[UPDATE: Marvel has confirmed that Paul Rudd will play Ant-Man. Scroll for details.]
Marvel Studios has proven it's a force to be reckoned with, changing the game with its shared universe model, making a multi-million brand out of superhero movies, and breakout stars out of more than a few actors. But riskier waters lie ahead for the studio, with comic book properties that virtually no one outside of the fanboy community knows about (Guardians of the Galaxy) or cares about (Ant-Man).
But will the skepticism about Ant-Man change - now that we know that charm-king actor Paul Rudd is playing him?
The Wrap dropped the exclusive announcement of Rudd "being in talks" with Marvel Studios, but with months of speculation that Rudd was in competition for the role against Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who's since moved on to Sandman) - as well as the noted (and observable) evidence of Rudd already looking more fit for the role, it's a pretty safe bet that the actor WILL be signing on the dotted line to play Hank Pym.
RE-UPDATE: Though The Wrap initially confirmed Rudd as Pym, it turns out Rudd is in fact the character Scott Lang, with Michael Douglas now confirmed as Hank Pym. TWIST ENDING!
Ant-Man has been in development for some time under the eye of The World's End director Edgar Wright, who co-wrote the script with Attack the Block filmmaker Joe Cornish; Wright will also be directing the flick.
The skepticism about Ant-Man as a viable film property should be obvious; it's about a superhero scientist who invents size-altering particles and technology that allows him to communicate with insects. That's pretty silly even by comic book standards.
However, fans should be happy to learn that Hank Pym - one of the founding Avengers in the comic books - will indeed be the version of Ant-Man we're getting. How Pym will be implemented into the Marvel movie universe remains to be seen - it could be a vastly different playing field by the time Ant-Man kicks off Phase 3 following the events of The Avengers: Age of Ultron in summer 2015 - and how much of his mythos is implemented also remains to be seen.
Will we also get Wasp? Will elements of other Ant-Man mantle holders like Scott Lang (a father) and/or Eric O'Grady (a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent) be melded with this version of Pym? It's definitely possible (maybe even prudent) to have the best elements of all three Ant-Men combined into one quality movie character.
UPDATE: It's official - Marvel has confirmed that Paul Rudd has been cast as Ant-Man. Here's what Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige had to say about the casting decision:
“When Edgar Wright came to us with the idea of Paul Rudd, we felt a huge sense of relief because the first step in creating any Marvel Studios film is finding the right star. We knew early on that we had found the right person in Paul. When he not only agreed to do it but became as enthusiastic as any actor we’d ever met with about doing the work, we knew we’d found the right guy. We couldn’t be more excited for our audiences to see what he’s going to do to bring Ant-Man to life.”
Read the full update here.
Ant-Man will be in theaters on July 31, 2015.