There’s a reason that Marvel Studios is always the last panel of the day on Saturday at Comic-Con. It closes out the big movie panels of the week with a bang, and this year’s convention was no different. The studio is no stranger to uphill battles (ie. launching Iron Man, convincing audiences a Cinematic Universe would work), but they faced a curious challenge in Hall H this Saturday by touting Ant-Man months after incredibly talented filmmaker—and Comic-Con favorite—Edgar Wright left the project.
Nevertheless, Ant-Man is still moving forward full-steam ahead, and Marvel brought out new director Peyton Reed and cast members Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, and the now-confirmed Evangeline Lilly. In addition to revealing a bit more about the film’s story and the roles the aforementioned actors will play, Marvel also unveiled some new footage that gave us a better idea of how Ant-Man will be actualized on screen. Read my full Ant-Man Comic-Con panel recap after the jump.
Somewhat expectedly, new director Peyton Reed was introduced to a rather muted response, but Paul Rudd was met with enthusiastic applause (it’s impossible not to love Paul Rudd), followed by Michael Douglas (Hank Pym), Corey Stoll (confirmed as Darren Cross/Yellow Jacket), and Evangeline Lilly (whom Feige introduced as “Hope Van Dyne”, but who is listed as “Hope Pym” in the official press release. It’s possible “Van Dyne” was a holdover from the Wright/Cornish script).
- The beginning of the panel was focused on trying to ease concerns about Reed stepping into the directorial position. Reed revealed that this is his 20th time visiting Comic-Con. First attended in 1984, the year Jack Kirby passed away.
- He was also a drummer in a punk band called Johnny Quest, and in the flyer released for his band, he drew the cover as an Avengers-style drawing and made himself Ant-Man.
- This was Rudd’s first time at Comic-Con, and he said that he’s “popping his Comic-Con cherry,” adding, “as advertised, it is unbelievable.”
- When asked about joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Rudd replied, “it’s a mind-bender… I’ve been doing this as a job for a while, but this is a whole other thing.”
- When Hardwick turned to Douglas and noted that he’s also popping his Comic-Con cherry, the actor humorously replied, “I’ve popped enough cherries, so…”
- Speaking about what it means to him to star in a Marvel film, Douglas said, “I’ve always vicariously looked at Marvel films from afar with tremendous envy.”
- Douglas described the basic story of the film, saying it’s about a heist. Pym’s mentee, played by Stoll, starts taking the company in a different direction, and so Pym enlists Lang as the rightful heir of the Ant-Man suit.
- When asked about her experience joining Ant-Man, Lilly said, “My experience thus far has been just evading the press,” noting this is the first time she’s been able to officially talk about the movie. She added she hasn’t even seen a script yet.
- Stoll on Cross: “I was Hank Pym’s mentee and a genius scientist as well, and I have taken over the company and some very judgmental people may think that that’s an evil direction, but I’m just taking it into the future.”
- “He does at some point obtain some Pym particles,” noted Feige, confirming that Stoll will also don the Yellow Jacket suit.
- Ant-Man starts filming in two weeks in Atlanta.
Though the film doesn’t start production for another two weeks, Marvel brought some footage to show to the audience. On large-scale films like this it’s common to start preliminary work and pre-visualization on the big action set pieces way in advance of principal photography, and the footage shown looked to be a more fully-rendered version of pre-vis. Accompanied by a voiceover conversation between Rudd’s Lang and Douglas’ Pym, the footage opened with a shot tracking through a lab. Douglas sounded like he was trying to convince Rudd to do something, saying “Superheroes—what a goddamn joke. You’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do.”
Reluctantly, Pym agrees (again, in voiceover only), and we then saw Ant-Man running along a rooftop in ant-sized form. He was wearing an updated version of the suit, but since he’s a novice, Lang appeared to have some trouble operating it correctly as Pym talked him through it, saying, “Use the helmet to call the ants.” We saw him jump on top of a flying ant as alarms sounded, and Ant-Man then flew off through the city.
Again, this was fully CG-rendered footage so we didn’t see any actors, but it was impressive. I would be very curious to know who directed the sequence. No way to know for sure, of course (though I imagine Wright oversaw most, if not all, of the initial pre-vis for the action sequences—subject to change under Reed’s direction), but it was certainly promising stuff as far as the actualization of Ant-Man goes. It should be great to see the ant-sized world come to life on the screen, as it sounded like a booming helicopter was landing when the winged insect landed on the roof to pick Ant-Man up. And though we didn’t see any footage of Rudd as Ant-Man, he looked positively elated to be on the Comic-Con stage and I imagine he’ll do a swell job as the lead of his own Marvel movie.
It’s going to be a step-by-step road to regaining the fans’ complete favor with regards to Ant-Man, but Marvel did a suitable job of introducing this re-tooled version of the project to the Comic-Con crowd. Nevertheless, seeing the dynamite cast assembled and the early footage of how Ant-Man will come to life, it’s impossible not to long for Wright’s full vision. Though this will never be the same film it once could have been, I’m definitely curious to see how Reed puts his own spin on the material. Again, the cast is dynamite and the prospect of Rudd joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe is incredibly exciting, so the pieces are there. Here’s hoping for the best.