On Friday, July 17, Marvel’s Ant-Man will finally reach theaters after a very long period of development. Paul Rudd stars in the film as Scott Lang, a petty thief who is given the Ant-Man suit by its inventor, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), in order to prevent Pym’s former protégé, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), from misusing Pym’s technology.
To comic fans, Ant-Man is one of the first superheroes in the Marvel Universe, but for the general public this movie will be Ant-Man’s biggest mainstream exposure outside of the Avengers animated series.
It’s anyone’s guess as to whether Ant-Man will repeat the success of last year’s surprise hit, Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s only so much a marketing team can do to bring in an audience. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to the film itself. If Ant-Man can be as fun and exciting as the other Marvel Studios films, then it’s prospects should be fine.
Ahead of Ant-Man’s release, ComingSoon.net has assembled some fun Ant-Man trivia and other fun facts to give casual Marvel fans a better idea about what to expect from the movie, the characters who inhabit it, and the comics that inspired it all.
There Have Been 3 Ant-Men In Marvel Comics
Hank Pym was the original Ant-Man in the Marvel Comics contnuity. Pym was a scientist and an adventurer who eventually created other heroic identities for himself, including Giant-Man, Goliath and Yellowjacket. The second Ant-Man was Scott Lang, a thief who stole Pym’s Ant-Man suit to save his daughter’s life. Pym was impressed by Lang’s heroics and he allowed him to take over the role.
But in the mid-2000s, there was a third Ant-Man named Eric O’Grady. The O’Grady Ant-Man headlined the Irredeemable Ant-Man comic by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and artist Phil Hester. While Pym and Lang have baggage in their histories, O’Grady was an even bigger jerk who used his powers to steal and… he also used them to spy on Ms. Marvel in the shower. In case you’re wondering about the picture above, that’s Hank Pym holding O’Grady’s Ant-Man over his head while attempting to reclaim the costume from him.
O’Grady eventually showed a more heroic side to his character before he was written out of the comics. He’s also the only Ant-Man who won’t be appearing in the movie (as far as we know!)
Hank Pym Wasn’t Originally Ant-Man
There was almost never an Ant-Man at all. Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and artist Jack Kirby created Hank Pym for a one-off story in Tales to Astonish #7 in 1962. As originally conceived in that story, Pym shrank himself and he accidentally became trapped in an ant hill.
Pym managed to live through his initial adventure, and the sales of the issue encouraged Lee to bring Pym back as a superhero eight issues later. From there, an Ant-Man was born in “Tales To Astonish” #35. Shortly after that, Pym’s Ant-Man was a founding member of The Avengers alongside the Wasp, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor.
Scott Lang Was Dead, Then He Got Better
If you’ve read enough superhero comics, then you know that death can be a revolving door in that world. When writer Brian Michael Bendis took over The Avengers, one of the first things he did was to kill off Scott Lang in a massive explosion that also destroyed Avengers Mansion. It seemed like a definitive death at the time, which freed up the Ant-Man role for Eric O’Grady.
But these are comics, and Scott was eventually revealed to have never actually died because of time travel.
Edgar Wright Pitched An Ant-Man Movie 12 Years Ago
Although Marvel had shopped Ant-Man around as a movie during the ‘80s, the project never got traction until Edgar Wright came on board. Wright and his writing partner Joe Cornish wrote a treatment for Ant-Man in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2006 that the duo were signed by the newly-formed Marvel Studios to bring Ant-Man to the big screen.
However, Ant-Man languished in development hell for years before Wright and Cornish left the project in 2014 over creative differences.
Simon Pegg & Joss Whedon Loved Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man
Soon after Wright’s departure was made public, Avengers director Joss Whedon posted the picture above as a gesture of solidarity with Wright. Whedon later went on to say that “I thought the script was not only the best script that Marvel had ever had, but the most Marvel script I’d read. It reminded me of the books when I read them. Irreverent and funny and could make what was small large, and vice versa… This is Marvel getting it exactly right.”
Wright’s frequent collaborator, Simon Pegg, also added that Wright’s script was “daring, fun, funny and hugely exciting.”
A large portion of Wright and Cornish’s script is reportedly still in the final picture, as both men were awarded a screenplay credit alongside Paul Rudd and Adam McKay for their rewrite draft.
The Reed Connection
Prior to replacing Edgar Wright as the director of Ant-Man, Peyton Reed was briefly attached to direct Fox’s first Fantastic Four film in 2005 before Tim Story went on to helm that film. Reed was later under consideration to direct Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy, but James Gunn was chosen for that film.
Both Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy were quickly singled out as Marvel’s riskiest projects when they were initially announced as part of the Cinematic Universe’s Phase 2. Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy proved the detractors wrong by turning a widely unknown property into Marvel’s latest franchise. It’s too soon to call Ant-Man one way or the other, but it would be foolish to bet against Marvel Studios given their recent track record.
At one point, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was under consideration for both Scott Lang in Ant-Man and for Peter Quill/Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy. Adrien Brody also expressed interest in playing Ant-Man before Paul Rudd was cast in the role.
For Hank Pym, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan and Gary Oldman were some of the early choices that Marvel considered before going with Michael Douglas.
Bobby Cannavale Was Allowed to Improvise His Lines
Patrick Wilson was originally cast to play Paxton, Scott Lang’s best friend and the new husband of Lang’s ex-wife, Maggie (Judy Greer). “Boardwalk Empire” actor Bobby Cannavale was successfully recruited to replace Wilson by Paul Rudd and Adam McKay, who gave Paxton a much larger role in their rewrite.
Cannavale subsequently stated that he was allowed to improvise some of his lines with Rudd and Greer in the movie. He also added that “the actual work in the scenes were really fun. It felt like we were on an indie film.”
Ant-Man will invade theaters on Friday, July 17.[Gallery not found]