Welcome to Bae Watch Wednesday, where I tell you all about the fictional characters you ought to be crushing on. This week’s bae is Hope van Dyne, one of the best parts of Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Who is Hope van Dyne?
Hope van Dyne is one of the main characters in the Ant-Man movies in the MCU. While she is somewhat a supporting character in the first movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp sees her granted full protagonist status, as an equal partner to Scott Lang’s Ant-Man.
We first meet Hope in Ant-Man. She is the daughter of Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, and Janet van Dyne, the original Wasp. Janet was (presumably) killed on a mission for SHIELD when Hope was a little girl. Hope’s relationship with Hank suffered as a result of their loss, and they had a falling out.
Hank and Hope are forced to work together when Darren Cross, Hank’s former protege, begins to go off the rails. Darren forced Hank out of his own company and proceeded to try and recreate the Pym Particle, allowing him to create his own Ant-Man prototype. However, Darren lacks all of Hank’s (slight) morals and plans to sell his tech to the highest bidder.
Hope is Darren’s right hand at Pym Tech, which allows her to keep an eye on things. She and Hank plan to steal the materials from the lab, destroy Darren’s prototype, and hopefully stop Darren’s evil plot. However, to do so they need someone to don the Ant-Man suit. Hope argues that it should be her. Hank chooses Scott Lang instead.
Scott thoroughly unimpresses Hope, at first. He’s an ex-con who makes poor life choices and is slow to get the hang of Hank’s technology. Hope knows she could do the job easily, but Hank refuses to allow her. She thinks he doesn’t trust her. Scott points out that Hank loves her too much to put her in danger like that.
After Scott’s intervention, Hank and Hope try to repair their bond. Hank reveals what actually happened to Janet all those years ago: she went into the quantum realm as a result of his failure. He can’t bear to lose Hope like he lost her mother. While Hope still maintains she could do it, she accepts her father’s explanation.
Hope works with Hank and Scott to stop Darren. She helps orchestrate their plan and keeps Darren from killing Hank. They escape the building before it blows, though Hank has been badly wounded. Scott succeeds in stopping Darren, and they are able to breathe a little easier. Scott and Hope even share a kiss, starting a budding something.
However, everything goes off the rails when Scott goes to Germany to help Captain America. He is arrested for violating the Sokovia Accords. While Scott is able to do a plea deal and get a sentence of house arrest, Hank and Hope must go on the run to prevent their tech from falling into the hands of the government.
This is especially inconvenient because of the research they are doing. When Scott defeated Darren, he went into the quantum realm and was able to return. This gives Hank hope that maybe Janet is still there, and maybe she can return too. He and Hope put all their efforts into trying to save Janet.
It’s not easy to conduct research while on the run, but they manage. They build a quantum portal and are preparing to go into the quantum realm in search of Janet when their machine goes wrong. Shortly after, Scott calls them out of the blue saying he had a dream about Janet. It looks like they have to work with Scott once again.
Hope knocks Scott out and grabs him from his apartment, taking him back to her and Hank’s lab. Scott panics, thinking he has broken his house arrest three days before his sentence ends. Hope, of course, already thought of this, and has a decoy in place.
While he was in the quantum realm, Scott formed a connection with Janet. His brain is the key to finding her mother, so Hope works with him for the time being. She does give him a little grief for running off to fight in Germany without her, saying that she would have prevented him from getting caught if she’d been there.
When they run into some trouble, Scott sees first hand that Hope fights her own battles. Hank has made Hope her own suit, and she now fights as the Wasp, her mother’s former title. Hope kicks ass as the Wasp, and Scott is impressed if a little jealous of her cooler tech. They team up to fight together when they run into Ghost, who has phase shifting abilities that are killing her.
Things are tense, but eventually, Scott is able to connect with Janet and give Hope and Hank the information they need to save her. Hope wants to go, but Hank tells her she needs to help Scott stop Ghost and goes in her place. They are able to stop Ghost at the last minute from hurting Janet, who then is able to heal Ghost. Once more, the day is saved.
Hope and Scott come to an understanding. They make a good team. We later see them on a date, with Cassie, Scott’s daughter, tagging along. Cassie points out that it’s good Scott has Hope watching his back. Later, Hope is killed when Thanos’ snap happens.
Why is Hope van Dyne Bae?
Look, Evangeline Lilly could kill me and I would thank her for the honor. Like, damn. She is unnecessarily attractive. Hope van Dyne is a particularly attractive character for Lilly, too. She even manages to look killer hot in that ridiculous haircut in the first Ant-Man movie.
In Ant-Man and the Wasp, looking much nicer and kicking ass too? I’m dead. It’s been an honor.
We all know there is nothing I find more attractive than someone who can fight (which probably says terrible things about me, but oh well). And Hope van Dyne can fight. Even before she becomes the Wasp, Hope is dealing out justice, in the best way.
One of the best scenes in Ant-Man is where Hope teaches Scott how to fight. Scott is cocky, thinking that of course, he knows how to fight. He just got out of prison, after all. He’s not taking it at all seriously, thinking there is nothing this girl can teach him. So, she decks him. Right in the face. It’s amazing.
Hope continues kicking ass throughout the whole movie. Her fighting prowess is helpful in stopping Cross at Pym Tech. She’s a major part of why their plan is successful. Hope uses Muay Thai fighting style, giving her a deadly grace that really works for the character.
Hope’s not satisfied being a sidekick, however. When Hank shows her the prototype for the Wasp suit, she’s all ready to go be a hero herself. Scott Lang who? She comes out guns blazing in Ant-Man and the Wasp — literally, as her suit has blasters, something Scott doesn’t. She’s not just a point-and-shoot person, though, still displaying remarkable strategy and grace.
It’s fun to watch Hope fight. She’s smart, using her resources wisely. She frequently uses Pym technology to enlarge objects to serve her purpose, even using a Pez dispenser as a weapon. She’s incredibly skilled. It’s great to see a female character kick ass so thoroughly.
What makes Hope’s skill and talent as a fighter better is how thoroughly she inhabits the role of the Wasp. Even before she has the suit, she’s a hero. But once she has the suit? She’s the hero. She’s no longer there to teach and guide Scott. Now, she’s the one saving the day.
And that’s important. For all the many, many movies in the MCU, Hope is the first female character to headline a film. Yes, Ant-Man and the Wasp, the twentieth film in the MCU, is the first time a movie has been named after a female hero. Come on, guys. But at least if they were going to take so long, they did a good job picking who to feature.
Ant-Man almost puts Hope in a safe, gender-role-conforming box. She’s almost the familiar “leading lady” role in the MCU: a love interest, there to give the hero support and snark in equal doses. But by letting Hope fight, letting her wipe the floor with Scott, and giving her the suit at the end of the film, Ant-Man falls short of that limitation.
Ant-Man and the Wasp then gives us our glorious female hero. While Hope is not the first female character in the MCU to have her own property (see Agent Carter and Jessica Jones), the movies are a bigger deal. So it’s nice to see a leading lady actually be a leading lady, not just a love interest.
Hope van Dyne is a hero. She’s arguably a better hero than Scott. She’s definitely more skilled. Ant-Man and the Wasp recognizes this and gives her her due. Hope van Dyne is no one’s sidekick. Sure, she might still be a love interest, but one could argue Scott is her love interest. They’re partners. It’s nice.
What’s Not To Love?
I love Scott Lang as much as the next person, but honestly, Hope van Dyne is the real star of the Ant-Man films. She’s definitely one of the best things to come out of these films (the other being Luis… gotta love Luis). And it’s so nice, for once, to see a Marvel movie let a female hero actually be the hero.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is a game-changer. The movie gave us so many great things, Hope van Dyne being one of them. She takes center stage, no longer playing second fiddle. Now, she’s in charge, and she does a really good job of it.
Hope is such a great character. She’s a kick-ass hero, never afraid to throw a punch to stop a bad guy. But she’s more than that. She’s smart, helping her father build quantum technology to save her mother. She’s funny, sassing right back at Scott when he needs to be shut down. Hope is so many things: determined, heroic, kind, sarcastic, and thoroughly well-rounded.
Honestly, it’s a real crime that Hope was lost in the Snap. But, there is good news. Evangeline Lilly is listed as appearing in Avengers 4 on her IMDb page, so I’m hoping she’s coming back. (Let’s be real, they’re all coming back.) Because if we don’t get more Hope van Dyne, we’re being royally screwed over.
Hope van Dyne is a hero. Let her come back. Let’s be real, Scott wouldn’t last a day without her. He needs her, the world needs her, I need her. Because I really need to see the Wasp kick someone’s ass to feel better about the world.