the Battle of New York. While most heroes starred in at least one film beforehand, Black Widow had a sizable supporting role in Iron Man 2, which explained her status as a SHIELD Agent and ally to Tony, and Hawkeye had a brief but notable cameo in 2011’s Thor. Introducing The Wasp would have necessitated more exposition and character development than the 2012 film ended up having. Janet Van Dyne as The Wasp would have been a welcome addition to the team and the MCU, but the film would need to explain her origins, powers, personality, and provide her with a character arc without any previous films to work off of, unlike the others, save for Hawkeye. This might have done the film a slight disservice, as it was already balancing enough character and story content as is.
How Wasp Would’ve Changed Future Avengers Movies & Thanos’ Invasion
Black Widow was integral to the team dynamic of The Avengers in the MCU. Her absence would have affected Hawkeye’s character arc in the 2012 movie, and it’d be difficult to imagine The Wasp taking Natasha’s place in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which infamously bungled Black Widow’s characterization. While The Wasp would have no doubt formed a strong bond with her teammates, she wouldn’t have been able to share part of her background with Hawkeye, which would affect her role in the fourth Avengers movie.
Hawkeye and Black Widow had a profoundly strong platonic friendship, which began when Hawkeye chose to help Natasha defect from the Red Room rather than follow his orders and kill her. Their bond was so close that Natasha’s sacrifice on Vormir was sufficient to give Clint Barton the Soul Stone. The Wasp’s best-known bond is with Ant-Man, who presumably wouldn’t be part of this MCU Avengers lineup. This may have necessitated a completely different sacrifice to obtain the Soul Stone in Endgame.
What Wasp In Avengers Would Mean For Ant-Man
Since Ant-Man is intrinsically tied to The Wasp’s superhero origin, there would need to be a new iteration of him to coincide with Zooey Deschanel’s hypothetical character. The Wasp that Whedon planned to write into The Avengers was presumably a new version of Janet Van Dyne, so she and Hank would no longer be SHIELD Agents who served during the Cold War, established superheroes during the events of the MCU’s Phase 1. With The Wasp being a founding member of The Avengers, she’d likely have a solo film in Phase 2, exploring her origins and likely including Hank Pym as a co-lead. Although this is never specified, Whedon might have eventually replaced Hawkeye with Ant-Man in the founding lineup if Wasp was confirmed to take Black Widow’s place.
What Wasp In Avengers Would Mean For Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow would have still had her role in Iron Man 2, even if The Wasp took her place on The Avengers’ roster. Given that Johansson’s potential replacement was due to scheduling conflicts, she wouldn’t have appeared in The Avengers if The Wasp took her place. Her performance in Iron Man 2 did intrigue viewers, however, so she might have ended up starring in a solo film in Phase 2 or 3. It’d have been fairly easy to explain her absence in The Avengers, given her status as one of SHIELD’s top agents. She’d have likely been on a mission for Nick Fury during Loki’s attacks.
Would Wasp Still Be Alive In MCU’s Phase 4?
Black Widow famously, and tragically, died in Endgame to ensure that Hawkeye obtained the Soul Stone through sacrifice, bringing her character arc to a melancholic conclusion. If The Wasp took Natasha’s place in The Avengers, she might have also died in the process of obtaining the stone, but she probably wouldn’t have traveled to Vormir with Hawkeye. A more likely scenario is that she goes with Hank Pym, requiring one of them to sacrifice themselves for the other to acquire the stone. In this case, perhaps Hope Van Dyne would take her mother’s place as The Wasp if Janet died, and Scott Lang could be the next Ant-Man if Hank sacrificed himself. Either way, the later films in both The Avengers franchise and the MCU continuity would be quite different with The Wasp as a founding member.
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023
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