Probably one of the most obscure Marvel heroes currently leading a franchise, Ant-Man is nevertheless returning to theaters with sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp this summer. Seemingly a comedic breath of fresh air after the high stakes and grim ending of Infinity War, many Marvel fans are raring to finally see the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) in action, as well as the introduction of characters like Janet van Dyne, Bill Foster, and the Ghost, and the return of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) who was last seen in Civil War (2016). There’s also an edge of tension, as there’s a good chance half of the cast may go poof! as the movie catches up with the events of Infinity War.
To get ready for the movie, here are 10 facts about the present (and past) Ant-Man.
Tales to Astonish
Ant-Man was originally never envisioned as a superhero. A year before the debut of the Avengers comic series, the character first appeared in a one-off Tales to Astonish comic in 1961. Bordering on the horror genre, the surreal short story shows a scientist experiment with shrinking technology only to get trapped in an ant-hill.
Along with Hulk, Iron Man and Thor Ant-Mand and the Wasp were the original founders of the Avengers team in 1963. The Wasp was even the one who came up with the team’s name. The decision to leave the size-changing duo out of the 2012 Avengers film ruffled some fan’s feathers, though many drafts of the script included at least one of them on the team.
In the movies as well as the comics Pym-particle creator Hank Pym and his wife Janet Van Dyne were the OG Ant-Man and Wasp, with Scott Lang and eventually Pym’s daughter Hope taking on their mantles. In the comics, Lang is only one of several Pym-particle using heroes and villains some of whom have already shown up in the film adaptions. Darren Cross was the villain Yellowjacket in Ant-Man (2015) and the third Yellowjacket in the comics (confusingly, the first was Hank Pym). The Ant-Mand And The Wasp trailer’s have also given us a glimpse of Bill Foster, a former associate of Pym’s who worked on a project called G.O.L.I.A.T.H. In the comics he used Pym particles to become the hero known as Giant-Man and Goliath
Hank Pym Made Ultron
The famous murder-bot originally had no connection to Tony Stark or the Infinity Stones but was instead inadvertently created by Pym. First coming ‘alive’ when the scientist experimented with using scans of his own mind as a template for advanced robotic, Ultron used all of Pym’s brilliance to it’s advantage and swiftly became one of the Avengers most persistent and dangerous enemies, driven by a sense of rejection from it’s ‘father’ Pym.
The Scarlet Witch (kind of) killed Scott Lang
In the controversial Avengers Disassembled event Wanda Maximoff lost her grip on reality and her probability warping powers after she began to recall the seeming loss of her twin children and lashed out at her friends and teammates. Scott Lang was the first casualty, his body immolated upon encountering a resurrected hero with explosive powers who was under Wanda’s control. Years later his daughter Cassie would use time travel to pull him to safety seconds before his body was destroyed, making Lang a staple of the comics once again.
Top 5 Scientific Minds
The ranking of the most intelligent Marvel characters tends to shuffle around a bit every few years as new characters are added, but Pym’s placement in the top percentage has been fairly steady for decades. While his specialty is in biochemistry Pym is immensely accomplished in a wide variety of other scientific fields such as robotics and engineering. In the MCU he’s ranked at as the 3rd smartest, behind only Tony Stark and Shuri.
Little Cassie Lang, Scott Lang’s daughter, appears in both Ant-Man films as a supporting character. An older version of her in the comics has gone on to follow her father’s heroic footsteps, becoming the Young Avengers member known as Stature. Cassie eventually saved her father from the Scarlet Witch, and though she shortly was killed afterwards she was later revived by Doctor Doom.
The reason Hank Pym wasn’t Ant-Man
As not only the original Ant-Man but a founding Avenger the choice to have Pym be the focus of the movies might seem strange to some, But the characters troubled past portrayal probably makes the decision to focus on Lang for the best. Over the years Pym has been portrayed as mentally unstable (often in a less than accurate or sensitive manner), manifesting symptoms such as radical mood swings and multiple personalities, before being officially diagnosed with BPD and schizophrenia. These led to Pym alienating himself from his teammates and his soon to be ex-wife Janet; in one infamous panel set he physically struck her. While the character has since been largely rehabilitated in the eyes of his fellow heroes and comic readers, it would still be a touchy thing to have Pym be a headlining character. The drastic re-working of his current MCU incarnation is probably the best way to have him be in this kind of movie, especially when it’s owned by Disney.
Scott Lang and Jessica Jones
Before seemingly being killed in Dissasembled Lang was briefly the love interest of super-powered detective Jessica Jones in her debut series Alias. The two had an admittedly lukewarm but still nice enough relationship, even dealing with hazards like an encounter with the Purple Man and ants in the bed.
Ant-Man in Phase One
An Ant-Man movie had been envisioned as early as 2001, long before the establishment of the MCU, by Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish. They eventually pitched it to Kevin Feige in 2004, who hired on Wright as the director for what was supposed to be a Phase One adaption. The project increasingly stalled due to lack of name recognition compared to other Phase One heroes like Captain America and Hulk, and Wright and Cornish eventually split from Marvel entirely due to creative differences.
Ant-Man and the Wasp comes out July 6 2018. It stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, and Michelle Pfeiffer.