Michael Douglas is Playing Hank Pym in Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’

Published 1 year ago by , Updated January 14th, 2014 at 11:09 am,

Michael Douglas in Wall Street 2 Michael Douglas is Playing Hank Pym in Marvels Ant Man

[Update: Michael Douglas talks about joining the Marvel family.]

When we interviewed Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige last year, he promised us that by the end of 2013, we’d finally get some casting confirmations from the studio regarding a few key unannounced characters, one of them being the lead of their first Phase 3 film - Ant-Man. After weeks of rumors and reports – and seemingly an epic workout regiment – putting Paul Rudd on the radar, Marvel made it official. Rudd is Marvel’s and director Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man.

When Rudd’s name first starting making headlines however, he wasn’t the only star apparently in consideration. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was also associated with the project and we theorized that Wright might be looking at multiple actors not for the same lead role, but different ones since in Marvel Comics there are three different men who have assumed the role of Ant-Man. Well, wouldn’t you know it, Marvel just cast another Ant-Man.

Moments ago, Marvel made it official that multiple Academy Award winner Michael Douglas (Wall Street) will play genius scientist and one-time Avenger Hank Pym in Ant-Man, coming summer 2015. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige on the casting:

“With Hank Pym’s rich history in the Marvel Universe, we knew we needed an actor capable of bringing the weight and stature to the role that the character deserves. We felt incredibly relieved when Michael Douglas agreed to step into the part with the charm and fortitude he brings to every character he inhabits, and couldn’t be more excited to see what he will do to bring Hank Pym to life.”

More than any other Marvel Studios production to introduce a new solo character, Ant-Man is seemingly relying on established and bankable talent – not too much of a surprise considering the risk and obscurity associated with the Ant-Man character. This is a film that only exists because of Edgar Wright, says Feige to us on numerous occasions, but they’re doing everything they can to put it in the eyes of potential moviegoers.

Ant Man Movie Costume Helmet Michael Douglas is Playing Hank Pym in Marvels Ant Man

Douglas joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe is intriguing, especially considering his age, but the more interesting discussion to be had is what his casting means for the franchise as whole. Douglas is Hank Pym, the first Ant-Man who in the comics, created the technology behind the ability to shrink and become giant. But the news also comes with confirmation that Paul Rudd is playing Scott Lang. This makes sense considering Edgar Wright’s recent Ant-Man hints and teases.

Variety posted an exclusive describing Douglas’ character as a villain, but according to that writer’s Twitter, that was before Marvel made the official announcement that he’s playing Pym. That part was cut from their article without an update. While we wouldn’t put it past Marvel Studios to do something like that and have Pym be a villain (see: Iron Man 3′s Mandarin) for the sake of a twist, we’ll stick with the official news and assume Hank Pym is Hank Pym, just a much older version of him.

Since the Ant-Man movie is telling a new origin story for the character, we can assume that Michael Douglas is a scientist – perhaps for S.H.I.E.L.D. or another familiar Marvel organization (A.I.M.) – who discovers a chemical or invents technology that allows its user to change in size, small (Ant-Man) or large (Giant Man). Since Edgar Wright has described his script as a “high-tech spy heist film,” Scott Lang may steal it from him for personal reasons (in the comics, he steals it to save his daughter by using it to perform another heist). That story is full of heart and charm since he’s a criminal but for the right reasons. Lang isn’t evil and Pym sees that, eventually giving him the Ant-Man suit and tech. Lang later becomes an Avenger so we expect that to occur come The Avengers 3.

Our question now becomes whether or not Pym’s helmet creation can actually control ants in the cinematic universe. And what does this mean for Pym’s wife in the comics, Janet van Dyne? Let us know your thoughts and theories!


More: Ant-Man Embraces Edgar Wright’s Style


Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 31, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie news!

Source: Marvel

Follow Rob Keyes on Twitter @rob_keyes
TAGS: Ant-man
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  1. IMO this is the best thing Marvel can possibly do for their next solo origin movie. So far Marvel’s origin films have been great but formulaic, as in

    1st Act: life before superpowers/acquiring super powers
    2nd Act: learn to use and live with powers and make decision to become a hero
    3rd Act: face off against enemy

    Marvel can really do a good job of departing from this formula by not even really having a villain at all and having it just be a story about a guy named Scott Lang who steals shrinking technology to perform a bank heist in order to save his daughter. That done right for me would be the best super hero origin movie yet. Plus, I’m a sucker for bank robbery movies, so mixing the two genres would be the best thing ever.

    PS am I the only one anticipating this movie more than BvS and A: AoU?

    • I don’t know about anyone else but this is the number one movie I can’t wait to see as well.

  2. Well my hopes were just shattered. Don’t get me wrong, I love Michael Douglas, he’s a certified BAMF. But I really wanted to see Paul Rudd playing Hank Pym.

  3. While this is a good bit of casting, I can’t help but feel like we are beginning to see the undoing of Marvel Studios. Thus far the only character that’s REALLY hit it off with fans from Marvel has been Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark, and frankly I don’t see that changing. Chris Helmsworth is a good Thor but there’s nothing about his portrayal that makes me think he’s the only one for the role. Also while Evan’s makes a good Cap, his comedic talent is being horribly wasted. Seeing how great he was in his cameo in Thor 2 as a humorous shape shifting Loki just goes to show how much better suited he’d be in a more lighthearted role.

    Honestly once RDJ is gone they can say goodbye to stand alone films performing as well as Iron Man 3, unless they get their casting department together. Thus far nothing has lead me to believe Guardians of the Galaxy has any justification to break the $300 million mark. Hell, given the fact Ant-Man is shaping up to be a forgettable typical Edgar Wright flick I can’t see it even breaking 200 mil competing with Superman vs Batman. First of all Paul Rudd was a horrible choice, they need someone much more marketable and versatile than him.

    As for the Johnny Depp rumors, the guy’s like Michael Cera (Much more talented, but none the less) people are tired of seeing him. If Kevin Fiege or whoever his Disney boss has half a brain they will listen to RDJ and put someone like Mel Gibson in that role or another prominent spot. RDJ was such a good cast in the first place because he was a Hollywood pariah, but he hadn’t worn out his welcome. Casting someone with an established name and talent, who happens to be over shadowed by controversy, is exactly what got them success in the first place.

    At this point I’m losing interest in Marvel and am much more interested by what their competition (Sony and WB namingly) and the choices they’re making. Casting an academy award winning director like Ben Afleck as Batman was a brilliant and bold move, jumping right into the team up again was brilliant and bold. Sony thus far has made a point to only cast names with solid credentials (Emma Stone, Sally Field, Martin Sheen, Andrew Garfield, Chris Cooper, Jamie Foxx, Dane Dehaan, hell they even got Paul Giamatti to play the Rhino!? Just take a minute to think about how Marvel cast a comedic stud best known for B and C movies to play one of their most iconic heroes, and Sony cast an academy award winning actor to play one of the stupidest cannon fodder villains in comic history). Not to mention the Sinister Six movie is by the most bold decision any studio has made thus far. Even Fox is trying to do something innovative by bringing the fan favorite original cast to star along side the rebooted team. IMO Marvel is falling behind at their own game.

    • Who says Rudd is going to be the focus moving forward? Perhaps Marvel will make Ant-Man prequels featuring young Hank Pym in the 60′s and 70′s and Rudd could be cast in ensemble films like the Avengers and Marvel can replace RDJ with Dicaprio or Wahlberg and never miss a beat.

    • @ James. not one word of what you said made any sense whatsoever

    • Douglas is a legend. But, a 70 year old Hank Pym that was NEVER an Avenger. It’s OKAY Marvel fans to admit you’re at least a little disappointed with this casting. They better use the Wasp somehow. But she can’t be 50 or 60. I guess they can make her Scott Lang’s age and/or love interest. I hope the DC films do a better job not changing character’s backgrounds too much. Scarlet Witch and Quick Silver (not actually mutants) The Mandarin (not actually the Mandarin). Why use them at all?

    • ‘Undoing of Marvel Studios’

      By what standards? Chris Evans IS Captain America, and why does he have to be funny? Cap is more or less a serious character. It’s like saying Christian Bale is ok as Batman but he was funny in that one movie so DC are wasting his comedic talent. Hemsworth definitely isn’t the only actor to play Thor, but does he pull it off well? Of course he does. Marvel isn’t going anywhere. Check box office numbers and audience ratings of pretty much every one of their films and you’ll realise that people love their movies. If anyone is going (which they probably won’t) it’s either WB or Fox, because unlike Marvel or even Sony they lack the ‘crowd-pleaser’ factor. Marvel are not perfect by any means (see: Iron Man 2) but their films are getting better and better IMO, and well, frankly, they’re not going anywhere.

    • Wow. U have a low opinion of marvel. Everybody has said spiderman looks too busy ala spiderman 3.

      Batman and ben afleck… bet u really like daredevil didnt u. Again…. wow.

      • Everyone but you knows that Affleck was not the problem with “Daredevil.”

  4. Having a much older Pym makes perfect sense. Now Pym can be tied with Howard Stark. They are either going to be buddies or rivals. Pym will create a new AI that Howard will steal or buy. This makes sense since Tony has upgraded an AI to be JARVIS, in the form of Howard’s butler. It’s a win/win scenario. JARVIS can still be Ultron and Pym can still have a hand in creating him. Seriously, in the comics all he did was create the first generation AI then it just kept rebuilding itself.

    People need to chill out over every bit of casting news. Yeah, sure, I get agitated with some of the news, but getting all worked up is not the answer. You need to look at the much bigger MCU picture than the casting of one role.

  5. I dont know this is really odd didnt expect it but it makes sense in a way if they making Scott Lang Ant-Man … but I would of loved to see Hank Pym a bit younger and in a place where Scott takes the suit and that and at the end Hank pulls out another suit and teases the possibility of becoming Giant Man in the future movies… ah well gonna have to wait and see what happens…

  6. Disappointed was looking forward to future hank pym characters such as yellow jacket … Or giant man … Michael dougles is great but his age makes it so future heros for hank are out of sight.

  7. I also must say this is just a fail.

    Paul Rudd was a fail. What I don’t understand is the need to make him so much older. The marvel universe established that captain america was kicking nazi boooty in ww2. I understand the need to not shoehorn every hero as the first….but for crying out loud scott lang is the main antman???….this is deal breaker I’m done.

    I’m calling it now this will be the first marvel flop…worse than incredible hulk. I’m sure we will find some support character whose whole point in the film is to make dumb jokes like the ditzy…I mean darcy chic from thor. Single handedly ruined thor 2 for me was the fact she was in it still.

    • An old hank pym? Iam not thrilled either. Not only does he not create ultron…
      he has no blond hair and lang as main antman sucks period. Should have had
      rudd play pym.

  8. he could have been hiding the Pym particles from Shield so they don`t take advantage of the technology, kinda like Cap questioning Fury in Avengers

  9. Initially I didn’t like it, and I’m still not crazy about not having Pym be Ant-Man, but I think they may be able to do some decent things here. Someone mentioned having him either allied or an enemy of Howard Stark. This would mean that the young Pym could be part of the Agent Carter series. If they do that, then I might be a little more inclined to call it a good move.

  10. Scott Lang is the worst Ant-Man, guy doesn’t even have his own super-villains. Guy is is lamer than the name “Ant-Man”.
    If they must make Pym as senior citizen, then have Eric O’Grady to be the Ant-Man have his “i’m using this s*it to have women and cash though I’m only a coward”.

    • You bring up another point that has not been mentioned much in all of this, who is the antagonist going to be in this Ant-Man story? Most films of this type live and die on a good villain and there seems to be no mention of that end of the story at all.

      • I see what you and ‘Fanboy’ mean. In my opinion, it seems that a lot of tension will come from the interactions of Hank and Scott, although I’m guessing there will be a villain of some sorts. Another article on this site is about a casting sheet that seemed to indicate there would be thugs in the film, although as for who those characters (if they are even thugs) would work for I have no idea. And with not that many main villains it would be interesting to see what would happen in a sequel.

  11. Do not forget, we may get to see a younger Hank Pym in the 60′s at the beginning, and potentially, throughout the film. Young Pym can work alongside Dominic Cooper’s Howard stark as well as Agent Carter- maybe even appearing in Carter’s possible TV show. We hopefully will get to see a new side to the MCU timeline. We shouldn’t assume that there were no (marvel-related) advancements from the time Rogers was transformed into the first avenger to Tony Stark’s new ticker in Ironman. I think its a brilliant idea, and a great way to (dare I say it) kick off a Young Avengers storyline through Scott’s daughter.

    • I think that it is wishful thinking that they will go this route, but we shall see. I do like the Young Avengers angle & (Cassie?) Lange. That could be an excellent TV show but obviously the Olsen girl is too young to have those kids. I know she conjured them but it’s a little far fetched and that was one of the best Scarlet Witch storylines.

  12. some ppl are seriously getting too worked up over a COMIC BOOK CHARACTER! Marvel has stated for YEARS they are NOT bound by comic book canon, we all (here anyways) love certain characters (and YES mine has already been jacked up) but that’s it, they are just that, CHARCTERS! and Marvels characters at that to screw up IF they see the need for it and so choose to do it. I GET IT, I really do! but to go on and on is kind of childish, (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) enough already!! Your still gonna line up opening night and see it, you have said ur piece MULTIPLE times… if your that butt-hurt get all lubed up before you sit in the theatre! or OMG (novel idea here….DONT GO!!)

    we ALL get it! YOU HATE THIS CASTING, Hank was ur Fav. and Marvel is destroying ur memories of him! IM SORRY, but he is theirs to ruin, and you can easily boycott Marvel by not going to see it, BUT I guarantee U, you are the only one that will be missing out!! Marvel will not miss you!
    I DO UNDERSTAND UR PAIN about ur Fav. being messed with I DO, but there is so much that could be worse! Yes post ur feelings, but my god 10 times (or close to it) IS A BIT OCD… IMO of course!

    BTW, LMFAO, but Marvel is NOT going ANYWHERE anytime soon, They are 1 of the HOTTEST studios IN THE WORLD, and with every passing movie they are attracting bigger and BIGGER stars to their next movies, everyone who is anyone wants in!!

    • Bravo!

      People are missing the bigger MCU picture. So many different ways they could go with having a much older Pym and Michael Douglas is no slouch. He’s been in a lot of stellar movies. People get all bat guano insane over such minor details. For example, I wasn’t happy with the way the Amazing Spider-Man 2 was cast. But I’ll probably end up seeing it anyway since it is Spider-Man. And I did finally cave and see Green Lantern after I swore I wouldn’t because of Ryan Reynolds and I came out of it somewhat satisfied with it. Still not my favorite actor to be Green Lantern, but oh well.

      People if you use your brains a bit you will see this COULD possibly lead into Pym actually creating the first generation AI that Tony uses to make JARVIS which becomes Ultron. All they have to do in Ant Man is do a couple flashbacks with Hank and Howard teaming up and there you will have your tie-in to Ultron.

      I don’t get the rage over the casting. It’s actually brilliant to use an older wiser Pym.

  13. THE PROBLEM WITH THIS IS THAT WE WILL NEVER SEE HANK PYM aka Ant-Man and JANET VAN DYNE aka Wasp, SUIT AND JOIN THE AVENGERS, and that is the sad part about this. No it will not make sense to make Scott Lang join the Avengers nor will it make sense for Scott Lang and Janet Van Dyne to be the Ant-Man/Wasp duo now.

    I’ve defended this studio through and through with haters and trolls but I can’t do it anymore, they are straying further and further away from their own source material to a ridiculous point. The greatest thing about Marvel Studios was that they seemed to get their characters more and they had stayed more faithful to them more than the other studios(looking at you Fox), now Marvel Studios has become the same studios such as Fox who know don’t give a damn about staying true as possible to their source material.

    There is a way to please both the general audience and hard core fans all at the same time and Marvel Studios has proven that it can be and should be done but now they have gone too far, and I fear they will continue on this slippery slope as time goes on and money makes them lose their initial vision on being the study who loves their characters and treats them with respect(yes even a fictional character deserves respect because its based off an idea).

    SO THANK YOU MARVEL STUDIOS FOR DESTROYING THE POSSIBLITY OF SEEING HANK PYM AKA ANT-MAN AND JANET VAN DYNE AKA WASP TO EVER SUITING UP AND JOINING THE AVENGERS. I hoped one day that we would see Hank Pym, Bruce Banner and Tony Stark interacting arguing and solving problems with their different fields of science. That we would see Janet Van Dyne geeking out over Thor and everyone’s costumes, trying to make adjustments and helping bring that more realistic fun and human dynamic. We won’t see Giant-Man walking the streets of Manhattan placing his hands on skyscrapers and towering over everyone and everything and picking up Thanos, we won’t see Ant-Man traveling through Ultron’s body trying to figure out a way to shut him down, we won’t see quirky Janet Van Dyne helping solve problems that seem ludicrous at first but actually work and her quriky fangirl/real world persona. Don’t get me wrong Michael Douglas is a great actor but Marvel should have went with Pym and Lang as the same age. Marvel Studios=Fox Studios now.

    • Don’t give up completely yet. While we may not see Hank Pym as an active Avenger in the modern day era of the MCU (although you never know) there’s a high possibility the movie will show him in flashbacks acting as Ant-man in the past and we may get to see Hank bantering with Stark and Banner as an advisor to the Avengers in a future movie. And with Scott there will still be the same action that could occur with Hank, just with a different personality behind that action.

      As for Jan there are a lot of ways that her character can still appear as an active Avenger. She could be Pym’s girlfriend or wife in her late 30′s (I believe there was some age difference in the comics) but be Wasp acting as Scott Lang’s crime fighting partner (although I think you mentioned you would dislike that), or there could be a daughter of Pym called Janet whose mother could be the original Janet Van Dyne if they were to change Wasp’s origins. Changing things further Janet could simply be Scott’s girlfriend or perhaps a girlfriend of Scott could take up the mantle of the Wasp. With all of these we would still get the same funny wasp.

      And if you think about it, things haven’t been changed too much (although we’re still in the dark about a lot), with there ‘simply’ being a time shift of Pym’s origins (and him not having a patent for Ultron), and this approach opens up some new possibilities, while offering a different origin to other MCU films that will keep a lot of the audience happy so that Marvel can continue to deliver what is largely great storytelling.

      Anyway, that’s just me trying to give a different (although not new) perspective. I understand how you feel as I myself felt the same way when I heard this, although Michael Douglas’ casting has since grown (not shrunk) on me.

      • @Metarean, Whew!!! That’s A Lot of explaining, re-working, and ret-conning to make things work when they just could of followed the comics and Avengers EMH.

        I’ll watch Avengers 2 but I never thought I’d say this but I’ll watch Aint-Man on dvd or Netflix.

        • I suppose that is a lot of rejigging to make it work (took me 20 minutes to write it!), but I’m sure what we get will still be good. It’s good to here that you’ll be watching Ant-man though, in whatever form that may be.

    • Should be noted that the idea of a old Pym was in Marvel and Edgar Wrighr mind back in 2006, BEFORE they even released Iron Man 1, so this change was the plan from the vey beginning before they started to do changes like the Mandarin thing

  14. I think Marvel have dropped the ball here. Considering what Hank Pym means to the MU, and his still ongoing relevance, it seems a shame to sideline him as some one has-been is somewhat confusing.
    Pym’s erratic mental behavior, including spousal abuse, and that wonderful scene in the Ultimates where Cap kicks his ass; this was a deeply flawed character with a lot of superb stories to him and to side line him like this is very strange.

    Thor 2 by all common consent has been underwhelming – where we expected a step up to the Surtur Saga- we got another bro-romance & Tom Hiddlestone love-in with an almost invisible villain & tedious supporting cast.

    If Cap 2 doesn’t raise the bar then Marvel movies are starting to play safe & be just another cookie cutter approach and all the good-will they harnessed with Iron Man & the Avengers will be dissipated.
    No body but no body ever succeeds repeatedly in movie-making; what happens when they have a miss-step?
    The superhero bandwagon will have moved on & Marvel movies will be yesterday’s flavor.

  15. Personally, I think this is a great bit of casting and opens up a whole range of possible avenues for the character, spin-offs and tie-ins. We have a young hank pym in he 60s as a SHIELD-esque agent, working as scientist alongside Howard Stark and maybe Peggy Carter as well. Lots of potential stories to tell there.

    Modern day, Pym is retired as an agent but still does some consulting work/sciencey stuff. Scott Lang steals/borrows/is given teh suit and becomes Ant-Man 2. And Life can imitate art with older Hank Pym being married a much younger woman (enter Ms Van Dyne). Maybe older Hank Pym is somehow involved with her gaining her powers. Bad relationship leads to her leaving old Pym and becoming more and more involved with the Avengers.

    I like Paul Rudd as an actor. Yes, he is more known for his comedic roles, but then again so was Michael Keaton when he was cast as Batman and Bruce Willis before he did Die Hard and they turned out alright.

  16. Neil Jackson as young Hank Pym!