When the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Avengers first assembled in 2012, they were missing two founding members. Ant-Man and The Wasp, who helped establish Earth’s mightiest heroes in the comic books, were absent, and we wouldn’t see big-screen versions of the diminutive duo until 2015. The Wasp, however, was initially planned to appear much earlier than she did.
According to The Story of Marvel Studios – a book full of behind the scenes titbits from the MCU – Avenger’s director Joss Whedon’s initial scripts included The Wasp, and he wanted Zooey Deschanel to play her. According to /Film, Avenger’s producer Jeremy Latcham, “[Whedon] wanted to cast Zooey Deschanel. [Wasp] was the funniest character in the whole movie and well-written.”
Apparently, the reason why The Wasp was included in initial drafts was because there were doubts over whether Scarlett Johansson would return as Black Widow. “The Wasp happened because there was a short period where it looked like we weren’t going to be able to get Scarlett [due to scheduling conflicts],” Whedon is quoted as saying. “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 I had written this entire movie about The Wasp. Oops. I overcompensated there.”
Ultimately Kevin Feige stepped in, though, and insisted that the action movie focus on the original Avengers established in Marvel’s Phase 1. Whedon would later try and bring another female superhero into the MCU early as well.
He reportedly wanted Captain Marvel to appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron and even filmed a scene introducing Carol Danvers using a stand-in. Once again, Feige intervened, believing that a throwaway introduction of such an important character did Carol a disservice.
“[Captain Marvel] was in a draft. But to me, it would have done that character a disservice to meet her fully formed, in a costume and part of the Avengers already when 99% of the audience would go, ‘Who is that?’ It’s just not the way we’ve done it before,” Feige told Birth. Movies. Death. “The way we reveal Scarlet Witch at the end of the movie? Those were Captain Marvel plate shots. Joss said, ‘We’ll cast her later!’ And I said, ‘Yeah, Joss, we’ll cast her later.’ [Whispers to an invisible associate who isn’t Joss] ‘We’re not putting her in there!'”
Age of Ultron ended up being Whedon’s last Marvel movie, and he moved over to the DCEU. He took over for Zack Snyder on the Justice League, and after filming, he was accused by several members of the cast of misconduct on set. An investigation by Warner Bros into the alleged behaviour saw the studio take undefined “remedial action.”
Following these allegations, members of the Buffy cast, including Charisma Carpenter, Amber Benson and Michelle Trachtenberg, came forward and accused Whedon of creating a toxic work environment. Whedon has not publicly responded to any of the allegations.