NOTE: The following post contains potential SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War
Following the massive success of Star Wars - Episode 7: The Force Awakens, movie fans have a lot to look forward to in 2016. Over the course of the last few years, summer movie season has started earlier and earlier - with major studio releases dropping in late-spring instead. The coming year pushes those high-profile releases forward again - with both Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War hitting theaters in March (25th) and May (6th), respectively. The coming months will be packed full of new details for the rival comic book movies - as Warner Bros. expand the DC movie universe and Marvel Studios gears-up for Phase 3 of the MCU.
Preparing for a major film release isn't just about trailers, images, and viral marketing - it's also about merchandise. In just the past few days alone, merchandising reports have inadvertently leaked new details about the climactic battle in Batman V Superman, character designs for a freshly-revealed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows villain, and today, the Funko Pop! line may give a hint at one of Civil War's biggest set-pieces - featuring Ant-Man.
From here on out, we'll be discussing potential spoilers for Captain America: Civil War.
While nothing is certain at this point, a new merchandising leak suggests that Paul Rudd's Scott Lang/Ant-Man will get a new power in Captain America: Civil War - specifically, the hero will get to explore the other side of size-shifting as Giant-Man.
The Funko Pop! toy line does not include a description of what scene or circumstances will lead to the introduction of Giant-Man and based on this figure, it also doesn't appear as if the character's actual suit design will change very much in the process.
You can check out an image of the toy below (hat tip to Collector Corps):
— Funko Pop Vinylz (@PopVinylz) January 5, 2016
Given that Funko produces a wide line of Pop! toys (including multiple designs for fan-favorite characters), it's worth nothing that the Giant-Man toy is specifically branded for Captain America 3 alongside confirmed Civil War characters Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Black Panther (Unmasked), Agent 13, Black Widow, Iron Man, Iron Man (Unmasked), Falcon, Crossbones, Crossbones (Battle Damage), and two different versions of Captain America - where, for example, Iron Spider is instead labeled under the "Marvel: Spider-Man" category. Also of note, there is not (currently) an Ant-Man toy in the Civil War Pop! line - adding further evidence to suggest that the character could spend a significant amount of time as Giant-Man in Captain America 3.
Fans who read Ant-Man comics prior to the character's big screen debut already knew that an appearance by Giant-Man would be inevitable - since Ant-Man is only half of the hero's superpower repertoire. Still, in a film that's packed with a sizable cast of returning MCU characters, along with new additions, and the introduction of a new Spider-Man, few viewers were expecting Marvel Studios to throw Giant-Man into the mix as well. After all, Civil War is only the beginning of Marvel Phase 3 - meaning that the studio needs to pace their reveals ahead of the two-part Infinity War story.
Understandably, the studio likely wants to wow viewers and show them why Ant-Man belongs alongside larger-than-life heroes like Iron Man and Captain America; yet, Giant-Man is still the kind of thing most fans probably expected to see in the next full-on Avengers team-up or Ant-Man solo movie - rather than the film that directly followed the original Ant-Man (in which Lang was first learning to control his shrinking ability). It's intriguing that Marvel might not be limited to a shrinking-only Ant-Man sequence -and the inclusion of Giant-Man certainly speaks to the studio's confidence. Still, don't expect Lang to be in full-on Giant-Man mode all the time, since concept artwork has made it clear that Ant-Man will also contribute to the fight - which could be a very fun set piece (imagine a miniaturized Lang running around a battlefield packed with warring superheroes).
That all said, without official confirmation from Marvel Studios, nor a complete list of all the Funko Pop! figures in the Civil War line, there's no way of knowing for sure that Giant-Man will be featured at all. It could be that Lang spends most of his time as Ant-Man - only to turn into Giant-Man in a brief but show-stopping moment (worthy of commemoration as a 6-inch super sized Funko Pop!).
Either way, the inclusion of Giant-Man should make for fun storytelling and visual spectacle. In the comic books, Giant-Man was originally a response to Hank Pym's insecurity - fearing as though he would never be as effective in a fight as Iron Man or other notable Avengers. With that in mind, it's easy to picture a scenario in which Rudd's jovial Scott Lang, a self-confessed fan of the Avengers, might start experimenting with his suit - in order to become a more formidable member of the team. It'd be an easy arc to write into the Civil War storyline - one that would also deliver some exciting on screen spectacle.
As indicated, some fans might be surprised to see Giant-Man this early in Ant-Man's career; however, Civil War is quickly shaping up to be an expansive launching pad for Marvel Phase 3 (in the same way that Batman V Superman is jam-packed with Justice League setup). To that end, it makes sense that, in addition to rebooting Spider-Man, along with introducing Black Panther ahead of his solo movie, it makes sense that Marvel would also use Captain America 3 as an opportunity to prove to casual viewers (the ones who passed on Ant-Man in theaters but will show up for Civil War) that Lang isn't just a quirky supporting character - he's an essential and potentially scene-stealing member of the team. After all, knowing that Ant-Man was one of studio's lower performing movies (even though it still made plenty at the box office), why wouldn't Marvel use Civil War as an opportunity to get people pumped for Ant-Man and the Wasp?
Captain America: Civil War hits theaters on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.
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