Ava Starr is the daughter of Elihas and Catherine Starr, who gained the ability to render herself intangible and generate extreme amounts of power following a quantum accident, which killed her parents. At a young age, S.H.I.E.L.D. began taking advantage of her powers, enlisting her as a stealth operative under the moniker of Ghost prior to the HYDRA Uprising. Under Bill Foster's care, Ava realizes that she is slowly dying due to a lack of quantum energy, which she involuntarily harnesses.
Within weeks of succumbing to her disease without a cure, Ava learns that an updated version of the Quantum Tunnel, a gateway to the Quantum Realm engineered by Hank Pym has been completed, and embedded into a portable lab. Her plans to harness quantum energy from the Quantum Realm conflict with Pym's plans to rescue Janet van Dyne, whose survival in the Quantum Realm relies directly on the quantum energy Ava is seeking to extract. Ava begins making attempts to steal the lab by force, putting her in conflict again, this time with Ant-Man and the Wasp. At the verge of dying, Janet transfers some of her energy to Ava, temporarily stabilizing her abilities. With this, she slowly makes a recovery and goes into hiding with Foster.
- "I doubt Hank ever mentioned my father. Why would he? Elihas Starr. They were colleagues at S.H.I.E.L.D.. Quantum research. Until my father dared disagree with the great Hank Pym. You had him fired. Oh, and discredited for good measure. My father tried to continue his research on his own, desperate to restore his name. So, he took risks. Too many, until something went wrong. He told us to run. I could tell he was scared. I didn't want him to be alone. When I woke up, my parents were dead. I wasn't so lucky."
- ―Ava Starr
As a child, Ava Starr grew up in Argentina as the daughter of Catherine and Elihas Starr. Ava witnessed the fallout of her father's partnership with Hank Pym, who kicked him out of S.H.I.E.L.D. and smeared his name within the scientific community. Embittered, Elihas continued to research quantum power on his own despite the risks. When an experiment involving a Quantum Tunnel went wrong, Ava tried to run to her father to ensure he didn't die alone, but the tunnel ruptured before she reached him, killing her father and mother and inundating her with quantum energy.
When rescue crews arrived, they were unable to touch Ava as she had become intangible from the accident. She was placed in a shelter and first encountered Bill Foster there, who gave her a toy. Although she was upset that she was unable to hold it, Foster encouraged Ava to focus her powers, and she was eventually able to solidify and pick it up. Foster promised to find a way to cure her condition and began to act as a surrogate father, developing the quantum chamber to allow her to briefly stabilize and ease her pain.
Observing the potential asset her powers could become, S.H.I.E.L.D. took Starr and began to train her in espionage so that she could go on missions to take down threats that proved too difficult for conventional operatives. They developed the Ghost Suit for her to harness her abilities, granting her the option to slip between intangible and solid states, and promised to help find a way to cure her.
Over the course of her time in the field as well as the prolonged suffering caused by her quantum displacement, Starr became hardened and extremely vicious, eventually realizing that S.H.I.E.L.D. had no intention of finding a cure. When S.H.I.E.L.D. collapsed, Starr was taken in by Bill Foster, who began to assist her in researching a cure as her condition started to deteriorate.
Finding a Cure
Clashing with the Pyms
Starr observed Hank Pym who shrunk the Mobile Laboratory and left with Hope van Dyne and Scott Lang. Starr suddenly materialized a short distance away, tracking their van to Sonny Burch's restaurant, Oui. After Burch attempted to double-cross van Dyne, Starr waited until she in her Wasp Suit had defeated Burch's mercenaries and taken the final component before appearing and engaging Wasp in a duel for its ownership. Despite gaining an upper hand on van Dyne, Starr's plans were thwarted when Lang in Ant-Man Suit arrived. The two managed to defeat her, but Starr managed to coerce Pym to give her the lab and fled before Lang and van Dyne could intervene.
Arriving at her hideout, Starr placed herself into the Quantum Energy Chamber to temporarily stabilize herself. While she was recovering, Pym had successfully tracked down the lab using re-engineered tech from an earlier Ant-Man suit and sent van Dyne and Lang there to retrieve the lab. Although they were able to enter the building and locate the lab, they were knocked unconscious and restrained along with Pym.
When Lang awoke, Starr explained that she needed the psionic link he shared with Janet van Dyne in order to track her down in the quantum realm and extract her quantum energy to permanently fix her displacement. She revealed that she had been working with Bill Foster to find a cure, and when Pym and van Dyne refused to cooperate because of the potential that Janet would die during the extraction, Starr bitterly retorted by reminding Pym of his role in her father's expulsion from S.H.I.E.L.D. and her current state.
Pym feigned a heart attack to trick Bill into opening the Altoids tin, releasing a group of enlarged ants and allowing van Dyne and Lang to escape with the lab. Furious, Starr planned to kidnap Cassie Lang as a ransom for the lab, but Foster told her he would not continue to help her find a cure if she did this.
Starr spied on Sonny Burch's interrogation of Luis and learned that the Mobile Laboratory was currently at Muir Woods. She then damaged Burch's car to slow him down and headed for the lab. Later, after Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne were arrested by the FBI, Starr killed Stoltz and managed to take the lab herself and set it up to prepare her energy extraction from Janet van Dyne. However, she was then confronted by Ant-Man, having previously freed Pym and van Dyne from the San Francisco FBI Office.
Using ants, they were able to sabotage the extraction and allow Pym to enter the Quantum Realm so he could extract his wife, with the ants themselves forcing Bill Foster and Starr out of the building before it shrank back to luggage-size. A three-sided car chase then took place between van Dyne, Burch's men, and Starr in San Francisco.
During the car chase, Starr had managed to get the lab from the others shortly before losing it again in her struggle to extract energy from the Quantum Realm. Eventually, after Lang took the lab from Burch and struggled to breathe, he dropped the lab only for Starr to retrieve it and grow it to normal size with the remote that she stole from Luis.
As Pym was preparing to return to the real world with Janet, Starr began her process of extracting energy to repair her body, ignoring Foster's warnings about doing so and his promises that Janet would be able to help her. She was then stopped by Lang and van Dyne and kept at bay until Pym and Janet were able to successfully return from the Quantum Realm. By then, her body was beginning to fall apart completely; however, she was saved by Janet, who transferred a portion of quantum energy into her.
Afterward, Ghost proceeded to escape the scene with Lang, Foster, and the Pyms, with Janet promising to fulfill the repair of Starr's body. Unfortunately, van Dyne was ultimately unable to fulfil her promise because while Ant-Man gathered enough energy for Stark, all the Pyms, including Janet, faded away into nothingness as Thanos had snapped his fingers with the complete Infinity Gauntlet, causing half life in the universe to be killed, leaving Ant-Man trapped in the Quantum Realm with no one at the controls to bring him back with Starr's energy.
- "You're not gonna reach into my chest and crush my heart, are you?"
"You're funny. I'm not gonna hurt you, Scott, unless I have to."
- ―Ant-Man and Ghost
Ava Starr has been trained by S.H.I.E.L.D. to become an elite and ruthless stealth operative tasked with infiltrating and eliminating criminal organizations, terrorist cells, and other threats. She holds a grudge against Hank Pym for expelling and discrediting her father, inadvertently leading to the accident that killed him and his wife as well as afflicting her with molecular disequilibrium.
Due to the years of chronic pain, Starr experienced as a result of this, she was desperate enough to do anything to permanently fix her condition, especially when she learned that she had only a few weeks to live. Starr's limited time to live, chronic pain, and desperate need to survive pushed her to act with extreme aggression and impatience. She was planning to extract Janet van Dyne's quantum energy despite the fact the process could potentially kill Janet and even considered kidnapping Cassie Lang as leverage to force Scott Lang to give her the Mobile Laboratory. Starr was unwilling to hear pleas of more peaceful yet uncertain means of curing her condition, as she was acutely aware of her limited lifespan. Having been promised a cure by S.H.I.E.L.D. that was not delivered made Starr distrustful of anyone who urged patience and vague plans for a cure to her condition. Although she shares a somewhat familial bond with Bill Foster, who assisted her in attempting to find a cure, she violently threw him aside when he tried to stop the quantum energy extraction.
Despite Starr's brutal exterior, she was not a heartless person by nature. While Starr's condition and imminent death caused her to act ruthlessly to survive, she still has a sense of morality, feeling shame for her actions as an assassin of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to the fact that the organization never had any intention of finding a cure and all she did for them did nothing to help her, showing she is able to feel remorse for committing actions that were not beneficial in her attempt to cure her condition. Starr has also proven to be capable of showing compassion and regard for others' well-being, particularly to those close to her. This is best exemplified when she urges Foster to abandon her, warning him that he will also be pursued by the authorities if he continues to act as her caretaker. Also, despite what the Pym family's actions caused her, Starr was willing to accept help from them and seems to be on much better terms with them after Janet returns and they begin extracting quantum energy to gradually cure her quantum illness.
Powers and Abilities
- "They call it “molecular disequilibrium.” A rather dull name, I think. Doesn't quite do justice to what it means. Every cell in my body is torn apart... and stitched back together. Over and over. Everyday."
- ―Ava Starr
Quantum Mutation: After being trapped in the middle of an explosion of quantum energy, Starr's physiology mutated mechanically, leaving her to have quantum imbalance, which gave access to her several powers.
- Superhuman Strength: Starr is able to amplify the amount of force behind her attacks while phasing, as a single kick was able to launch Ant-Man through several walls. She played Wasp, with brute force on the street, and able to fling Bill Foster to the other side of a room for attempting to prevent the opening of the Quantum Tunnel.
- Intangibility: Starr can phase through solid objects and living beings at will. The use of her powers is accompanied by flickering, prismatic afterimages of her body as she quantum shifts through space. With the aid of her suit, she can choose whether to become solid or intangible, which allows her to quickly evade attacks and counterattack in tandem; for example, she became intangible to drop through a table while smashing Wasp into it, vaulted through a truck and used the momentum to knock one of Sonny Burch's henchmen off his motorcycle, and phased through Hank Pym's van before solidifying to kick Wasp onto the street during a chase. Solidifying herself while phased through solid matter has destructive effects on the original object, as she forced Pym to give her the lab by threatening to solidify her phased hand inside his neck. She was also able to phase her hand into Stoltz's chest and crush his heart. She became intangible when Ant-Man, knock her out before solidifying and kicked him away. Starr eventually deflected the shots from the Wasp's Stingers and it went into phasing, not be crushed by Hank Pym lab in San Francisco.
- Invisibility: Starr is able to pass in and out of the visible spectrum. She first used this power to spy on Hank Pym after they shrunk the Mobile Laboratory and fled. In fights, she was shown vanishing, then reappearing to launch a surprise attack against Wasp during the skirmish inside of Oui, and also appeared in the midst of Sonny Burch's interrogation to find out where the lab was from Luis. Starr invisible by stealing the remote control from Luis's lab.
- Master Spy: Starr was trained by S.H.I.E.L.D., as a secret agent, she put an end to many criminal organizations, terrorists, and other threats that proved too difficult for conventional agents.
- Master Assassin: Starr is notorious in the art of assassination in using her powers, considered one of the best assassin's of S.H.I.E.L.D., being sent to missions by S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Expert Martial Artist: Having received extensive training from her time as an assassin for S.H.I.E.L.D., Starr became a highly trained fighter. She was able to fight evenly with both Ant-Man and Wasp with the use of her powers.
- Expert Acrobat: Starr is a highly trained acrobat, allowing her to vault over a car with ease. She incorporates this and also gymnastics into her fighting style to battle opponents.
- Ghost Suit: A full-body suit that was designed by S.H.I.E.L.D. to help her better control her powers. The suit allowed Starr to selectively phase through matter at will, allowing her to rapidly switch between intangibility and tangibility for both stealth and offensive purposes.
- Quantum Energy Chamber: Created by Bill Foster, the chamber releases waves of quantum energy which temporarily stabilize Starr's disequilibrium.
- Ghost's Hideout: To be added
- In the comics, Ghost was an unnamed male anticapitalist saboteur. The brilliant inventor created a battle suit that allowed himself or any object he touched to be invisible or intangible.
- Ghost is the third character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be depicted as a different gender from their counterpart in the comics, following Jeri Hogarth and the Ancient One, with the fourth being Mar-Vell, and the fifth being Morgan Stark.
- Ghost is the second female main antagonist in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, the first being Hela.
Behind the Scenes
- Ghost's first name was originally listed as Dawn.
- Tamiko Brownlee was a stunt double for Hannah John-Kamen in the role of Ghost.
- Eli Logue was a stand-in for Hannah John-Kamen in the role of Ghost.
- Stephen Broussard states that Ghost is: "a villain whose main objective is to rid herself of the very thing that makes her a threat. I thought that was really interesting and sort of an emotional core that we really haven’t explored. People seemed to respond to the idea of not a supervillain that had to take over the world. We knew we were coming off the heels of Infinity War and you can’t get bigger than that in terms of epic score, so we zigged where they zagged kind of on purpose."