(Warning, mild potential SPOILERS for Ant-Man - and future MCU movies - lie below...)
When it comes to gaining legendary status as a comic-book character, there are few better ways to go about it than by being a founding member of one of the most iconic superhero teams of all time. Say what you like about the likes of Aquaman, Mr Fantastic and Angel, but they were there when the Justice League, Fantastic Four and X-Men were born - and just as deserving of legendary status as their 'cooler' counterparts.
Similarly, though she's largely been ignored by the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far, it's important not to forget that when the Avengers were first founded back in 1963, Janet van Dyne, aka The Wasp, was as integral a member as any other. So much so, in fact, that she even coined the name:
And yet, with the other yet-to-appear founder, Ant-Man, about to get his own movie, it's been looking increasingly likely that Janet has been more-or-less entirely pushed out of the MCU. After all, the original comic-book Ant-Man, Hank Pym, is set to appear as an older, non-superhero in the movie, with a major part of his back-story seeming set to be the tragic, potentially-off screen, death of his wife...Janet van Dyne. What's more, with her daughter, Hope van Dyne, playing a major role in the movie, and being played by Evangeline Lilly, the chances of us ever seeing the original Wasp in action seem to have been getting slimmer and slimmer.
And yet, there may still be hope for the Wasp's legion of fans. Y'see:
It Sounds as Though the Original Wasp WILL Be Appearing in Ant-Man
Specifically, Marvel Studios Head Honcho Kevin Feige has explicitly confirmed that Janet will, in fact, be in the movie, revealing to Screen Rant that:
"It factors in, in a number of spoiler-ish ways, but we will see Janet Van Dyne in action in this film."
Which, from the sounds of it, will also act as an explanation for exactly why Hank Pym chooses a Paul Rudd-shaped thief to become Ant-Man rather than his distinctly more competent-seeming daughter:
As Feige added:
"...And then we will understand why that is the reason that he doesn’t wa his daughter to follow in those footsteps. One of the reasons why he’s always so upset about superheroes in general, dismissive of them in general and also a reason why he doesn’t want her to put on the suit."
"Because another very logical question in the movie is, why are you hiring this ex-con to put on your suit and do this? The answer is, because he has abilities in cracking security networks and in pulling off heists that nobody else has. Which is really why he needs to do it. But Hope is infinitely more capable of actually being a superhero in the beginning of this film, and we learn sort of that that’s ultimately when Hank reveals for the first time for the audience, and even the first time to Hope, what actually happened in the past and why he’s so nervous about putting on that suit.
The big question, then?
Just How Will Janet Appear in Ant-Man?
Well, as it turns out, Collider's Matt Goldberg picked up some pretty specific details about The Wasp's brief appearance in the movie, including just how it ties into the plot...
*(Which means the real SPOILERS likely kick in from here)*
As he puts it:
"In Ant-Man, we see her briefly, although they didn’t cast a name actress for the role because you only get a close-up on her eyes. Wasp, who is Pym’s wife in the movie, appears in a flashback, and while we don’t know if she dies or gets lost in the microverse, Pym blames S.H.I.E.L.D. and resents superheroes. It’s a clever motivation for why Pym hasn’t been active as a superhero for decades, and it also explains why Wasp isn’t a main character in the movie. Furthermore, if she’s been “lost” and isn’t dead, it opens the door to bring her back later even though, like Pym, she’d be much older unless the microverse slowed down time or something."
Which, since it would simultaneously provide a solid motivation for Pym' actions in the movie, a brief, fan-pleasing cameo for the original Wasp, and an avenue for bringing Janet back one day, does make a whole lot of sense in the context of the MCU as is.
It's just a shame that Janet - who, in the comics, has been on the receiving end of one of the most shocking acts of domestic violence (at the hands of Hank Pym, no less) ever put on page - is currently only set to exist in the MCU as an initial source of motivation for Pym's plot-line.
There's still hope she could one day return, of course - and a young Janet complicating her daughter's life in the present day would certainly make for an interesting Ant-Man 2 - but in the mean-time, it may well have to be enough that we're going to get a glimpse of the legendary hero...and that, perhaps, her daughter is set to take on the Wasp's name and heroic leanings.
As Kevin Feige hinted:
[T]here are things that we see towards the end of the film that indicate [Hope van Dyne] could...get [a suit] of her own."
Surprise Wasp cameo in Captain America: Civil War, anyone?