Zooey Deschanel Almost Played A Major Marvel Hero In The Avengers

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a well-oiled machine over the last decade of filmmaking, but it started off as a major gamble. A crossover event like Joss Whedon’s The Avengers had never been done, and the project changed throughout the course of its development. And it turns out that Zooey Deschanel almost played a major Marvel hero in that iconic blockbuster.

The Avengers arrived in theaters back in 2012, and featured the first major MCU crossover as the heroes assembled to protect New York City. Joss Whedon wanted to bring in Zooey Deschanel as The Wasp after it seemed like Black Widow wouldn’t factor into the story. Senior Vice President of Marvel Studios Jeremy Latcham confirmed this recently, saying:

It was all about The Wasp. He wanted to cast Zooey Deschanel. [Wasp] was the funniest character in the whole movie, and well-written.

Well, my mind is blown. It’s hard to imagine The Avengers without Black Widow, but it looks like another badass female hero nearly joined the team: The Wasp. While that’s a character that would ultimately be played by Evangeline Lilly in the Ant-Man movies, it’s fascinating to imagine how the shared universe would have been altered by this choice.

The Wasp in Ant-Man 2

(Image credit: Disney)

Jeremy Latcham’s revelation about The Avengers comes to us from the newly released book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (opens in new tab) (Via The Direct).  In it there are a number of tidbits that are sure to blow the minds of Marvel fans out there. Chief among them is that Zooey Deschanel nearly had the chance to be the first female Avenger instead of Scarlett Johnasson’s Black Widow.

The generations of MCU fans might be wondering exactly why Black Widow was nearly not included in the lineup of The Avengers. That’s addressed in the book, as it wasn’t always clear if Scarlett Johansson would be able to film and reprise her Iron Man 2 role due to a scheduling conflict. Joss Whedon himself is quoted, where he addressed the way Wasp nearly factored into the blockbuster. As he put it,

The Wasp happened because there was a short period where it looked like we weren't going to be able to get Scarlett [due to scheduling conflicts], so I was panicking. I thought, 'Hold on, we could do The Wasp.' Then, I fell in love with that. But we did get Scarlett, and then I realized that I had written this entire movie about The Wasp. Oops, I overcompensated there.

Suddenly it all makes sense. It looks like Joss Whedon wrote an alternate version of The Avengers script just in case Scarlett Johansson wasn’t available to appear as Black Widow. But the Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator might have gone overboard, and made The Wasp the star of the show. But moviegoers know how that ultimately worked out.

In the end Scarlett Johnasson starred as Black Widow in all four of the Avengers movies, and only recently wrapped her tenure as the character. Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp will be back in Ant-Man’s upcoming threequel, while it remains to be seen if Zooey Deschanel ever gets to play a Marvel character. Although there are some killer choices for the 500 Days of Summer actress.

The next installment in the MCU is Eternals on November 5th. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.