Geek Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Marvel's Ant-Man

Sunday, 05 July 2015 - 12:29PM
Sunday, 05 July 2015 - 12:29PM
Geek Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Marvel's Ant-Man
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The Marvel Cinematic Universe adds a new hero to its roster next month when Ant-Man hits theaters on July 17, but most people aren't all that familiar with the tiny hero. So to gear up for the movie, here's a primer on everything you need to know about Ant-Man from the comics and the movie. By the time we're done with you, you'll be completely smitten with Marvel's next big/small star.  

There's More Than One

We might as well get to this right off the bat because the film depicts both the first and second incarnations of Ant-Man from the comics. The first Ant-Man was Hank Pym, making his comics debut way back in 1962 before Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk, and most other well-known Marvel heroes. Pym has used a number of aliases in his long history with Marvel, with Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, and Yellow Jacket being the most notable (it's worth noting that the Yellow Jacket name is used for the villain of the film and not Pym).

Pym is a scientist and is the inventor of "Pym Particles" (humble name), which give Ant-Man his size- changing abilities. Pym is also noted for being kind of a jerk, and it might be for this reason that Marvel decided not to make him the focus of their film. Instead, they've aged him up (he's played by Michael Douglas in the film) to be a mentor to the movie's star, and the second Ant-Man from the comics, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd).

Lang, who was introduced in the comics in 1979, was a reformed thief when his daughter became deathly ill. In order to save her, he steals Pym's Ant-Man suit and uses it to rescue the only daughter capable of healing her. After he succeeds, he turns himself in to Pym, who allows him to continue being Ant-Man as long as in doing so he upholds the law. There's also a third Ant-Man, Eric O'Grady, but we don't need to discuss him.

His Powers

As you've probably deduced from the film's trailers, Ant-Man has the ability to shrink down to roughly the size of an ant while his strength increases. This is due to the Pym Particles' size-changing properties. Ant-Man also uses a cybernetic helmet which allows him to communicate with and control ants.

Eventually, when he adopts his Giant-Man persona, Pym has figured out how to use Pym Particles to grow in size instead of shrink, becoming, you guessed it, a giant man. While we're not sure if Ant-Man will display his growing abilities in the film, there are rumors that he does let them loose in Captain America: Civil War. The Wasp Whenever you talk about Ant-Man, you've got to bring up the Wasp as well.

The Wasp

Janet van Dyne, is Hank Pym's romantic interest in the comics and a fellow superhero. She receives her powers from Hank, who uses Pym Particles to give her shrinking abilities and graft a tiny pair of wings onto her back that enable flight when she's small. The Wasp can also harness her body's own bio-electric energy and shoot it out of her hands, which she calls "wasp stings". She gained this ability thanks to Pym Particles having been injected into her system, rather than just being part of a suit or using a gas capsule.

In the film, Janet van Dyne is Hank Pym's deceased wife, while his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lily) is the romantic interest for Scott Lang. Rumors suggest, based largely on her haircut in the movie, that Hope will take up the Wasp's mantle in the MCU, while Kevin Feige has confirmed that Janet will make an appearance in the movie at some point. The Wasp is a storied character in the history of the Avengers and deserves to feature prominently in the MCU, so fingers crossed those rumors are true.

He's an Avenger

Just about every hero in the Marvel Universe has been an Avenger at one time or another, but few are as tied to the team as Ant-Man. Pym was a founding member of the team, along with Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, and the aforementioned Wasp, has been in many incarnations of the team over the years. Scott Lang has also been a member of the team on several occasions, so it's more likely than not that the Ant-Man from the films will eventually join up with Earth's Mightiest Heroes on screen as well.

The Villain

In the movie, Corey Stoll portrays Darren Cross, who uses a specialized shrinking suit of his own to become the supervillain Yellow Jacket. Like Iron Man 3's use of Aldrich Killian, Ant-Man taking a minor character from the comics and changing him to suit the film's needs by combining him with other characters. In the comics, Darren Cross tries to kidnap the same doctor Scott Lang needs to rescue his daughter in Lang's first appearance, and the two face off. The movie is combining Cross's history with Lang with that of Yellow Jacket, the alter ego of Pym who is responsible for most of Pym's less-savory moments. It's a clever combination, and we're looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

The Post-Credits Scenes

It's a Marvel movie, which means there will, of course, be something worth sticking around for once the credits start rolling. Well, two things to be precise, because it has been confirmed that Ant-Man will have both a mid-credits scene and post-credits scene. One of these scenes caught particular praise from those who watched the first screening of the movie, with some going as far as to say it is almost bigger than the Ant-Man movie itself.

We'll leave what we know about that particular scene behind a spoiler wall.

Possible spoilers ahead! (Click to reveal)

Kevin Feige has confirmed that one of the Ant-Man credits scenes was shot by the Russo Brothers on the set of their huge upcoming movie, Captain America: Civil War. This means that Ant-Man will be your first opportunity see footage from what will be one of the biggest movies of 2016.

A Prequel on the Cards?

Sure, we may not have even seen the first one, but already director Peyton Reed has been stoking the fire for a potential second movie. Here's what Reed said in a recent interview: "Listen, if we were lucky enough to be able to do a sequel or even a prequel, I'd be way into it. ,I've really fallen in love with these characters. I was always in love with the characters in the comic book world but there's a lot of story to tell with Hank Pym."
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