[MILD SPOILERS for Ant-Man ahead.]
Ant-Man may not be Marvel Studios’ biggest commercial success to date, but the film performed well on its own terms, earning solid critical notices and box office revenue (considering the title character is not as well-known as many past Marvel film leads). However, it’s hard not to imagine how the film would’ve changed, under different circumstances.
This project is infamous for original director Edgar Wright’s late departure from the film (a month or so before production was to begin), after he had spent much of the previous decade developing the film with Marvel. Wright is still credited as a writer and executive producer, but Ant-Man director Peyton Reed (who took over from Wright) has revealed one key element of Wright’s script that did not make the final cut.
Reed revealed to Cinema Blend that the original Ant-Man opening sequence depicted a young Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) in action as the eponymous superhero, as follows:
“It was basically a standalone sequence where you really did not see it was Hank Pym. He was retrieving some microfilm from this, originally Cuban general and then it because a Panamanian general… It really was designed in those early drafts to be almost like a Bond movie standalone scene in the beginning. It was going to show the powers. You never saw Ant-Man, it almost felt like an Invisible Man sequence, and it’s really, really cool… It started to feel tonally disconnected from the movie we were making and story-wise, and it also kind of set a standalone adventure, but it didn’t just connect to the rest of our story.”
Early drafts of the Ant-Man script set the scene in 1960s Cuba, though this was later changed to Panama when the timeline was bumped back to the 1980s. Wright said that actor Jordi Molla (Bad Boys II) played the Panamian General Castillo in the scene, which would have expanded on Pym’s time working with S.H.I.E.L.D. Fans eager to see the alternate opening may still have their chance, as Reed admits that the footage was shot and simply left on the cutting room floor.
“We actually ended up shooting that sequence and cut it together and it’s fantastic, but the more we got into editing, it just felt too disconnected to the rest of the movie. It felt like vestige of those earlier drafts, which as a standalone thing was really cool. We actually talked at one point about releasing like a standalone, Hank Pym as Ant-Man. Who knows if that will still happen.”
The theatrical cut of Ant-Man opens with a prologue that both introduces young Hank Pym and connects to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nonetheless, it would have been fun to see Pym in the moment as Ant-Man, rather than via archived video recordings (as happens in the film). Moreover, the footage would have perhaps lent greater impact to his decision to recruit Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to follow in his footsteps and made for a more energetic opener to the film (having a similar effect as that dynamite Nightcrawler scene at the start of X2: X-Men United).
As it stands, though, Marvel could possibly release the footage on the Blu-ray as either a deleted scene or one of its One-Shot short films (though the studio hasn’t released one of those since Thor: The Dark World). Those hoping to see Reed’s original filmed version of Ant-Man (complete with the alternate opening) might want to lower expectations, as not even Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron will be getting the ‘director’s cut’ treatment.
Ant-Man is now playing in theaters; Captain America: Civil War arrives on May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Black Panther – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019.
Source: Cinema Blend