With the recent news that Marvel Studio’s upcoming movie, Ant-Man, would be moving up its release date to July 17th, 2015, as well as the announcements regarding Michael Douglas’ casting as Hank Pym (the first Ant-Man) and Paul Rudd’s casting as Scott Lang (the second Ant-Man), Marvel’s tiniest hero is looking to make waves in a big way. On that note, Collider thought this was a great chance to fill you in on who both these Ant-Men were, what they’ve done, and how this may be shown in the upcoming tentpole. Hit the jump for a breakdown of the smallest Avenger.
Hank Pym was originally a humble scientist within the confines of the Marvel Universe and didn’t even become Ant-Man proper until a follow-up appearance. His first appearance was in “Tales to Astonish #27” which was more like something from Tales from the Crypt than any costumed hero fare that Marvel was publishing at the time. The story followed Hank being threatened by an army of ants after shrinking himself down with his own “Pym Particles” which are the source of his size-changing abilities. Pym was actually one of the first superheroes that Marvel had to offer, predating many of his fellow comrades and showing up in numerous locations before joining up with the Avengers as one of their founding members. Though Pym began his career fighting crime as Ant-Man, he’s switched identities so often it’s sometimes hard to keep it all straight. He’s been Ant-Man, Goliath, Giant Man, YellowJacket, The Wasp (to honor his, at the time, dead wife), and just regular old Hank Pym.
HOWEVER, there’s a big old black mark against Mr. Pym that has haunted the character. Aside from being responsible for creating what is arguably one of the Avengers’ greatest foes in Ultron – the villainous automaton run amok who will be featured in the Avengers’ upcoming theatrical sequel – he also hit his wife. During a time when he was losing his mind and was masquerading as the supervillain named YellowJacket, Pym backhanded Janet Van Dyne (His wife and super hero, the Wasp). Unfortunately, this became one of the defining moments of the character and despite returning to his heroic roots and regaining his sanity, the moment is still attached to Pym and could, possibly, be a reason why Marvel Studios decided to have Pym co-star the movie with the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang.
As for Lang, Scott was originally a thief who stole Pym’s suit and “Pym Particles” to perform a job for Iron Man villain, Justin Hammer, in order to help his daughter. Lang eventually also became a hero and spent as much time with the Avengers as he did with one of Marvel’s other super teams, the Fantastic Four. Scott has recently returned from the dead (Listen, at this point, about 95 percent of characters in the Marvel Universe have died and been resurrected at least once) after losing his daughter and continues to patrol the streets of the Marvel Universe with an offshoot team of the Fantastic Four, labeled, “The FF”.
There was even a third Ant-Man, Eric O’Grady (who’s actually my personal favorite Ant-Man), who was originally a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who stole the Ant-Man suit for his own ridiculous, juvenile reasons. Whether or not he will also show up in the movie is yet to be seen.
Powers and Villains
As I mentioned earlier, Ant-Man is tiniest hero of the Marvel Universe as he uses “Pym Particles” to allow himself to shrink to the size of an ant, and smaller, if he so chooses. He can also use the particles to grow to many times his normal size and has the ability to communicate with ants. His powers are a tad on the goofy side, sure, but from the test footage that had been shown by Edgar Wright at Comic-Con a few years back, I believe the “Cornetto Trilogy” director knows exactly how to best utilize them on the big screen.
In terms of villains which Ant-Man usually butts heads against, I like to think of Ant-Man as something of an “ensemble” hero. Pym and Lang have more often than not been a part of a team setting and so haven’t had much of a chance to create their own villains and supporting cast the way that a character like Spider-Man or Iron Man has. While Ultron has already been claimed for Whedon’s Avengers sequel, there’s more than enough choices for villains for Marvel to pull from that could act as an antagonist for either one of these diminutive vigilantes.
Legacy of the Ants
The most interesting aspect which I find in the upcoming Marvel film is the idea of legacy. Paul Rudd as Scott Lang is an inspired choice as Rudd will be able to quip with the best of them, and having Michael Douglas as Pym is a perfect foil for Rudd to learn the ropes. It makes for a great original concept that hasn’t been seen in the Marvel Studios films as of yet. While the third Ant-Man, Eric O’Grady, hasn’t been confirmed for the film, it would be nice to see him as well at some point in the future. Also, with Marvel’s distinct lack of female protagonists, you can bet that we’ll be seeing the Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, in some form or another.
The future’s looking bright for Marvel Studios and their next phases, and I’m looking forward to riding along.