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– by David Kozlowski

With all of the hype and excitement over Marvel’s first female-led superhero film, Captain Marvel, it might be easy to overlook the fact that Carol Danvers isn’t the only female headliner in the MCU. Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), daughter of uber-scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and partner to rehabilitated criminal Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), is the Wasp — a crucially-important Marvel character who was a founding member of the Avengers (in the comics, of course).

Director Peyton Reed’s upcoming Ant-Man and The Wasp is a pure team-up movie, and while it’s obviously not led by Van Dyne, she’s clearly the co-lead in this film — it’s really unfortunate that this isn’t getting more coverage. Lilly has carved out a really interesting career since her breakout role in ABC’s Lost TV series; she’s appeared in The Hurt Locker (2008), Real Steel (2011), and two of the Hobbit films — in each case she’s brought a quiet intensity and energy to all of these roles. I’m excited to see how her role expands in the follow-up to Ant-Man!

RELATED – Ant-Man 2: Evangeline Lilly Gets Fitted For Wasp Costume

You might recall during the run-up to Ant-Man, Paul Rudd dropped a bunch of workout photos to prove that he’s real-serious-like regarding his role (it’s become something of a Marvel tradition for actors to show off their new pecs, biceps, and abs leading up to each new superhero film). Lilly joined the MCU gun-club recently with the following Twitter post:

Not bad, right? CrossFit and and a mountain of protein powder can do amazing things! Sadly, the photo was more than a little blurry; but now we’ve got a brand new image from Lilly’s Twitter feed that is more… revealing. This image is also too out of focus, but there’s no doubt that Lilly isn’t playing around. Take note Brie Larson, this is the new fitness baseline for Marvel superheroines:

We’re obviously having a bit of fun here, but it’s very cool that characters like Wonder Woman, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, and The Wasp are giving girls (and ladies too) these powerful and exciting role models — judging by the box office success of Wonder Woman, there’s clearly a huge audience for these characters! I sincerely look forward to a time when we’re not talking about race, gender, or ethnicity in the context of leading roles, but it’s progress. Ant-Man and the Wasp is shaping up to be a really interesting and fun film with a great cast and (hopefully) a new story that’s just as funny and offbeat as the first movie.

Did you realize that Ant-Man and the Wasp represents Marvel’s first female co-lead? Let us know in the comments down below!

Ant-Man and the Wasp hits theaters on July 6, 2018.

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David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.