Ant-Man 3's Criticized Wasp Arc Explained by Evangeline Lilly

By Russ Milheim Updated:
Ant-Man, Wasp, Quantumania, Evangeline Lilly

Many have criticized Hope van Dyne's role in the recent Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, something the star behind the hero attempted to explain.

For those keeping up the Marvel Studios' latest release, it's clear that the movie has not had a good reception. In fact, the project at one point held the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score of any MCU film, and it seems like the lukewarm audience response will hurt the sequel's legs at the box office.

Among the many problems critics seem to have with the film, many have started to wonder why there was so little Wasp in a movie that includes her name in its title. When compared to Paul Rudd's time on screen, or even Kathryn Newton's Cassie Lang, both come out on top up by a large margin.

Evangeline Lilly Comments on Small Quantumania Role

Wasp Quantumania

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania star commented on the criticized role of Hope van Dyne in the recent movie—more specifically, the minute size of it.

To add some relevant context, back in 2021, Lilly shared with the outlet that "Hope [is] an enigma for [her]" and how, generally, she's had issues understanding the Wasp:

“Hope is an odd enigma for me. The truth is that I find it harder to know and understand Hope than any other character I’ve ever played before."

So has that changed with the latest Ant-Man movie complete out in the wild?

Lilly admitted, "yes and no," though she has found "one word... that's become [her] anchor" in understanding the character:

"Yes and no. I do think this movie was the closest I came to feeling like, 'Oh, I think I get it.' I have one word now that’s become my anchor to help me when I feel a bit lost with her and I just don’t know where to put myself. And [that word] is the bullet."

Elaborating, Lilly noted how "[she's] realized... that there is an efficiency and a sharpness to [Hope Van Dyne]:"

"What I’ve realized is that there is an efficiency and a sharpness to her. She cuts right through things and she’s always going to drive right to the heart of whatever is going on. She’s always effective in everything that she tries to do, and so that one word just helps anchor me. She’s changed so much over the three films that I’ve often found myself a bit lost and uncertain that I’m really clear on who she is."

The star went on to admit her character "doesn't change a lot" in Quantumania but that she "starts the film in a really good place:"

"But she doesn’t change a lot in this film. She starts the film in such a grounded place, and she starts the film in a really good place that she’s been trying to get to for a long time, having healed her relationship with her father, reunited with her mother, fallen in love with Scott and now is stepmoming Cassie."

At the end of the day, Lilly shared that "there wasn't somewhere [her character] need to go to or go" besides repairing "a little wound in her relationship with her mom:"

"And all of that is on top of saving the world with the Avengers and starting her own company and trying to save the actual world from its everyday problems. So she’s in a really good place. There wasn’t somewhere she needed to get to or go other than just to repair a little wound in her relationship with her mom. So this one had a less dramatic arc for her, which gave me a chance to catch my breath and get to know her a little bit."

The lack of the titular Wasp in Quantumania hasn't gone unnoticed by critics.

Collider specifically noted that Evangeline Lilly “still feels lost in this series.”

IGN's review pointed out that "Michael Douglass' Hank Pym doesn't have much to do this time around," but that "there's even less for [Hope van Dyne]:"

"Unfortunately, Michael Douglass’ Hank Pym doesn’t have much to do this time around, and there’s even less for Evangeline Lilly’s Hope – which feels strange for a character who’s mentioned in the title."

The Wrap admitted that Hope is "lost among all [of the other] characters [in the film]:"

"Admittedly lost among all these characters is Hope; despite the Wasp’s inclusion in the title, Lilly’s superhero comes off as a bit of an afterthought once all is said and done."

Why So Little Hope?

It really is a shame that Paul Rudd's Ant-Man has had so much development over the years, and interaction with the wider MCU, while Wasp has always felt like a second thought.

It's hard not to wonder if her previous controversial social media posts had anything to do with how few her opportunities were in Quantumania. Though, the film's director claims that Marvel Studios took no action in relation to her opinions.

Even before this third film, people felt like Hope never got enough to do in any of these movies—whether that be the first Ant-Man, or a big crossover spectacle like Avengers: Endgame.

By the end of her most recent blockbuster, she is alive and well—so perhaps future appearances can amount to more. That, or she'll continue fading into the background while Cassie Lang picks up the size-changing mantle.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is now playing in theaters worldwide.

Release Date
February 17, 2023
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.