***Warning: This post touches on major Ant-Man plot spoilers***
For long-time Marvel movie fans, one of the more contentious issues Marvel Studios has faced in its few short years since becoming a self-financing production house and then being acquired by Disney is when it parted ways with Edgar Wright.
Wright was sort of part of the Marvel Studios family from the very beginning with his idea for Ant-Man, an idea he and writing partner Joe Cornish wrote a treatment about for Artisan Entertainment before Marvel even got the Ant-Man film rights back from them. At the very first Marvel Studios panel, Wright was there with Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige and Iron Man director Jon Favreau, long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a real thing.
Skip forward eight years and Marvel was forced to make the official announcement, just weeks before Ant-Man was supposed to begin principal photography, that it was parting ways with Wright over creative differences. What Wright wanted to do with the movie (what Avengers director described as Marvel's best script ever) didn't fit Marvel's plan for their expanding cinematic universe.
Star Paul Rudd who plays protagonist Scott Lang in the film stepped up to help rewrite alongside comedy writer-director Adam McKay (a comic book fan himself), and it was after that when Peyton Reed was brought in as the director. Reed told us when we visited the set of Ant-Man last year what it took for him to agree to jump into the tough situation. He wanted to make the movie his, and be able to bring some of his ideas to the table as someone who's been an Ant-Man fan since he was a kid.
***Spoiler Warning: What follows are plot spoilers and revelations from Ant-Man***
Uproxx pressed Reed while chatting with him about Ant-Man to spill on what specific thing he wanted to add to the film, and it was something he and McKay geeked out over - something Feige teased to us before - from the comics:
"Well, I came on about the same time that Adam McKay and Rudd were doing rewrites. And I’ve known McKay for some time and we talked on the phone and we were both really jazzed about the idea of, in the third act, in a movie in which we will have seen shrinking a bunch, let’s take it even further in the third act and introduce what, in the comics, was the microverse, in what we call the quantum realm. Creating this moment of self-sacrifice where he has to go into the quantum realm to save his daughter, that was something that was never in those drafts that Adam and I brought to it."
The "Quantum Realm" is a part of something very important in Marvel Comics (where it's known as the Microverse) and refers to another dimension. Speaking with THR a few weeks ago, Kevin Feige hinted while explaining where Ant-Man fits into the MCU that the Quantum Realms is something that will play later on in Phase 3.
"It really is the movie that closes out Phase Two. Phase One ended with Avengers. So some people thought that Phase Two would end with an Avengers film. But the truth is, there is so much in Ant-Man: introducing a new hero, introducing a very important part of technology in the Marvel universe, the Pym particles. Ant-Man getting on the Avengers' radar in this film and even – this is the weirdest part, you shouldn't really talk about it because it won't be apparent for years – but the whole notion of the quantum realm and the whole notion of going to places that are so out there, they are almost mind-bendingly hard to fathom. It all plays into Phase Three. It became very clear that Ant-Man is the pinnacle and finale of Phase Two and Captain America: Civil War is the start of Phase Three."
As for the inspiration of crafting the Quantum Realm sequence, Reed shares his inspirations:
"It owes a little bit to 2001, and then there’s a The Twilight Zone episode that Richard Matheson wrote called “Little Girl Lost,” where a little girl sort of falls into the wall. Something opens up and she’s in this whole other dimension. And it freaked me out as a kid, and I love the idea, so we did an inverse version of that where the dad is now in there and the daughter is back in reality. So, I love that as a science fiction concept and, of course, Richard Matheson wrote The Incredible Shrinking Man, so I love the Richard Matheson aspect of Ant Man. And Adam came up with the idea that in every heist movie, there’s a trial by fire and they’ve got everything in line for the heist, but we need this one thing. Adam pitched that idea of sending Scott on a mission for which he’s not quite prepared and he comes up against another Marvel character. That blew my mind, and particularity with that specific character."
The last part, their other idea for the movie, refers to the inclusion of Falcon (Anthony Mackie) who appears in the latest Ant-Man TV Spots. So, for the Marvel Comics fans, you're getting some major Avengers connections and at least a tease of the idea of other dimensions in the MCU, something Doctor Strange will fully explore next fall when it delves into quantum mechanics
Marvel’s “Ant-Man” stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang aka Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne, Corey Stoll as Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket, Bobby Cannavale as Paxton, Michael Peña as Luis, Tip “T.I.” Harris as Dave, Wood Harris as Gale, Judy Greer as Maggie, David Dastmalchian as Kurt, and Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym. Directed by Peyton Reed and produced by Kevin Feige, Marvel’s “Ant-Man” delivers a high-stakes, tension-filled adventure on July 17, 2015.
Ant-Man opens in theaters July 17, 2015; Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Black Panther – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019.