Avengers Director Wanted Zooey Deschanel to Play MCU's Wasp

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Avengers MCU Wasp Zooey Deschanel

Marvel Studios is looking forward to its increasingly bright future, which is now about to expand with November's release of Eternals before numerous other entries debut to the public in 2022 and 2023. This will largely be in the form of sequels to stories from the Infinity Saga, with new movies adding to franchises like Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, and even Ant-Man.

This was all built up by game-changing work from the movies in the Infinity Saga, which set the stage with more than a dozen solo stories featuring Hollywood's best as Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Recently, stories are coming to the public about some of the decisions Marvel's casting department made in this process, and how some of those choices could have been vastly different.

From Robert Downey Jr. as Doctor Doom instead of Tony Stark to Chris Evans' time as Johnny Storm helping in decisions for Eternals, the MCU's process for matching actors to roles has always been one of the big Hollywood mysteries. Now, thanks to new information from a highly-anticipated book release, fans have learned of another potential casting that almost came to be.

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Wasp, Marvel Studios

In an excerpt from the newly released The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Senior Vice President of Marvel Studios Jeremy Latcham revealed that director Joss Whedon wanted to include the Wasp in 2012's The Avengers. Additionally, he wanted to cast actress Zooey Deschanel in the role, who was featured heavily in the script.

"It was all about The Wasp. He wanted to cast Zooey Deschanel. [Wasp] was the funniest character in the whole movie, and well-written."

In the end, it was decided that Whedon's script focused too heavily on introducing new characters rather than bringing the established team together, with Latcham and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige ultimately vetoing the idea. Whedon later agreed with this decision, mentioning that he "took some wrong turns" for a moment.

The Wasp was in consideration due to potential scheduling conflicts with Scarlett Johansson, who introduced Black Widow in 2010's Iron Man 2. Whedon admitted that in his Plan B, he had made "this entire movie about The Wasp," which forced the team to change paths again once Johansson became available for the movie once again.

"The Wasp happened because there was a short period where it looked like we weren't going to be able to get Scarlett [due to scheduling conflicts], so I was panicking. I thought, 'Hold on, we could do The Wasp.' Then, I fell in love with that. But we did get Scarlett, and then I realized that I had written this entire movie about The Wasp. Oops, I overcompensated there."

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This news seems to establish an interesting trend concerning Joss Whedon and introducing new powerful players via the MCU's early Avengers movies.

Whedon had previously spoken about introducing an early version of Captain Marvel in Avengers: Age of Ultron, even including her in the New Avengers team-up shot before Brie Larson was cast for the role in 2016. It appears that this same thing would have happened with Wasp, even introducing Zooey Deschanel as Hope Van Dyne for her first MCU role.

While Deschanel hasn't been a part of any rumors about joining the MCU outside of this, the Wasp is set for a key role in the MCU's future thanks to the efforts of Evangeline Lilly.

Having made appearances in both Ant-Man movies and 2019's Avengers: Endgame, Lilly had the chance to develop her role right from the start as a supporting player next to Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. Deschanel's rumored casting in The Avengers would have sent the MCU in quite a different direction, particularly with the franchise not having had plans for Scott Lang to star alongside her.

Lilly is now set to continue as the Wasp in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which will debut in theaters on July 28, 2023.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.