Scott Lang, Ant-Man and the Wasp
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Credit: Marvel Studios

Infinity War writers explain Ant-Man's absence, why he didn't fit into Thanos' tale

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May 1, 2018, 12:49 PM EDT

Ant-Man, along with the Guardians of the Galaxy, are the zany pinnacle of the MCU that helps differentiate the franchise from something more dour and humorless like the DC super saga. So when the Marvel movies take a turn for the upsetting, how do these heroes — specifically the former — cope with the tonal change? Well, by not being in the movie.

That allows Ant-Man and the Wasp’s new trailer with Ghost to still be a whole lot of joke-filled fun, but it also nags at moviegoers during Infinity War’s runtime. There’s a single line explaining his absence — but why and where is he? Hawkeye is also missing but honestly, it’s Hawkeye. No big deal. To answer the questions about Ant-Man, there’s no better place to go than the source. In conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Infinity War screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely talked about where Paul Rudd’s size-altering Avenger bugged out to when the going got tough.

“When we get to this time next year, all will become clear,” McFeely said. “Ant-Man clearly had a specific requirement, which is he had an entire movie that is going to come between these two [Avengers films]. Same thing with Captain Marvel, by the way. We looked at that as an opportunity, not as some sort of backbend we had to do.” To meet that requirement, meant extracting him from the global goings-on because the hero simply had different fish to fry. Markus added that “Ant-Man the franchise is very light-hearted. It's fun. It maybe even skews younger.” That means the tone would be even more of a jarring shift than with Spider-Man, who has withstood a certain amount of tragedy in his life.

“If we were to put Ant-Man in this extremely heavy movie, and then have to say to the guys who are making the Ant-Man movie, ‘Yeah, he went through hell, but now go ahead and have your little romp and we'll pick it up afterwards’,” Markus continued. Having the humorous trailer follow up Infinity War with the audiences having just seen the latter’s ending would’ve felt completely disingenuous or at least painfully ignorant of the latter’s losses.

Finding the temporal balance for when the movies occur, in order to preserve these tones, is an important feature of Marvel’s screenwriting process. “We have to really sort of manage your interconnections and go, ‘Let's go and hold off so you can enjoy that without feeling a bad taste in your mouth’,” Markus finished. With a year between Infinity War and Avengers 4, we’ll need every chance to rinse our mouths out.