'Ant-Man 3' director Peyton Reed confirms Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly will share equal billing: 'They're a partnership'

Peyton Reed takes clear pride in the fact that 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp was the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first project to feature a female superhero in its title.

That joint billing and screen time, Reed tells Yahoo Entertainment in a new interview, was not an anomaly.

“They’re a partnership, and she’s a very, very important part of that,” Reed says of the Wasp, aka Hope van Dyne, played in Ant-Man (2015) and its follow-up by Evangeline Lilly opposite Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang.

“And that was a very gratifying thing, I guess technically we were the first Marvel movie with a female hero in the title of the movie. Finding that balance in that movie, that’s very important to me because that’s very much a men’s playing field, historically. But that’s really, really changing now in a great way,” the director shares of his Ant-Man 3 preparations.

Evangeline Lilly and Paul Rudd in 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' (Marvel)
Evangeline Lilly and Paul Rudd in Ant-Man and the Wasp. (Photo: Marvel)

At the time of Ant-Man and the Wasp’s release, Lilly told Yahoo Entertainment how inspired she was by her co-star Michelle Pfeiifer, a trailblazer in the field of female comic book movie characters for her unforgettable role as Catwoman in Batman Returns (1992).

“What I thought was incredible about Catwoman was she was so clearly in control of her persona and autonomous and strong and powerful and independent, and yet she was fiercely sexy,” Lilly said. “I think there’s a great power in embracing that and saying, ‘It’s not one or the other.’ That women are allowed to be fully female and fully feminine and also that makes them powerful. Not that they are powerful in spite of being a woman. I feel like she did that with Catwoman, and I wanted to do that with the Wasp.”

Reed’s new comments come after rumors swirled that Lilly’s role in the planned threequel could be reduced or even dropped due to controversial comments the actress made on Instagram that countered the importance of social distancing during the coronavirus and even inferred the disease, referred to as a “respiratory flu,” could even be an election year hoax.

Lilly offered a lengthy apology for those comments shortly after they sparked backlash, writing that she was now “doing my part to flatten the curve, practicing social distancing and staying home with my family.”

Reed officially signed on to direct Ant-Man 3 in November 2019, with Ricky and Morty writer Jeff Loveness joining the project in April of this year. It’s currently planned for a 2022 release.

“We have [cracked the story],” Reed tells us of the film’s status. “Nothing is official yet, but we’re quietly working. We’re working through the pandemic.”

Watch Peyton Reed and screenwriter Jessica Bendinger celebrate the 20th anniversary of Bring It On:

— Video produced by Gisselle Bances

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