Marvel's Next Great Female Superhero Could Be A Young Girl

Walt Disney Studios

A lot has been made — and rightfully so — over the fact that Ant-Man and the Wasp is the first Marvel movie to have a female hero in the title. But while Hope van Dyne taking center stage in the new film is absolutely worth celebrating, there's another aspect of the movie that also deserves some praise — the fact that Scott Lang's young daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) is being set up to become a superhero in her own right. Speaking via phone a few days before the movie's release, director Peyton Reed confirms that Ant-Man and the Wasp sets the stage for Cassie's adult endeavors, and what he has in mind for the future heroine is very, very cool.

"We certainly know in the comics that she becomes Stature. She becomes a hero in her own right," says Reed, referring to the Ant-Man-like character Cassie eventually becomes in Marvel comics lore. "That is definitely seeded into this movie."

Throughout Ant-Man and the Wasp, Cassie expresses her desire to fight alongside her dad to protect him from evil, but while Scott sweetly shoots down, it doesn't look like Cassie's eagerness to be a part of the superhero world is going away anytime soon. "She’s got a huge amount of curiosity about when her dad was Ant-Man, and what it would be like to shrink," explains Reed. "She’s the daughter of this hero and she seems into it, and she’s making some choices in this movie that seem very much like choices her dad might make."

In the Marvel comics, Cassie gets to become a member of the Young Avengers team when she develops size-changing powers just like her dad's after being exposed to Pym particles. While that specific future isn't alluded to in Ant-Man and the Wasp, Cassie does reiterate towards the end of the movie that she wants badly to become a superhero one day, and it's certainly possible that future Ant-Man movies or Avengers 4 could see the character getting to live out that dream.

"[What] I always liked about the Marvel Comics was just this unending and kind of generational group of heroes," says Reed, adding that Ant-Man and the Wasp itself focuses on two different eras — that of Hank (Michael Douglas) and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), and that of Scott (Paul Rudd) and Hope (Evangeline Lily). It'd make sense, then, if future films honed in on Cassie and her peers, but even without powers just yet, Cassie, with her sassy attitude and bold moves, would be more than ready to take on the job. "You know, she does cover for her dad, she does stand up to Jimmy Woo, the FBI agent," Reed says with a laugh. "It’s really fun to see those moments."

While the portrayal of a badass young hero-in-the-making would be great no matter what, the fact that Cassie is a girl makes Ant-Man and the Wasp even cooler. The movie is one of Marvel's most inclusive yet, featuring several major female characters — Cassie, Hope, Janet, and villainous Ghost — and stars actors of many different races and ethnicities, such as Michael Peña, Randall Park, and Laurence Fishburne. The sheer amount of non-white and non-male characters in the film is a momentous step for on-screen diversity, a fact of which Reed is understandably proud.

"Audiences want to see themselves reflected in movies and it’s 2018 — I think it’s really important," the director says. "Part of what keeps these movies going and makes them fresh are different points of view and different voices and that’s something that I think is crucial to good storytelling."

Reed adds that he hopes audiences of Ant-Man and the Wasp and similarly representative movies will be educated by the diversity shown on-screen. "One of the great joys for me as a moviegoer is going to a movie made by and about someone unlike me, and because the storytelling is so good and so specific and so impassioned, it can make me understand a place in the world or a group of people in the world that maybe I hadn’t considered as strongly as I had," he says. "I think that’s one of the great, powerful things that movies are able to do."

Perhaps there'll be Ant-Man 2 fans who watch Cassie Lang and leave the theater feeling more confident than ever that female heroes deserve to be seen on-screen.