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We Can Be Heroes

Patrick Wilson In Talks to Join Ant-Man, Probably Not As Another Version of Ant-Man

Two Ant-Men—Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas—seems about the maximum for any particular film, so I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the character Patrick Wilson is in talks to play, about whom we know exactly nothing, isn’t a third. But, really, that’s all speculation on my part. Maybe he is up for the role of a third Ant-Man. Maybe everyone in this movie is playing Ant-Man. Including Evangeline Lilly, if she ends up getting cast.

Here’s what that film might look like:

(via Variety, exceptionally artistically brilliant Being Ant-Man poster by Rebecca Pahle)

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  • Anonymous

    There are allegedly flashback scenes with Michael Douglas’ character in the early 60′s so maybe he’s a young version of Douglas’ character.

  • Jason Atkins

    I’m really intrigued by this theory.

    Nick Fury heavily implied at the end of Iron Man that there were other superheroes, but we haven’t seen any of the ones he might potentially be referring to. Thor didn’t arrive on Earth until during the events of Iron Man 2, and Captain America was busy being frozen at the time. When we’re introduced to Hawkeye and Black Widow, they’re very much “agents” and not superheroes: the fact that they’re out of their depth is an important plot point.

    So when Fury says “You think you’re the only superhero in the world?”, who is he actually referring to? If the plan is to back-sell the likes of Ant-Man and such to fill in the gap between WW2 and Iron Man, I would be okay with that.

  • Anonymous

    Wonder Man?
    Though the flashback idea makes a lot of sense…

  • Rob Payne

    It’s fairly canon that the majority of Americans were aware of Steve Rogers in World War II, and this is backed up in the movies with Coulson’s trading card collection. It’s reasonable that Nick Fury, in particular, would be aware of Steve’s superheroness, too. Slotting Ant-Man into that gap in super-history obviously works as well, but there’s no reason Fury wasn’t always implying Captain America with that line. Heck, that’s probably who Tony Stark would have thought of first, due to his daddy playing a big role in the super soldier program. Really, that single sentiment means Marvel could simply say that any character we haven’t seen yet originated before Iron Man, but undoubtedly everybody (on set and in character) was thinking of Cap in that moment.

  • Anonymous

    I have a feeling they might try to claim Jessica Jones and possibly Daredevil were around before Iron Man when their Netflix shows begin. Jones’ whole backstory kinda hinges on being a washed-up former teen superhero.

  • Rob Payne

    Oh, man, if they decided to use Joe Carnahan’s proposed-and-dropped 70s grindhouse take on Daredevil for all of the Netflix Defenders series, I would be very, very happy. Or maybe advance it to the 90s and use that era as backstory for Jessica and Luke Cage. Either way, yes please.

  • Jason Atkins

    Yeah, except Captain America wasn’t “in the world” at the time. The implication of Fury’s statement is that there are other superheroes out there; they just don’t draw attention to themselves and show-boat the way that Tony just did.

    It’s actually kinda hard to work out who those heroes could be though, because the majority of heroes they have to draw from (Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, etc) have origin stories that need to be told. Black Panther is a maybe (his father preceded him), and maybe Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will be in that category… but the majority of the contemporary heroes that Fury could have been alluding to are owned by other studios.

  • Jason Atkins

    The four Netflix characters probably require the least origin story exposure to work. They have origins that are simple enough to be conveyed in flashback / montage form for the most part (or just revealed through dialogue), so claiming that any of them were active prior to Iron Man is feasible.

    That said, if they were supposedly active, I really hope they find a decent way to explain / show what they were up to when the Chitauri came, what with them being New York heroes and all. Even if it’s just a montage of them fighting Chitauri in some corner of New York with the occasional shot of Iron Man zooming overhead, or some grumpy reference to how the Avengers are getting the action figures and the glory despite them helping too… I’d just hate for there to be that kind of bubble of incongruity that they’re stuck in.

    New York / Loki kinda makes other active superheroes a tough sell, because if they were out there and Fury / SHIELD knew about them… why were the Avengers the only ones they brought in? Were all the others rejected (or did they turn down) the invitation? If the situation was dire enough to bring in Tony Stark – who was deemed ineligible – why was it not dire enough to bring in (insert other superhero who was retroactively in existence at the time)?

    I’m really hoping there’s an explanation for why Hank Pym wasn’t on the Helicarrier too, even if it’s just “I was somewhere else doing something else, and couldn’t get back in time”.

  • Anonymous

    Whirlwind, Egghead, Living Eraser, Darren Cross, Crossfire, Taskmaster, or Eric O’Grady?

  • Adrian

    I can see him playing either the main villain or as the Flashback Ant-Man. Either way, Marvel Studios knows how to cast its movies so I’m down with whatever.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    We don’t actually know that Captain America wasn’t in the world at the time. Im not sure if they were actually that clear of when he woke up in the present. It could conceivably have occurred before they discovered Stark given how in the Avengers they had opened with Cap in a gym, boxing. Given the unlikleyhood of that gym being around since he was last in town, he probably had already familiarized himself enough with the present to not freak out every time someone pulled out a cell phone.

    The rest of that though is a very good point.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    I really wish he was the third ant-man though. I think it would be kinda funny in a weird sorta way. XD
    That said, yah, he is probably a past version

  • Jason Atkins

    Apologies for the verbose answer – I talked out / worked out the Marvel timeline extensively the other day, while arguing about whether to watch Captain America first or fourth in a movie marathon!

    It’s worth bearing in mind that only six months separate the events of Iron Man and Iron Man 2/Thor… but that enough time separates Iron Man 2 and the Avengers for Tony to design and build a skyscraper.

    It’s fairly common practice for movie franchises to assume that roughly the same amount of time has passed between the events of each instalment as has passed between the movies being released. This helps ensure that the actors age appropriately, and audiences generally cope better if the thing they remember happening in a movie they saw a couple of years ago is also a couple of years ago from the characters’ perspective.

    With the exception of Iron Man 2 (which is explicitly stated as being about six months after Iron Man), despite being released two years previously), that time frame actually makes a lot of sense. Iron Man 2 and Thor were both released / both occurred in 2010, which gives Tony two years to build Stark Tower, and gives Loki two years of captivity / etc to transform him into the Chitauri’s ally. If Captain America wakes up in 2011, that gives him about a year to get acquainted with that boxing gym / modern technology / etc before Nick Fury decides he needs him for a mission. Then, because of Agents of SHIELD, that approximately 1:1 ratio fits with the amount of time that has elapsed since New York, the point at which the events of The Dark World were addressed, the point at which The Winter Soldier tie in will happen, etc.

    The alternative option – that Captain America was awake before Nick Fury made his statement – means that Fury waited several years before he tried to get Captain America “back in the world”. Bearing in mind the deleted scene from the Avengers where Steve reads the fates of his WW2 friends, it certainly seems like Joss Whedon intended for Cap to have woken up not very long before the movie (as opposed to several years) – you’d have expected him to have checked up on them much sooner if he’d been around longer.

  • Jason Atkins

    Given that Scott Lang is the star of the movie, I imagine Crossfire is the most likely main villain. The whole “stealing the suit in order to rescue the scientist who Cross abducted, so that she can save Scott’s daughter” storyline seems like a pretty solid plot for a first movie.

    I’d also go as far as guessing that Evangeline Lilly would be Erica Sondheim, the scientist that Scott Lang tries to rescue. Not only does she appear in this story, she’s a Stark Industries employee, and is involved in trying to cure Bruce Banner of being the Hulk. That’d set her up to potentially recur in a stand-alone Hulk movie, future Avengers movies, etc. Who knows, Marvel might even follow in the footsteps of Arrow, and take an obscure minor character (Felicity Smoak) and turn her into something much more important?

    That makes more sense to me than Hank Pym being in his sixties while Janet Van Dyne isn’t. I could see Marvel maybe having Janet be much younger than her husband (Michael Douglas is married to Catherine Zeta Jones after all, and there’s twenty-five years between them), but I don’t think Evangeline Lilly is quite old enough for that.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    I don’t really count deleted scenes since due to their deletedness, they generally become loosely connected to the cannon at best. In this particular case though, I could find it feasible that Cap already checked in on them but was looking it up again, kinda like how someone in a particularly downer mood might read about something sad from their pasts.

    That aside though, you make a very good point. I confess, I did not know there was any sort of timeline in these movies and your theory is certainly sound.

    As for what heroes are active, it actually is not that hard to work out.

    Pym was mentioned in the Avengers as a super scientist who worked with SHIELD and developed cages specifically for Asgardians.
    S.H.I.E.L.D itself is a pretty impressive group that could be considered a hero all its own, with agents like Black Widow and Hawkeye being obvious examples.

    The world has established meta humans, and from this we can hypothosize that something has come out of that fact.
    And while Doctor Strange has not yet appeared, it is worth keeping in mind that he inherited the title of Sorcerer Supreme from someone else, and that said title is given to the worlds greatest magical practitioner whose duty is to protect the earth from magical threats. Whether SHIELD would be aware of this or not is unknown, but the setting kinda has to have a sorcerer supreme if they have a Doctor Strange.

    Further, from the early draft of the Avengers which was going to establish Janet as an agent of shield, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if they were early on considering the possibility of SHIELD having a collection of supers on hand and just scrapped the idea during the Avengers development.

  • Jason Atkins

    I don’t entirely buy that Black Widow and Hawkeye were “obvious” superheroes.

    In Iron Man 2 and Thor, their behaviour was very much that of standard SHIELD agents. They were both subordinate to Coulson, and they both dressed in standard SHIELD gear. Yes, Hawkeye did use a bow, but it was a standard bow that appeared to be a matter of personal preference, and it wasn’t the more high tech collapsible bow with the trick arrows that was made available to him by Avengers. The fact that Natasha explicitly didn’t wear her Black Widow catsuit in Iron Man 2 (she wore the same standard issue one that Maria Hill wore), despite them being very, very similar, suggests to me that Natasha and Clint didn’t have costumes / special gear until after Iron Man 2 / Thor.

    Just speculating, I would guess that Natasha and Clint were added to the Avengers Initiative after the end of Iron Man 2; their costumes and high tech gear were made for them; and then the Avengers Initiative was cancelled by SHIELD. I would argue that they didn’t become “superheroes” until SHIELD made them superheroes, which they didn’t do until after Nick Fury had made his statement.

    You make a very good point about the Sorcerer Supreme though. The same argument could be made for Black Panther: T’Challa’s father used the name / wore the costume before him. Wasp is a bit of a curveball: it’ll be interesting to see if they try and make her contemporary with Hank Pym, or if they try and make her young enough to team up with Scott Lang.

    If you count the Netflix / Defenders, members of the Avengers and Defenders like Moon Knight and Spider-Woman, and people like Punisher and Blade who Marvel recently got the rights back to… yeah, there certainly are heroes out there. But, back when Iron Man came out they didn’t really know that Ant-Man would focus on Scott Lang instead of Hank Pym, that Captain America might hypothetically have been defrosted prior to that movie, and Marvel Studios didn’t have the rights to a lot of the hypothetically active characters.

    In hindsight it’s a statement that can be retroactively made to make sense… it just amuses me that at the time, Tony Stark could have just shot back “Yes, actually?” and left Nick Fury floundering for examples that wouldn’t infringe on copyright.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Actually, they were sitting on the script for ant-man before they even started work on the first Iron Man movie. The original script for it called for gangsters killing Pym and Lang finding the shrink tech and using it to avenge the fallen hero. (Since then, the script has reportedly gone through several revisions to better fit the marvel continuity.)

    The frustrating thing is that there are SOOOOO many things he could have been referring too aside from those. Heck, according to the comics, SHIELD was founded in the time of ancient Egypt to battle the Brood who were invading the earth (and they were teamed up with Apocolypse and the very first Moon Knight to fight off the ancient invaders) and that they have been existing in the shadows, claiming allegiance to various governments over the centuries while trying to protect mankind from world destroying threats.

    Their agents include a god, an eternal, Gallileo, devinci and a surprising number of super heroes.

    Thats not counting the many WW2 teams that Marvel quietly ignored, because i dont think any of them would still be alive except maybe robot human torch (can they use him?)

  • Jason Atkins

    I hear what you’re saying, but I think there’s an important difference between “in the world” and “in history”.

    Nick Fury didn’t say “You think you’re the first superhero in the world?” He said “only”. He knows that Tony knows about Captain America – in Avengers we know that Tony’s dad told him about him – so Fury knows full-well that Tony is aware of at least one historic superhero. The fact that Fury says “only” suggests that he’s talking about *currently active* heroes.

    You’re right that SHIELD has a fantastically long history, but I’m not sure that’s strictly relevant here. Fury’s rhetorical question implies that there are other superheroes out there, currently being active as superheroes (presumably in secret)… and we haven’t seen any of them on screen yet.

    It’s a linguistic nitpick, over something that was effectively there as a marketing stunt to excite fans: but there’s potentially an avenue for some interesting storytelling that I’m hoping Ant-Man and/or Agents of SHIELD will eventually explore.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Alright, to name some more concrete current members of Shield from the comics who could feasibly be active nowadays….

    Crimson, head of SHIELDS magical division and worshipper of Cythorak (the demonic source of Juggernauts powers)
    Spider-Woman (Speaks for herself)
    Daisy Johnson (metahuman with earthquake powers)
    Taskmaster (Originally a Shield agent before a memory wipe)
    and Jimmy Woo (What Coulson would be if he was actually cool)

    Given the development courtesy of the tv show, and the establishment of magic in the Marvelverse, any of these badass heroes could have been aplicable in Fury’s speech, given the fact that he kept referring back to Stark’s father, and seemed really intent on trying to recruit Stark to SHIELD.

  • Anonymous

    In the original story the kidnapper was Darren Cross, an evil businessman turned Hulk knock-off. They changed it to his cousin, Crossfire, in AEMH. They could easily swap in a more interesting villain for the movie though.