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SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains massive spoilers for Ant-Man And The Wasp. If you have not yet seen the film, please bookmark this page, and come back after your screening!
One of the most important events that occurs in the runtime of Ant-Man And The Wasp is the "resurrection" of Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), who had previously been stuck in the Quantum Realm for decades. It makes for an emotional reunion with both her husband and her daughter, but fans quickly learn one outstanding fact about her: she isn't the same spunky woman who used to fly around in a Wasp costume on missions for the government. Instead, in the words of director Peyton Reed,
She's evolved down there. I like the idea that maybe in Hope's mind she's going to learn how to fight and how to be a hero from her mom, but what her mom really is ultimately going to teach her is that there are other ways, right? We only sort of dispense a certain amount of information about what's happened to Janet in the Quantum Realm by design, but maybe one of those things is, in terms of how she's evolved, is a larger perspective on what it could mean to be a hero.
For a recording of our HeroBlend podcast, I recently had the fantastic opportunity to sit down with Peyton Reed for a deep dive interview examining the making of Ant-Man And The Wasp, and one of the many key points discussed was about Janet van Dyne. Curious about the choices made in the development stage that led to the creation of the character played by Michelle Pfeiffer, I broached the subject asking if there was ever an impulse to do something more sinister storywise with Janet's return. Apparently they did toy with that idea, but what they ultimately settled on was making her essentially a more evolved being.
In his explanation, Peyton Reed explicitly illustrated this change by describing one of Ant-Man And The Wasp's last and most important confrontations. After Janet and Hank (Michael Douglas) return from the Quantum Realm, Hope (Evangeline Lilly) is 100 percent ready to kill Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and prevent her from killing her mother. Janet steps in, however, and offers that violence isn't the way to solve the conflict. Instead, she is able to use her new abilities, apparently fueled by Quantum Realm energy, to stop Ghost's phasing problem and temporarily heal her.
As for how Janet van Dyne changed physically during her time in the Quantum Realm, that was another subject I broached in my conversation with Peyton Reed. Following the release of Ant-Man there was a great deal of speculation about who would play the character, and there were many who suggested that she should be played by an actress in her 30s. After all, the Quantum Realm is supposed to be a dimension without laws of time and space, so how could she age? The director explained that there was a great deal of deliberation, and that at the end what it came down to was just visuals and the idea of the movie dealing in legacy heroes. Said Reed,
There was a lot of discussion early on about, 'Will they find Janet? If so, is she young? Is she old? Has she evolved? Has she not evolved?'... I liked the idea of her aging normally, even though there are elements of space and time that are different in the Quantum Realm. It just didn't made sense to me visually that Hank Pym goes down and he's with a [younger] woman. Basically I liked the idea of this being a generational hero's story, that we have Scott and Hope, and then we have Hank and Janet - and it really is about family. And I also just liked the idea that it's a different thing in the MCU to have these legacy heroes, and that they're age appropriate. That just made more sense for our movie.
You can listen to my full 30-minute chat with Peyton Reed, including more about Janet van Dyne and her role in Ant-Man And The Wasp, by clicking play on the embed below and listening to the most recent episode of HeroBlend:
We'll have more from my interview with Peyton Reed here on CinemaBlend in the coming days, and if you want to see Ant-Man And The Wasp again you're in luck, as it's currently playing everywhere nationwide.