The Ant-Man teaser trailer premiered at the end of the Agent Carter premiere nearly two weeks ago, and now has over 8 million views on YouTube. Among the mockery and the skepticism and ongoing criticism of the absence of Janet Van Dyne, there was a shining beacon of light and hope.
Scott Lang’s daughter.
Although unnamed in the trailer, Cassie features prominently in terms of visual presence and direct mentions, on equal terms with the other as-of-yet unnamed female character played by Evangeline Lilly. She is also presented as Scott’s overall motivation for becoming the Ant-Man.
“This is your chance to earn that look in your daughter’s eyes, to become the hero she already thinks you are,” Hank Pym (played very creepily by Michael Douglas) says.
Why is this narrative and visual emphasis on Cassie important? How does her presence light a beacon of hope for female comic fans of Marvel Entertainment?
In the comics, Scott Lang dies.
But this is A Very Good Thing, because the person who picks up his helmet, becoming a superhero in their own right at a mere 13 years of age, is not a random Pym cousin or long-lost brother.
It’s Scott Lang’s daughter, Cassie.
What’s important about Cassie’s legacy as Scott Lang’s daughter is that she isn’t given the mantle as consolation for her father’s death. Cassie demands it, going head-to-head with Tony Stark in the process. Introducing Cassie Lang into the MCU foreshadows not only Scott’s death, but Cassie’s eventual ascension as the hero with a much cooler name than Ant-Man: Stature. It foreshadows a male character’s death inspiring a female character’s heroic development.
Cassie’s superhero origin story is covered in the first six issues of Young Avengers, penned by Allan Heinberg with art by Jim Cheung. It was in this arc that we also saw the origin of Kate Bishop as Hawkeye, after Clint Barton’s death and prior to his resurrection. Thus, setting up Cassie’s origin story, which was concurrent with Kate’s and the other Young Avengers, sets up an entire generation of younger superheroes, many of whom are legacies and from more diverse backgrounds.
“Is it too late to change the name?” Scott asks.
Well played, Marvel.