Despite having been in the MCU for eight years at this point, Lilly has not been immune to controversy.
The actress turned heads back in 2020 when she seemingly rejected self-isolation practices at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This, along with a post against vaccine mandates, led some to speculate that the Wasp actress would be let go by Marvel.
While she has remained on at Marvel Studios, her relationship with fans has become rather prickly.
Marvel Talks to Evangeline Lilly
Speaking on Happy, Sad, Confused, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania star Evangeline Lilly revealed that Ant-Man director Peyton Reed was the first to reach out to her when she was marred in controversy over the COVID-19 pandemic.
While breaking down how Lilly likes to express her political and personal beliefs with host Josh Horowitz, the actress noted that when rumors were swirling about her being fired by Marvel she "got a really supportive phone call from Peyton Reed" telling her, to "just ignore" rumors of Marvel "ditching [or] canceling [her]:"
Horowitz: “Do you ever get the call from Feige, being like, ’I love you, but can…’”
Lilly: “No. They’re very respectful. In fact, I’ve had direct conversations with them that I have instigated and they’ve always said, ‘That’s not our business. That’s not for us to tell you how to live your life or what opinions to have.’ And I actually even got a really supportive phone call from Peyton Reed at one point and just saying like, ’Just so you know, there’s some rumors spreading about Marvel ditching you or canceling you. And that didn’t come from Marvel and that didn’t come from us, so just ignore that.”
Lilly remarked that "there needs to be a divide between your professional life and your personal life:"
Horowitz: “Well that’s huge to know that they got your back.”
Lilly: “It’s really nice. And I think it’s really healthy. I think there there needs to be a divide between your professional life and your personal life.”
Horowitz asked the actress if this "passion" for various causes (some controversial) was something a big franchise isn't looking for in its actors, to which Lilly simply laughed and said "no:"
Horowitz: “Okay, so we’ve been talking mostly about the the acting and a little bit on the the other creative pursuits like Squickerwonkers, and writing, and all that. Look, I mean, I follow you on social media, and I know you a bit over the years, and… I don’t know if it comes from childhood, or what, but you’re also very socially, and politically engaged, and that’s something that clearly is a passionate part of your life. Does it feel like… because it’s not necessarily what a big conglomerate is looking for in an actor, right?”
Lilly: “(laughs) No.”
Horowitz: “Someone to be like, ’Hey, here’s what I think.’”
Lilly: “Yeah, exactly.”
Marvel's Tricky Evangeline Lilly Situation
Yes, it is nice for Peyton Reed to reach out to his friend and colleague, Evangeline Lilly, in her moment of need. But is it the best look for Reed and Marvel Studios?
In this situation, it's clear that the Hollywood giant hasn't held its talent responsible when it comes to controversial and - at times - dangerous public points of view being shared by those same stars they employ. But should they step in to try to influence such 'free speech'?
Evangeline Lilly (and the other heroes of the MCU) are role models whether they like it or not. People look up to these actors, so they should be setting an example.
And with Lilly, it was not a one-time thing. Just this year, the actress shared a link promoting a conspiracy-laden live stream happening online. So, if there was a conversation that happened with the actress after her first post, she obviously did not take it to heart.
It was exactly the same when Black Panther's Letitia Wright shared anti-vaccination rhetoric on the set of Wakanda Forever. Much was made about what she had said and shared online, yet it appears nothing substantial was done about it internally.
Marvel can push anti-hate all it wants, posting messages of inclusivity and other progressive sentiments, but when some of the biggest names attached to its franchise harbor these sorts of backward ideals, no action is ever taken.
Evangeline Lilly can be seen in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania which hits theaters on Friday, February 17.