The success of The Avengers has given Marvel the opportunity to bring other lesser known comic book characters to the big screen. Marvel's Cinematic Universe has already begun Phase 2 with the release of Iron Man 3 and will continue with upcoming sequels Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Marvel will also be making its biggest gamble with James Gunn's upcoming superhero space film, Guardians of the Galaxy, before closing Phase 2 with The Avengers: Age of Ultron, leading into Phase 3 where only one film has so far been announced.
Although many characters are rumored for Phase 3 introduction, only one has been guaranteed. An adaptation of the Marvel superhero, Ant-Man is currently in development with a new release date of summer 2015. Edgar Wright (The World's End) has long been attached to a feature adaptation of the Marvel comic and just released a behind-the-scenes image from the set of the Ant-Man test shoot.
The photo depicts a stunt man in full Ant-Man costume crouching in a bright blue screened room with a large camera rig hovering over Ant-Man, seemingly for the shot from the Comic-Con test footage where Ant-Man is looking out of a small air vent. According to Wright's tweet, he's returning LA to begin pre-production on the project that's been in the works since before Iron Man even hit theaters.
Marvel recently moved Ant-Man's release date up to summer 2015, and the special effects heavy film will need as much time as possible for the unique sets and special effects required for Marvel's littlest hero. Wright played test footage at the 2012 International Comic-Con, where the special effects weren't complete and the blue screens were present. Still, it played well with the crowd and Marvel made the film an official part of its slate.
Although Wright isn't known for breaking box office records, he is known as one of the most celebrated and original directors currently working today, with high review scores across the board for his resume of projects. While no plot details have been released yet, the Ant-Man adaptation will likely include elements of the Marvel Comics stories involving Henry Pym (the original Ant-Man), Scott Lang, Eric O'Grady - or some combination of them. Wright previously described the project years ago as, "high-tech spy heist film with somebody with a very particular power."
Since Ant-Man releases two months after The Avengers, the origin story of Avengers 2 villain Ultron - which in Marvel Comics has to do with Ant-Man - is being crafted with an original spin by Joss Whedon. Wright has likewise confirmed that Ultron therefore won't be featured in the standalone Ant-Man film.
Ant-Man hits theaters July 31, 2015