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.
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!
Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The 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!
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