Though everyone from Thor to Captain America already has a movie series ongoing, Marvel still has a deep stable of heroes to draw from for future films. So, why does Ant-Man deserve a shot while other heroes, like Black Widow and Hawkeye, haven’t gotten their own solo outings?
In a chat with IGN, Marvel chief Kevin Feige opened up about why they staked out a place in the schedule for a (relatively) low-tier hero like Ant-Man. Yes, he was technically a founder of The Avengers, but the character has fallen on some relatively hard times the past few decades in regard to public presence. Thus, the question follows, why make a movie based on Ant-Man?
According to Feige, it all came back to being able to tell a new, different type of story within the Marvel Cinematic Universe framework. He said original director Edgar Wright, who developed the project for years before departing due to creative differences, had a unique story that he still feels is a good fit for the MCU. Unlike all of Marvel’s other movies, this one has an older hero passing the torch to a younger hero — and that’s a story the company wanted to tell:
"I think a lot of it is based on what story we want to tell. In this one, it goes back to the first pitch we got from [Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish] in two-thousand-whatever-it-was, which was this history of Pym, independent of The Avengers, independent of a lot of his comic backstory, and having a mentor-to-mentee relationship. It was unique then -- it was a cool idea -- and it's even more unique now, because we've made  movies, and none of them feature that kind of relationship. None of them have the passing of the mantle, which is much of what this movie is about.
There's a lot of backstory to get across in this movie and what Hank did in his past. We see some of it; we hear about a lot of it. But it's not about the trial and error of inventing the Pym Particle. The Pym Particle's invented. He has been on adventures as Ant-Man, as we'll see in this movie, beforehand. Frankly, we can focus more on the character stuff instead of the science stuff, to focus on this criminal, this smart guy, this good guy: Scott Lang."
Along with the Pym-Lang angle, Feige noted that Scott Lang represents the first Marvel movie hero who has a child to worry about (post-Age of Ultron Hawkeye notwithstanding). As any parent knows, those responsibilities create a whole new level of worry and anxiety. Once again, Feige said that was a unique story that could open up a new storytelling corner within the MCU:
"We meet [Scott] as he's leaving prison, as he's getting released from prison for the first time. We figure he's been in for four or five years. His daughter is six, so he doesn't have much of a relationship with her, and he very much wants a relationship with her. But he can't hold down a job, and he can't pay child support, and his wife [played by Judy Greer] has married a police officer [Bobby Cannavale], who just makes it all worse for him. And he begrudgingly -- and he's very upset about it -- returns to a life of crime to get enough money to pay his child support, to be able to see his daughter. Ultimately, that's what Hank sort of plays off of to try to pull him into his scheme."
Feige makes some fair points, and though we're a bit worried about all the creative troubles behind the scenes, Scott Lang is still a great character — and when you factor in MIchael Douglas' old-man Hank Pym that could still make for one heck of a good movie. Fingers crossed they get it right.
Ant-Man opens July 17.