When I visited the Ant-Man set last year, everyone was working under the assumption that Avengers: Age of Ultron would close Phase Two and Ant-Man would kick off Phase Three. But then Marvel made its big announcement in October, and it turned out Captain America: Civil War would be the beginning of Phase Three. Putting Ant-Man between two massive superhero movies made it look even smaller, but the little guy still has a big part to play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In a recent interview with THR, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Ant-Man star Paul Rudd explained how the character would have his own film but also fit into the larger MCU:
KEVIN FEIGE: Ant-Man is one of the best examples of how a movie can do both. It’s absolutely a stand-alone film about Hank Pym and Scott Lang, but it is within this universe.
PAUL RUDD: Essentially, this is a heist film, and if you look at the structure of heist films, there is always a test run and the test run fails. In talking about what could be a good test run, we were just playing around with conversations and thought, “Oh my God, what if he actually fought an Avenger?” We started getting really giddy about this idea. It seemed like that would be a fun way to incorporate the universe into this film.
It will be up to viewers to decide it this scene feels shoehorned into the movie or if it works organically to keep the MCU present without interfering with the overall narrative. That’s the balance Marvel keeps trying to strike—trying to keep one foot in an individual story and the other in a larger universe.
Ant-Man won’t only tie into past Marvel movies; it will also play a vital role in setting up aspects of Phase Three, and not just Ant-Man popping up in Civil War. Feige explains:
FEIGE: 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.
The “quantum realm” lends credence to my theory that the Wasp, who appears in Ant-Man in a flashback, may not have died, but may be lost in another realm. I’m really hoping that’s the case, because I really don’t want them to fridge the character.
We’ll find out when the film opens on July 17th. In the meantime, check out these new posters via EW.