Fans of Marvel Comics have been wondering how the Marvel cinematic universe was going to handle the character of Hank Pym for a while now. The real confusion started when it was announced that the Avengers sequel would be subtitled Age of Ultron, it would feature the evil robot Ultron as its primary antagonist, and it would be released before Edgar Wright’s long-gestating Ant-Man project could hit theaters.
You see, in the comics the Ultron character was created by Pym, who is also one of the founding members of the Avengers and is probably better known as the title character of the Ant-Man movie. So how could the Marvel movies introduce a creation of Pym’s before they introduce Pym himself? Would they actually have the character appear in Avengers 2, before he could be properly introduced in his own standalone film?
In a word, no. But fans who have been keeping a close eye on the development of all these Marvel movies can tell you that there are perfectly reasonable answers to all of these questions already out there, and a new announcement that involves Michael Douglas being cast in Ant-Man has just come along and wrapped everything up into a nice little package.
The mystery that first got solved was the Ultron one. Comments from Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige have all pointed to the fact that Ultron’s origin will be changed so that he’s actually a creation of Tony Stark in the movie universe. That still left questions about how the Pym character would be handled in the Ant-Man movie though, especially once Paul Rudd was announced as playing the lead role there. Rudd is mostly known for playing affable, laid-back types, and Pym is something of a straight-laced though high-strung Type A personality. So what gives?
In order to understand what went on there, one would have to have been paying close attention to everything Wright has said about the Ant-Man project. Remember, he’s been planning this movie for a long time, even before Marvel’s current movie blueprint got put into place, and as the man pointed out via his Twitter account earlier today, he’s been saying that his Ant-Man wouldn’t feature the character of Hank Pym as its lead for as far back as an interview he did with Super Hero Hype in 2006.
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) January 13, 2014
In this interview Wright explains that his interest in the Ant-Man character came from his reading of a story from 1979 that introduced the second Ant-Man, a thief named Scott Lang, so Lang was always going to be the character who his movie focused on. In fact, by all indications, Ant-Man is going to be more of a heist movie about Lang stealing the technology that allows him to shrink from the original Ant-Man than it’s going to be a traditional superhero story.
That still leaves the question of Hank Pym unanswered though. Even though Rudd is playing Lang, and Lang is serving as Ant-Man’s protagonist, there still has to be an original Ant-Man to have his equipment stolen, doesn’t there? Yes, and, in a blockbuster casting announcement, Variety broke the news today that Marvel has landed acting legend Michael Douglas to play the role. So, it turns out, the Marvel movie version of Hank Pym is going to be a slick rich guy who absolutely crushes vagina. Or, you know, maybe Douglas will be stepping a bit out of type for this one?
Yeah, that’s more the case. In fact, the choice of Douglas may have more to do with the studio feeling that they needed a long-working and well-respected actor in order to bring the necessary gravity to the Pym character as they’ve envisioned him. Feige said of the casting choice, “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.”
Wait, does this mean that they’re also going to have to cast an age-appropriate version of Janet Van Dyne? Oh no, the mysteries just keep piling up.