One of the first Marvel Studios films to go into pre-production, even before the release of Iron Man, was Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man. Wright tinkered with his script for up to six years before it was ready to shoot. Since that time, we have gotten a bevy of cool casting announcements that have totally overshadowed the fact that the movie is about a guy who can talk to ants. (Admittedly the concept and comic book stories are much deeper and more substantive than that.) Michael Douglas was cast as the original, Ant-Man, Hank Pym. Evangeline Lilly, Michael Cera and Patrick Wilson joined the party in yet to be specified roles. Paul Rudd will be taking on the mantle of the modern-day Ant-Man, Scott Lang.
There has been a question that comic book fans have been looking to get a confirmation on. In the comics continuity, Hank Pym aka the original Ant-Man, creates one of the Avengers greatest threats, the killer robot Ultron. However, Pym has yet to be included in the cinematic universe and Ant-Man will premiere months after Avengers: Age of Ultron. In addition they advanced Pym’s age by decades when they cast Michael Douglas. Last summer Marvel unveiled the first teaser for Avengers: Age of Ultron. In the clip, you see Iron Man’s helmet get reforged into the face of Ultron. So speculation has pointed to Tony Stark being the inventor whose creation runs amuck. In an interview with Empire Magazine (via CBM), Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige explains how they tackled the issue in the cinematic version and what changes had to be made to the script due to the connected MCU:
There’s been a little bit of connective tissue that wouldn’t have been there in his draft ten years ago… We changed, frankly some of the MCU to accommodate this version of Ant-Man. Knowing what we wanted to do with Edgar and with Ant-Man, going years and years back, helped to dictate what we did with the roster for the Avengers the first time. It was a bit of both in terms of his idea for the Ant-Man story influencing the birth of the MCU in the early films leading up to Avengers… It was two things – a story Edgar wanted to tell that we’ll see with Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd, and now we’re 11 films in, it’s looking at the characters we’ve already introduced who already have the technology and the brains to do… certain things [Laughs] He’s certainly older. Original Tony Stark? In that he’s an inventor and a scientist, but he has a very different demeanour than Tony and a very different ego, even when he was younger.
Feige pointed out two interesting notions. One that they crafted the chronology of their cinematic history with this film in mind. There have been rumors generated by Wright himself that there will be a 1960’s era adventure with Pym in his prime within the movie. This flashback may do a lot to set up future films and agendas. Much in the way that Captain America: The First Avenger has colored future films and television shows ranging from Agents of SHIELD to the upcoming Agent Carter tv show.
The second cool point that Feige made is that there are already established characters in the MCU that have the “technology and brains” to create an A.I. that goes on to be as powerful as Ultron. That person is Tony Stark of course. It makes sense thematically for the sequel as well. At the end of Iron Man 3 Stark has destroyed his mech suits and repaired the heart problem that kept him in the suit in the first place. Surely he has to get back on the combat field by the end of the film. What better call to action is there than a Frankenstein-style monster going berserk? So it seems that this is lining up to be a redemption arc for Stark.
Casual viewers probably aren’t as familiar with the character(s) of Ant-Man, even though he has been part of Marvel since close to the beginning. Filming begins on the film in the upcoming weeks and we have a feeling that we are in for an unexpected treat. It will be following Avengers: Age of Ultron (We can’t wait to get the mid-credit scene reveal of Ant-Man) in the late summer 2015, so it will have a lot of goodwill and momentum behind it. A shrinking-man heist movie is a mashup we haven’t yet seen and we can’t wait to bring you more info on this project.
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Sources: Empire Magazine, What Culture, Marvel