Zooey Deschanel’s Wasp Was Almost The Avengers’ Main Character

the avengers

Zak Penn may have retained a writing credit when the movie came to theaters in the summer of 2012, but Joss Whedon was always vocal when it came to reiterating that he’d torn the screenplay for The Avengers apart and then rebuilt it from the ground up.

As is always the case when it comes to something as ambitious as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first all-star epic, the story was in a constant state of revision. Not only did the trajectory of the Iron Man franchise ultimately see Obadiah Stane’s son Zeke dropped as a potential antagonist for the team, but Whedon’s desire to cast Zooey Deschanel as Wasp informed a great deal of his writing process.

As revealed in new book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe via CBR, Whedon reflects on how heavily he leaned into the notion of Deschanel as Janet Van Dyne when he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to use Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, due to scheduling conflicts potentially ruling her out.

“Yeah, I took some wrong turns there. The Wasp happened because there was a short period where it looked like we weren’t going to be able to get Scarlett, so I was panicking. I thought, ‘Hold on, we could do The Wasp.’ Then, I fell in love with that. But we did get Scarlett, and then I realized that I had written this entire movie about The Wasp. Oops. I overcompensated there.”

While Janet would have made for a useful audience surrogate to the uninitiated, Marvel had already spent four years putting its eggs in The Avengers basket to familiarize people with the characters, and the lineup of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was ideal the way we got it.