Do all roads lead to the Wasp in Iron Man 3 (and The Avengers 2)?

Normally, I would never post about a nebulous movie rumor, but the potential for discussion and mystery is so cool that I couldn't resist. It concerns the possible cinematic introduction of one of the actual, original founding members of the Avengers from the Marvel comics: Janet van Dyne, aka the Wasp. Rumors concerning the Wasp in the first Avengers movie definitely existed before they were squashed, but lately, we've been treated to a bunch of hints that might actually make this a credible subject for speculation.

So, why bother doing an entire post about speculation? The stakes are high, if you've been hoping for more Marvel heroines on the big screen, especially one with superpowers who could also be in The Avengers 2. It's also just so irresistibly old-school Marvel. Let's look at some of the evidence that might just point to the Wasp.

  • Item 1: A major factor driving the Wasp rumors is the prominence of Stephanie Szostak's name in the official synopsis for Iron Man 3 — she's billed sixth in the cast list, though her role, thus far, is unnamed. (She also appears for a moment in the trailer, as the woman shoving Tony Stark against the wall at about 1:06.)
  • Item 2: We've seen glimpses of possible connecting elements for Marvel's "Phase 2" roll-out, including A.I.M., or Advanced Idea Mechanics, the fictional company included in set photos from Iron Man 3 (as well as promotional tee-shirts at San Diego Comic Con) that is also rumored to appear in Ant-Man. So, logic tells us:

    If A.I.M. and Szostak are in Iron Man 3, and A.I.M. is in Ant-Man, and Ant-Man founded the Avengers with the Wasp, then Szostak must be the Wasp.

    It's a big reach, but it's a fun reach, and there's a common denominator (A.I.M., which actually points more towards M.O.D.O.K. than the Wasp).

  • Item 3: The most explicit hints, including the involvement of A.I.M. in Ant-Man, come from a mysterious Twitter user named Roger Wardell, who claims to have inside information on everything Marvel — but no one knows who he really is. So, consider that permission to be very skeptical. That said, Wardell posted a tweet recently about how the revelation of Szostak's role in Iron Man 3 will cause fans to "go crazy." Have any of his "bombshells" panned out? Actually, yes, though it's a spoilery one — two tweets, one from August and another from September, have mentioned (spoiler text ahoy) Pepper Potts putting on the Iron Man armor. This was confirmed by Marvel this week. So, maybe there's something to this Wardell character.
  • Item 4: also received an anonymous tip that claimed, flat-out, that Szostak would be playing the Wasp. But that might be slightly too shady — or is it? In context, it might make all the sense in the world.
  • Item 5: Ant-Man, the other founding member of the Avengers (and the Wasp's love interest), is getting his own movie with Edgar Wright at the helm, possibly as soon as 2014. At this point, not having the Wasp on board would seem like a conspicuous omission, don't you think?
  • As I said, these are all theories and rumors, based on tidbits of information that may or may not be related. Not to mention that all we really have to go on is that Stephanie Szostak is a female actor in a Marvel movie. There are tons of characters she could be playing — but the Wasp is looking pretty good.

    Rumor Patrol: Iron Man 3 To Introduce The Wasp? [Screen Rant]

    Photo credit: Marvel