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Joss Whedon Wanted Zooey Deschanel To Play This Surprising Role In Avengers

Marvel fans were blown away by "The Avengers" when the team-up movie arrived in theaters back in 2012. The film is the culmination of the first five movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, putting Earth's Mightiest Heroes against the God of Mischief, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), as he tries to overthrow Earth with an alien army. "Marvel's The Avengers" was a huge success, raking in $1.5 billion worldwide (as per Box Office Mojo) and confirming the MCU was here to stay. Obviously, this cinematic universe has greatly expanded since those early days, as more and more heroes join the team's ranks.

Marvel Studios is currently focusing on introducing new heroes (and villains) rather than just reusing the usual suspects (see: Simu Liu as the titular hero in Destin Daniel Cretton's "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings"). Chloé Zhao's "Eternals" also introduces a number of new cosmic characters who have been around for thousands of years. 

Similarly, a pivotal Marvel character who is featured in later MCU phases was almost introduced to audiences much earlier than expected. "The Avengers" director Joss Whedon wanted to introduce other new heroes on the Avengers team back in 2012, and "New Girl" star Zooey Deschanel was considered for a surprising role in the ensemble.

Joss Whedon really wanted Zooey Deschanel as the Wasp

The new book "The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe" (via Goodreads) gives readers insight into how the creation of the MCU and its transformation into a pop-culture behemoth. "The Story of Marvel Studios" also reveals new information about the productions of various Marvel movies. One excerpt (per The Direct) features Senior Vice President of Marvel Studios Jeremy Latcham revealing director Joss Whedon wanted to include Wasp in the team-up movie — and he wanted Zooey Deschanel to play the miniature hero.

Latcham explained, "It was all about the Wasp. He wanted to cast Zooey Deschanel. [Wasp] was the funniest character in the whole movie and well-written," and even noted the actress was included in the movie's script. Bringing another hero into the mix probably would have changed the "Avengers" story, but, on the other hand, it would have also added a little more gender diversity in a very male-dominated team. The Direct's report notes Latcham pointed out that adding Wasp into "Marvel's The Avengers" took the focus away from the rest of the heroes, who had all carried the MCU up to that point. Whedon apparently agreed with the decision to remove the "Ant-Man" character from the script, saying he "took some wrong turns."

It makes sense that Marvel Studios wanted to make sure "The Avengers" was in perfect shape. This team-up movie was the first of its kind in the MCU, and expectations were high. But it would've been great to see Deschanel's version of the character in 2012, six years before Evangeline Lilly takes on the Wasp mantle in 2018's "Ant-Man and the Wasp."