Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Michael Douglas Joins Marvel

Michael Douglas is Hank Pym
Yesterday, it was announced that Michael Douglas would be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2015. What was surprising though, is that it has been announced that Michael Douglas will be playing Hank Pym in "Ant-Man" that year. For non-Marvel fans, you probably think I am crazy. But Hank Pym is the superhero Ant-Man, he created the shrinking serum was the first person to don the costume.

I thought Paul Rudd got the gig a few weeks ago?

While Michael Douglas will be playing Hank Pym, Paul Rudd will play a man named Scott Lang, Lang was the second man to become Ant-Man. In the comics, the Ant-Man mantle was passed to Lang and Pym eventually became a superhero named Goliath (and later Yellowjacket) after changing and experimenting with his growth serum. So Marvel has a superhero who can become very tiny and a superhero who can become a giant, all thanks to Hank Pym's science!

Now, while this news was puzzling at first, it actually raises some interesting theories. In the comics, Hank Pym is also known for inventing Ultron, a robot-turned-villain. We already know that Ultron has been confirmed as the villain for Avengers 2. We also know that some changes had to be made in Ultron's origin in order to keep some heroes for the sequel. Robert Downey Jr. contract was getting close to ending, and Marvel really wanted to him to stay for at least one more movie. Part of the negotiation process offered to Downey Jr. so that the actor would appear in Avengers 3 was that Tony Stark, not Hank Pym, would invent Ultron for Avengers 2. So for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" in 2015, it will be Tony Stark who invents Ultron.

Michael Douglas is 69 years old, he isn't a young man anymore. That's not a bad thing, in fact Douglas's age and the fact that he has been cast as Hank Pym produced a theory in my head. What if in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" we learn that Hank Pym has been hard at work as an inventor since World War II, perhaps he also worked on the Manhattan Project with Howard Stark. (It was mentioned in Iron Man in 2008 that Tony's father helped with the Project.) What if Howard Stark and Hank Pym became friends afterward, and maybe Pym shows some research and early ideas on how to make a robot...a la Ultron. Pym can't figure some major parts of the robot out so he shares his resources with Howard Stark. Perhaps Howard Stark never finished with Pym and his research got put away for many years...

...then gets found again, in present day, by Tony Stark.

It would be an interesting way to still put Pym's stamp on Ultron without him exclusively building him and it be a great way to introduce the character into the universe. Honestly, I feel this idea or an idea like it, would add great depth and drama to the sequel. While Hank Pym's Ant-Man was a founding member of the Avengers in the comics, I kind of understand why Disney and Paramount left him out of the roster for so long. Hank Pym is a lot like Tony Stark and Dr. Bruce Banner, he's a genius inventor. For comic readers that's cool, but think about the general audience. Does the team really need another genius inventor getting introduced to the team? Introducing Scott Lang instead and having Pym on the sidelines may be a better way to reinvent and introduce the character to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

All in all, I am curious as ever about both "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Ant-Man," and 2015 can't get here soon enough!

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