(Warning - major plot SPOILERS for the end of Marvel's Ant-Man - and potentially for future movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - lie below. Proceed with whatever level of caution your natural SPOILER-aversion dictates...)
Now, there's a whole lot to love about Marvel's newly-released Ant-Man, but one element in particular arguably sticks out as the most fan-pleasing of them all. Sure, Paul Rudd was great as Scott Lang, and sure, it was neat to see his (eventually also superheroing) daughter Cassie cameo, but those aren't the only superheroes that we as comic book fans have been aching to see on the big screen.
Specifically, we wanted to see Janet van Dyne a.k.a. The Wasp - one of the founding members of the comic book Avengers, and a bonafide Marvel legend. Which we did, albeit briefly, and in faceless, seemingly MCU-departing, flashback form.
Thankfully, though - as well as leaving open the possibility of Janet's return - Ant-Man ended with a mid-credits scene that teased something potentially just as awesome: the arrival of a new Wasp in the MCU, with Janet's daughter Hope set to don the suit.
The thing is, though - despite that bad-ass final line - that mid-credits scene didn't actually give us much of an idea about when to expect Hope to reappear in the MCU - leading some to suspect that it might not be for a good few years yet.
Thankfully, though, it seems that we do now have a stronger idea about just when The Wasp'll be back - and it's a whole lot sooner than you might think.
As Kevin Feige revealed in a recent interview with Yahoo! Movies:
The Wasp Will Return in Marvel's Phase 3
As he put it:
"It’s going to be certainly a part of our Phase 3 - some of the films we've announced in Phase 3...It is going to be a very important moment, and — spoiler alert! — we see that suit for the first time, and her father now is finally giving it to her and realizes that he can’t hold her back from what is essentially her destiny. It's going to be a very big part of one of our upcoming films."
Or, in other words, we're definitely going to be seeing Hope - as The Wasp - in at least one, and from the sounds of it more than one, of the Marvel movies already announced to be appearing between now and 2019.
The big question, then, then?
Which Marvel Movies Will The Wasp Appear In?
Well, here are the five most obvious potential options (as things currently stand):
Now, this one may seem a relative long-shot, since The Wasp has historically had very little to do with the Inhumans in the comic books - but with Marvel potentially set to completely redefine the characters for the big-screen, it's entirely possible that Wasp could end up being a major supporting character in the movie when it eventually hits our screen in 2019.
4. Captain Marvel
Another movie in which you wouldn't normally expect The Wasp to star, Captain Marvel could nonetheless potentially see Hope van Dyne returning to our screens - after all, Carol Danvers has traditionally had a whole lot of bad-ass female superheroing friends, and since Spider-Woman isn't likely to be in the MCU by that point, could Hope end up providing some already-MCU-established, snarky bantering-filled on-screen partnering?
3. Doctor Strange
Once again, a character without a whole lot of history with The Wasp - but since Hope's barely been in the comics anyway, that's unlikely to be a deal-breaker - Doctor Strange could nonetheless prove an intriguing option for a Wasp return. After all, with the quantum realm Hope's mother has disappeared into being a distinctly mystical-seeming place, could the good doctor end up teaming up with Hope to try to find her mother?
2. Captain America: Civil War
Now, we already know that Ant-Man is set to appear in next year's Captain America: Civil War - but could The Wasp join him too? After all, a post-credits introduction to a hero has so far tended to mean we see them in a major movie release not too long after, so the timing fits - and were she and Scott to end up on different sides of the Civil War, it could certainly add an interesting burst of narrative tension to the film. The only problem? They'd have to get filming pretty darned soon...
1. Avengers: Infinity War
In which we're likely to see pretty much every superhero that's ever turned up in the MCU appear. The Wasp, then, will almost surely be one of them - hopefully finally getting to join the Avengers, much like her founding-member namesake...
What do you think, though?