Before You Go: Ant-Man

(or, The Sad, Size-Changing Tale of Henry Pym, Part 2)

In 2006, Marvel Studios was just beginning its ambitious plan to take over the world — or the multiplexes at least. Their first project would be a little film called “Iron Man.”

At the same time, English writer/director Edgar Wright knocks on the door and says, “Hey, would you mind if I made a movie about Ant-Man?”

“Ant-Man? *snicker* Sure,” Marvel says. “Knock yourself out.”

Wright’s reputation was built on quirky comedies like “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” The trouble for Hank Pym fans, is that Wright wasn’t interested in making a film about Pym, he wanted to use the Scott Lang version.

For reasons not worth getting into, “Ant-Man” was delayed. And delayed. And delayed.

Meanwhile, Marvel Studios is cranking out hit after hit – “Iron Man,” HULK,” “Thor,” “Captain America” – all the while building a connected movie universe. With success comes the concern within Marvel that maybe we don’t want “Ant-Man” to be a quirky British comedy — even if it is Ant-Man.

BF_Payoff_1-Sht_v8_Lg-1309x1940Marvel and Wright part ways but the damage is already done. Hank and Jan won’t be ready to assemble with the rest of the Avengers, Hank’s creation of Ultron is turned over to Tony Stark, Hank won’t even get to be the star of his own movie.

He will, however, get to be played by Michael Douglas — which is pretty cool. Hank arguably is the Avenger being played by the biggest Hollywood icon of the bunch. And if this were 1980’s “Romancing the Stone” Michael Douglas it would be even better, but this is 70-year-old Michael Douglas which of course means that poor Hank has been turned into the mentor role.

But hey, he’s better off than Jan, whose future — and present — is clouded in mystery.  She’s been replaced in the film by Hope Van Dyne — Hank and Jan’s daughter (Hank and Jan don’t have children in the comics. No, I don’t count alternate universes). Whatever Jan’s fate, it’s a good bet Hope will be the one suiting up for Wasp duty when the time comes.

And that’s probably far more than you need to know…before you go.

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