Evangeline Lilly Reveals Why She Rejected Hugh Jackman

Evangeline Lilly turned down Hugh Jackman's suggestion she join an X-Men movie.

By Douglas Helm | Published

Evangeline Lilly
Real Steel

Evangeline Lilly may be a major superhero actor now, but at one point she was entirely uninterested in taking on any superhero roles. So much so that she even turned down Hugh Jackman himself when he asked her about joining the X-Men in 2011. Deadline reported on Lilly’s appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast where she spoke about turning down superhero roles saying “I often was very critical of them,” and “Like, I was known to mock them and treat them as lower forms of entertainment until Marvel came around.”

It’s interesting to imagine what role the X-Men team would have had in mind for Evangeline Lilly. Jackman brought up the idea when they were working on the film Real Steel together, so this would have been when the X-Men had already been rebooted with X-Men: First Class. The X-Men films that would come out in the following years included The Wolverine and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

The Wolverine took place in Japan with an almost entirely Japanese cast (other than Jackman), so it seems unlikely that they would have been wanting to cast Evangeline in that film. More than likely, they would have offered her a role in X-Men: Days of Future Past. However, X-Men: Days of Future Past had mostly characters from X-Men: First Class and the previous X-Men trilogy with not too many new female characters, so it’s anyone’s guess what mutant they were thinking of when casting Lilly.

In any case, Evangeline Lilly never became an X-Men. She also turned down an opportunity to star as a major DC character, as she mentioned she turned Joss Whedon down when he asked her about being Wonder Woman. Of course, Gal Gadot would eventually play the character instead.

evangeline lilly

In the end, things definitely worked out for Evangeline Lilly as she got to join the highly successful MCU instead as Hope Van Dyne aka The Wasp. She’s starred in three Ant-Man movies since joining the Marvel train, along with Avengers: Endgame. Avengers: Endgame ended up being one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, so she’s probably glad she held off on taking superhero roles as long as she did.

Evangeline Lilly is now starring in the most recent MCU film Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which kicks off the next phase of the MCU. The film also introduces us to the next Avengers-level villain with Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conquerer. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania also brings back Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne, and introduces Kathryn Newton as an older Cassie Lang.

Things have also come full circle as far as the X-Men go since they’re being officially introduced to the MCU at some point. We’ve already learned Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan is a mutant and Jackman himself is once again reprising his role as Wolverine in Deadpool 3. Perhaps there’s a chance that Evangeline Lilly will get to fight alongside the X-Men in future MCU films.

You can see Evangeline Lilly in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in theaters now. You can see Jackman return as Wolverine in Deadpool 3 in 2024. Stay tuned for more news on the MCU.

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