Barely a day after officially announcing plans to host an Iron Man 3 panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2012, Marvel Studios had what are likely meant to be surprise announcements leak out as if the floodgates had opened. Yesterday came confirmation that Guardians of the Galaxy is the next film on their slate to release in the summer of 2014, and after analyzing rumors that Ant-Man could appear in Iron Man 3, it was also confirmed that director Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim) just completed a week of shooting test footage for Ant-Man.
So, with an Ant-Man’s script by Wright and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) done, test footage shot, and an official announcement imminent (potentially putting to rest years of rumors), let’s examine 10 potential stars Marvel could sign (or have signed already) to play Henry Pym, aka Ant-Man.
Two summers ago – the summer of Iron Man 2 – news surfaced that Adrien Brody’s agents were pursuing the Ant-Man lead role for the Oscar winner. At the time he was promoting Predators – a film that proved he can do action – and he told us in an interview that there were some elements of truth to the reports.
Brody is always a top-rumored candidate and at this point in time, he has a clear schedule to shoot Ant-Man, with his latest film, 1942, already in post-production.
Alan Tudyk, who made an appearance in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, was rumored for Ant-Man years ago. Edgar Wright denied such claims in 2010, quipping that it’s “news to me.” Rumors still surface for the fan-favorite actor and Joss Whedon (The Avengers) regular. Whedon would certainly not be opposed to working with Tudyk in The Avengers 2.
Benedict Cumberbatch, despite having recently earned a pile of smaller supporting roles in major films, hit it big thanks to his starring role in BBC’s Sherlock – a role which helped him nab the lead villain gig in Star Trek 2 – a role that will push the man to stardom.
Cumberbatch was rumored to be in consideration for a Marvel Studios project back in August 2011. He made an appearance at Marvel HQ last month where he took photos with employees and appeared with Steven Moffat on their podcast. Coincidence? The Brit actor just began shooting Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave and his schedule is currently open to shoot with fellow Englishman, Mr. Wright, next year.
Before breaking out into North American television and film, Joel Kinnaman was shortlisted for the lead role in Thor for a very good reason. Marvel Studios doesn’t always test actors in the role they’re actually considering them for (see: Tom Hiddleston) and that’s what makes rumors about the Swedish actor up for a Marvel role interesting.
After starring in The Killing and earning memorable roles in Safe House and The Darkest Hour, Kinnaman nabbed the coveted lead role as the next RoboCop, set to establish him as a household name. Both RoboCop and Edgar Wright’s The World’s End begin filming this September, and after that it’s conceivable that they could work together for Ant-Man.
The fan-favorite star of Lost hasn’t had as much work as he deserves, but he turned some heads last year with his memorable key scenes in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Rumors had Holloway meeting with Marvel way back in 2010 potentially for the Ant-Man gig, but his reps denied any such happenings.
Holloway almost got his comic book movie breakout role as Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but turned it down. He’s got the look to do a good Hank Pym (and a great Yellowjacket) and can easily win fans over.
The moment Edgar Wright was tasked with penning the screenplay and helming Ant-Man for Marvel, it was almost a given for some fans that his pal Simon Pegg would take the lead role – and as such, he’s been rumored ever since. According to Pegg himself, however, he’d rather be an Ant-Man villain. Perhaps Egghead, a frequent foe of Henry Pym would be more suitable?
Lee Pace, of Pushing Daisies fame, popped up in speculation and rumors last year as someone Marvel was interested in for a future Marvel role. Pace has key roles in multiple high-profile upcoming projects, including The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Lincoln, and The Hobbit films – two of which will be at Comic-Con 2012, where it’s possible the first test footage for Ant-Man could be presented by Marvel. Wouldn’t that be smart timing to announce Pace, if he were cast in the role?
Bradley Cooper was rumored at the same time as Lee Pace to be someone in chats with Marvel, but he’s a very busy and in-demand star. Fortunately, his big franchise is coming to an end with The Hangover 3 finishing shooting at the end of the year, and there are no set dates for his other projects after.
Cooper has proven he can do action, drama and comedy, and he’s one of the most bankable stars on this list. Let’s not forget that he was a top contender for the Green Lantern role, so it’d be smart for Marvel to nab him for “Phase 2″ of their franchise – in case Warner Bros. wants him for The Flash.
Joel Edgerton was name-dropped a year or two ago among Cooper and Pace in reports that they were all names Marvel Studios was interested in. The Aussie actor hit it big last year with Warrior and The Thing and is now a hot commodity in Hollywood. According to The Playlist, Marvel wants him badly for Dr. Strange, but the Ant-Man part was previously attached to the speculation regarding Edgerton’s involvement with the studio.
Jensen Ackles was reportedly a top contender (and fan-favorite) for the Captain America role, and is a Comic-Con star for his countless appearances at conventions for Supernatural. That show may only have one season left and it’d be great timing for Marvel and Ackles to transition him from TV to film, with a key role such as Hank Pym.
The 10 names listed for the lead part in Ant-Man are the most realistic, and certainly the most rumored/reported candidates of a much larger list which included fan fantasy casting like Armie Hammer, Benjamin Walker, Charlie Hunnam, David Duchovny, Joshua Jackson, Michael C. Hall, Nathan Fillion, Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Wilson, Ryan Philippe, Ryan Kwanten, Simon Baker and Scott Caan.
I’m sure you have your own ideas for who could play Ant-Man (and Wasp) so sound off in the comments below and expect more news in the coming weeks as we inch closer to San Diego Comic-Con and Marvel Studios’ expected announcements.
Be sure to keep a sharp eye on our 2012 Comic-Con Coverage Page.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.