Why Black Panther's success made Ant-Man and The Wasp's Evangeline Lilly so nervous

Ant-Man and The Wasp quietly made Marvel Cinematic Universe history this summer by being the first film in the franchise to name a female character in its headline.

And about time, too.

Evangeline Lilly, who plays Hope van Dyne, The Wasp, in the movie, admitted to Digital Spy that she was feeling the pressure… especially after the success of another landmark 2018 MCU movie.

“I would love to be cool enough to say no, but at the beginning, when we were shooting… I’m trying to remember the chronology of it, but I think Black Panther was shooting at the same time,” she said.

“And you could just feel how cool that was going to be. He was the first African American to be a titled superhero in the MCU, and then I was going to be the first female.

“Of course, Black Panther became an international phenomenon, and I am not above admitting that a part of me just went, ‘Eek. I can’t do that. I don’t know how to do that. What? Am I supposed to do that?! Is that what they expect me to be and do?’

“And then you get over yourself and realise that a job’s a job. You just have to go to work and do what you do. The results are not in your hands, and everything else has to be let go off, and that’s not the point anyway.”

Lilly also spoke about her retirement from acting, revealing that joining the MCU after returning for The Hobbit was no easy decision.

“It was interesting,” she said. “I was just finishing the press tour for The Hobbit when I got approached. When I realised that I really wanted to do it – which at first I didn’t think I did – then I was faced with a dilemma, because when I took the job on The Hobbit, in my mind I was just making an exception for Peter Jackson and doing this role that was a fantasy of mine since I was a little girl. And then I was going to bow right back out and it was just going to be a moment.

“And I realised that I really think I want to become an Avenger – who wouldn’t? So then I basically had a ‘come to Jesus’ talk with myself. ‘Honey, it seems to me that this industry is not going to leave you be, you are not going to leave it be. You’re going to continue to dance. So if that’s the case, you either have to make your peace with it or you have to draw a line in the sand right now and tell Marvel no.’

“And, as you can see, I decided to make my peace with it.”

The new Marvel movie sees Hope and her father reunite with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) on a mission to rescue the original Wasp, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the perilous Quantum Realm.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is out now in the US, and will be released in the UK on August 2. Book tickets here.

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