Michelle Pfeiffer and Laurence Fishburne are joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The actress will play Janet van Dyne, the superhero wife of Hank Pym/original Ant-Man (Michael Douglas) and mother to Hope (Evangeline Lilly) in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp. The announcement was made Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con during Marvel Studios’ Hall H panel.
In Marvel’s comic books, the van Dyne character is the original Wasp and a founding member — and onetime leader — of the Avengers. She continued as a superhero even after Pym retired from adventuring, until she was lost in a subatomic realm and assumed dead. (She later returned, entirely healthy, because … comics.) In Marvel’s Ant-Man film, Pym mourned the loss of his wife, who had been lost in the subatomic realm in an act of heroism (she was disabling a rocket).
Fishburne’s character, Bill Foster, was a scientist who worked alongside Pym, later becoming a size-changing superhero in his own right, initially as Black Goliath and then taking over the role of Giant-Man from Pym. A long-running guest star in such comic book series as Marvel Two-in-One and Champions, Foster was one of the first casualties of Marvel’s original Civil War comic book in 2006.
Also revealed on Saturday: A character called the Ghost will be in the film. The Ghost is a relatively obscure Marvel villain who fits into the setup of the Ant-Man movies. Originally an Iron Man villain, the mysterious character (who is never seen unmasked) started as an industrial saboteur by trade who quickly fell into a world of paranoid delusion where he trusted no one and worked for whichever side served his own best interests at the time.
Both Pfeiffer and Fishburne are already Comic-Con favorites. Pfeiffer starred as Catwoman in 1992’s Batman Returns, while Fishburne is revered among the geek faithful for his work as Morpheus in the Matrix trilogy.
Ant-Man helmer Peyton Reed is set to direct the follow-up, with Paul Rudd returning as the titular hero.