The early word on Ant-Man has started to come in from the film critics, and so far, it’s been almost all positive.
It’s still far too soon to predict how Ant-Man will perform at the box office when it comes out on July 17, but if Marvel Studios has once again successfully launched a new film franchise, then an Ant-Man sequel will be inevitable.
Now, Marvel Studios could wait several years and hold back an Ant-Man sequel until Phase 4 of its cinematic universe begins in 2020. But it won’t. Marvel and its parent company, Disney are far more likely to shuffle the release schedule if the response to Ant-Man merits a follow up. Remember, there’s only been one Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that hasn’t gotten a sequel, but the Hulk seems to be doing all right for himself in the Avengers franchise.
If there is an Ant-Man sequel, it’s going to need a villain. In superhero movies, it’s always the villain who drives the conflict and pushes the hero to their limits and beyond. Ant-Man may not have the rogues gallery of Batman or Spider-Man, but the first two Ant-men, Hank Pym and Scott Lang, certainly have adversaries who could potentially make their way into the MCU.
Ahead of Ant-Man’s release on July 17, ComingSoon.net has taken a look back at six of the most memorable Ant-Man villains, including one whom we can pretty much guarantee will never show up in an Ant-Man movie!
Ant-Man Villains: Darren Cross
First Appearance: Marvel Premiere #47 (1979)
Darren Cross was the very first Ant-Man villain that Scott Lang had to face as Ant-Man. Cross was the millionaire owner and founder of Cross Technological Enterprises, and he used his vast resources to fix his heart defect with a nucleorganic pacemaker that also gave him superpowers. The downside is that Cross needed more and more human hearts because his enhanced body kept burning through them.
Lang had to break into Cross’s compound to rescue Dr. Erica Sondheim, a heart specialist who was needed to save the life of Lang’s daughter, Cassie. In the ensuing battle, Cross appeared to die when his latest “donor” heart expired prematurely, courtesy of Dr. Sondheim.
In the Ant-Man movie, Cross has been reimagined as the former protegee of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). As portrayed by Corey Stoll, Cross is now the CEO of Cross Technologies; which used to be Pym’s company. Cross is also Yellowjacket in the film, when he wears an even more advanced version of the Ant-Man suit.
Cross recently made his return to the Marvel Universe when his son, Augustine Cross ordered the kidnapping of Cassie Lang and had her heart successfully implanted into the elder Cross, which revived him.
Ant-Man Villains: Crossfire
First Appearance: Marvel Two-In-One #52 (1979)
As his name implies, Crossfire does have a connection to Darren Cross. Crossfire, AKA William Cross, is Darren Cross’s cousin, and a former CIA operative who went rogue and formed his own criminal organization. Crossfire was most frequently used during the ‘80s, when he went up against Hawkeye, Captain America, The Thing, Moon Knight, and Mockingbird.
Crossfire appears to hate Hawkeye more than any other hero, as he once put a bounty on Hawkeye’s arm in order to break his spirit. However, Crossfire recently made an enemy out of Scott Lang when he kidnapped Lang’s daughter at the behest of his second cousin, Augustine Cross. For that alone, Crossfire is going to become one of Ant-Man’s most hated adversaries.
Ant-Man Villains: Egghead
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #38 (1962)
Comics aren’t always known for their subtlety. Case in point, Dr. Elihas Starr was given the nickname “Egghead” when he was captured while attempting to steal and sell atomic secrets. Egghead turned to a life of crime, which pit him against the first Ant-Man, Hank Pym. In fact, Egghead’s first mission as a criminal was to find a way to defeat Ant-Man on behalf of his crime lord benefactors.
After several years of fruitlessly trying to destroy Pym, Egghead successfully framed Pym for treason. The plan could have worked, if Egghead hadn’t also broken Pym out of jail and attempted to convince the Avengers that Pym was behind the latest incarnation of the Masters of Evil. To save Pym’s life, Hawkeye fired an arrow into the barrel of Egghead’s energy gun, killing him instantly.
Because Egghead behaves more like a James Bond villain than a comic book villain, his potential appearances in any Ant-Man sequels would probably take place in the past when Hank Pym was still Ant-Man.
Ant-Man Villains: Whirlwind
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #50 (1963)
David Cannon is an evil Mutant with the powers to spin at subsonic speeds and create small tornadoes. When he turned to a life of crime, Cannon chose a supervillain name designed to inspire fear and respect: The Human Top!
Even in the ‘60s, no one took Cannon seriously until he changed his supervillain codename to Whirlwind and gave himself a more impressive-looking costume. Whirlwind made his debut as an adversary for Giant-Man (Hank Pym) and the Wasp, AKA Janet Van Dyne. However, Whirlwind’s obsession with the Wasp has fueled his rivalry with Pym. In his deluded mind, Whirlwind thinks that the Wasp loves him, and he has become a deranged stalker.
If Whirlwind were to appear in any Marvel Studios movie, he would probably be an Inhuman in the Cinematic Universe. Because of the X-Men movie deal with 20th Century Fox, the word ‘mutant” isn’t allowed in the MCU.
Ant-Man Villains: Taskmaster
First Appearance: Avengers #195 (1980)
Tony Masters, AKA Taskmaster, made his debut as a supervillain during the first ever team-up of Yellowjacket (Hank Pym), the Wasp, and Ant-Man (Scott Lang)…and he easily defeated and captured all three of them. Taskmaster has the ability to mimic any human or superhuman movement that he sees. His “photographic reflexes” and his ability to read body language have made Taskmaster very difficult to defeat.
Unlike other villains, Taskmaster prefers to stay out of the spotlight and he acts as a trainer for the seemingly endless legion of supervillain henchmen. Taskmaster went up against Ant-Man a few times early in his career, but he isn’t anyone’s archenemy. Taskmaster simply works for the highest bidder. Taskmaster has even worked for S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers Initiative as a trainer for novice superheroes.
Putting Taskmaster in a future Ant-Man sequel would give Scott Lang and Hank Pym an adversary whom they couldn’t easily handle. It could even pave the way for Taskmaster to eventually fight other Avengers in the MCU.
Ant-Man Villains: Ultron
First Appearance: Avengers #54
There are some spoilers ahead for the recently-released Avengers: Rage of Ultron graphic novel! You’ve been warned!
Here’s the villain that will never appear in an Ant-Man film, despite his intense connection to both Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne. Unlike the recently-used version of himself in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the comic book Ultron was created by Pym. However, Ultron quickly developed an irrational hatred of humanity, and an Oedipal Complex. Ultron hated his “father,’ and he felt an attraction towards his “mother.”
Ultron even tried to transfer the Wasp’s brain into the body of a female android to give himself a bride. For every atrocity committed by Ultron, Hank Pym has carried the guilt of knowing that Ultron’s mind was based on his own. Recently, Pym and Ultron were fused together into a single being in a way that doesn’t even make sense in the world of comic book science!
But in the end, it doesn’t matter. The status quo will eventually be restored and both Hank Pym and Ultron will make their return to the Marvel Universe. They just won’t continue their battle in live action because the Hank Pym of the Ant-Man movie has no connection at all to the Ultron that was built by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner.
At least one of the Ant-Man villains will be on the big screen when the Marvel Studios film is released in theaters on Friday, July 17.