One of the biggest takeaways from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is how prominent a role Michelle Pfeiffer has as Janet Van Dyne. In fact, an argument can be made that the titular “Wasp” of the film isn’t even Hope Van Dyne at all, but instead her mother. Certainly, Janet has far more to do in the story than Evangeline Lilly did as Hope. And it’s about time Janet got a juicy part. We’re hoping this is all a precursor of bigger things to come. Because we see Janet Van Dyne as not just an Avenger going forward, but possibly even as the team’s leader.
Marvel Comics fans know that Janet was one of the founding members of the Avengers, a role she didn’t ever get to have in the MCU. Both she and her husband Hank, the original Ant-Man, were replaced in those roles by Black Widow and Hawkeye. Also, she led the team in the comics many times, second only to Captain America. In the comics, she even named the team! After fifteen years of MCU films, mostly where she was absent or sidelined, it’s time Jan got her flowers. And her prominent role in Quantumania proves she’s now ready for much bigger things.
Janet Van Dyne: Warrior of the Quantum Realm
As we learned in the film, Janet Van Dyne wasn’t just scavenging for food and writing in her journal in the Quantum Realm for 30 years all alone. She was part of a greater rebellion against the despotic Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors). In fact, she was the reason he remained trapped in the Quantum Realm for decades. In effect, her actions literally saved the Multiverse, at least for now. And upon returning to the Quantum Realm after three decades, she was ready to fight again when she had to, even if she did so reluctantly.
Janet was the Wasp for years with Hank before disappearing. Then, she had several more decades of being a tactical leader against a tyrant. Since we know that Kang is going to be the “Big Bad” of the Multiverse Saga, who better than Janet to lead a team of heroes against him? Janet knows Kang’s mind better than anyone else, having connected to it in the flashback scenes in Quantumania. Wouldn’t that be the biggest tactical advantage to have? In fact, we say let Hope retire and run her company, and let Janet take her proper place as the MCU’s Wasp.
A New Avengers Team Needs Experienced Leadership, Like an Ex-Freedom Fighter
In the MCU, the Avengers are technically no more as a functioning team. Yes, there seems to be a loose alliance of heroes who have impromptu meetings when new threats arise. We saw this when Wong pulled up Captain Marvel and Bruce Banner on the holo speed dial at the mid-credits scene of Shang-Chi. But pretty soon, a more formal Avengers team is going to need to form. After all, there are two movies with the word “Avengers” in the title coming soon that lets us know that. And that team is going to need someone in charge. And really, who is better than a former rebel leader?
There aren’t that many other great candidates for the Avengers team chairperson right now. Obviously, Sam Wilson as Captain America is a top choice. But let us say he turns it down for some reason. Who else qualifies as much as Janet? Shuri is just adjusting to becoming the new Black Panther. Captain Marvel splits time between Earth and space. Thor has parenting responsibilities now. Rhodey, from the looks of things in the Secret Invasion trailers, now works in politics. Doctor Strange and Wong have bigger, more cosmic responsibilities that preclude them from committing to Avengers leadership. Simply put, Janet is perfect for the job.
Why Age Isn’t a Factor
There are going to be several naysayers who say that Michelle Pfeiffer is too old to lead an Avengers team in a big action movie. Well, once one has seen Quantumania, they’ll realize that’s nonsense. She can hold her own in any fight. Or fly any giant weird creature into battle. Besides, we literally live in a world where 71-year-old Michael Keaton is Batman, 80-year-old Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones, and 82-year-old Patrick Stewart is Captain Picard. We don’t want to hear how 64-year-old Michelle Pfeiffer can’t be the Wasp anymore. Besides, with age comes wisdom. And wisdom is the most important part of being a good leader.
When the Avengers return, at least at first, none of the comic book founding members are likely to be part of the lineup. Iron Man is dead. Thor is off-world raising a demigod kid. The Hulk also seems to be ready for fatherhood. Hank Pym is very comfortable letting Scott Lang be the Ant-Man. It would be nice if at least one founding member of the comics Avengers was prominent, and our vote goes to Janet Van Dyne. It’s high time the winsome Wasp got her proper due. The next person we want to hear shouting “Avengers Assemble!” in a big battle is Janet Van Dyne.