I’m insanely excited about Ant-Man, even if I have a few misgivings about a lot of the choices this movie seems to have made. I was going to keep this to myself until after I saw the teaser trailer that’s being released in a few days, just in case any of the beats my version hits actually appear in the real movie, but I kinda went down the rabbit hole with this and got very excited with some of the things I came up with.
First and foremost, my version of Ant-Man would be a Hank Pym story. A story of redemption and accountability. A story whose lead suffers from legitimate mental health issues but, unlike almost every other comic, he becomes a hero and not a villain. I found a way to tie this into Age of Ultron, as well as the whole SHIELD/Hydra/AIM thing.
Okay, here goes…
Twenty-five years ago, teenage wunderkind Hank Pym and his mentor, Dr. Vernon van Dyne, are contracted by SHIELD to create next-gen technologies for the global peacekeeping organization. When Pym realizes that SHIELD is going to weaponize his inventions, he quickly hacks into the SHIELD database and removes one crucial piece of information from each design, preventing SHIELD from ever using his designs.
The present: Dr. Hank Pym is a research scientist at a small college in upstate New York, specializing in robotics, cybernetics, and nanotechnology. Dr. van Dyne had retired from academia and entered the private sector, creating Van Dyne Industries, a world-renowned think tank now run by van Dyne’s daughter Janet. Although employed by the college, Pym and his lab partner Dr. Bill Foster receive the majority of their funding from VDI.
Hank is struggling with depression in the wake of the Ultron Incident. He knows that Ultron was based on one of his old designs (Ultron’s ability to control robot drones can be tied to the queen/drone relationship among social insects, thus explaining how Ant-Man can control ants).
Meanwhile, Hydra dispatches Grim Reaper to one of AIM’s hidden labs in New York City. Hydra is still angry that they lost the Tesseract and they want AIM to create a replacement. AIM chief scientist, George Tarleton, explains that, while they have the means to create another Tesseract, they still require the materials. Grim Reaper promises to obtain the materials AIM needs and departs. Tarleton walks through a doorway that leads to a restricted area, past a cryogenic chamber labelled “J. SCHMIDT”, and into the “M.O.D.O.C. Chamber.” We see that Aldrich Killian’s head has been preserved and joined to a massive mobile computing array.
Hydra sends Blizzard, Whirlwind, and Beetle to Van Dyne Industries to obtain the heavy elements that AIM needs to create a new Tesseract. Pym watches the attack on the news, horrified when he recognizes that some of the tech used in the attack was also part of the work he did for SHIELD as a teenager. He vows to make a stand. He vows that his inventions will never again be used to hurt others. He dons a suit he designed to use in his nanotech experiments and a special cybernetic helmet: Ant-Man is born.
Things kinda follow the usual superhero plot trajectory from here. Hydra gets what it needs and AIM creates a new Tesseract, only to double-cross Hydra. As punishment, Grim Reaper kills Tarleton, who manages to save himself by merging with M.O.D.O.C. and becoming M.O.D.O.K. Janet refuses to stand by while Hank fights those responsible for the attack on her company, giving birth to Wasp.
I’m all for teasing the appearance of Scott Lang in a possible sequel, maybe a line of dialogue about the new lab assistant starting next week.
As far as the casting goes, you’ll never be able to convince me that anyone other than Alan Tudyk can play Hank Pym. For Janet, I’ve always wanted Nicki Clyne; however, after seeing Evangeline Lilly’s bob cut, how can I not want her to play Jan? The only other casting I can think of is Steve Buscemi as Tarleton/M.O.D.O.K. Oh, and I’d cast the kid who played Blizzard on Agents of SHIELD to reprise his role in the movie.