It’s always fun to take a look back at what could’ve been. Many films go through a variety of scripts before they settle on the one that makes it into cinemas. It looks like Avengers almost was a completely different story, as the new book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe confirmed that Joss Whedon‘s Avengers film was originally going to center on the Wasp. Not just that, they were eyeing New Girl‘s Zooey Deschanel for the role, as highlighted by producer Jeremy Latcham.
It was all about The Wasp. He wanted to cast Zooey Deschanel. [Wasp] was the funniest character in the whole movie, and well-written.Jeremy Latcham
They go into detail about how the production ended up including Wasp in a major role. It seems after Iron Man 2, no one knew if Scarlett Johansson would return and so they needed to fill the role that was originally meant for Black Widow. Whedon decided to add in Wasp. A quote by Whedon highlights that once Johansson was back on board, they had to rewrite the entire script, especially as they realized the Wasp character took over the story.
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 I had written this entire movie about The Wasp. Oops. I overcompensated there.Joss Whedon
It’s certainly a little peek behind the curtains and exploring what could’ve been. Deschanel would match a more bubbly version of Janet van Dyne, which some may be familiar with from the animated Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes series. Of course, the character took quite a different route as Evangeline Lilly‘s Hope van Dyne would take on the iconic mantle. They turned the title into a legacy story, as she took over the role from her mother, who was cast as Michelle Pfeiffer in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Still, it’s crazy to imagine if Johansson didn’t find time, the MCU we are now experiencing might’ve been quite a bit different. Perhaps the adventure into the multiverse opens up the possibility for her to tackle the role after all.
Source: The Story of Marvel Studios via ComicBook