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It was exactly one week ago that director Edgar Wright teased us with the idea that his upcoming Marvel Studios film Ant-Man would actually feature more than one character taking on the titular hero’s moniker. Posting a still from the episode "To Steal An Ant-Man" from the animated series Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the director seemed to hint that his movie would include portrayals of both Hank Pym and Scott Lang, the first two characters in the comics to become Ant-Man. Today that was confirmed with the casting of Michael Douglas, who will star opposite Paul Rudd.
Exciting as that development is, however, there’s evidence that suggests that there is more to come. Looking at both recent revelations and old, it’s entirely possible that we will soon end up hearing about the casting of a third Ant-Man. No, I don’t mean Eric O’Grady - I’m talking about young Hank Pym.
When the news of Douglas’ casting was announced this afternoon, Wright directed fans through his Twitter account to an interview that he did with SuperHeroHype all the way back in 2006 (just three months after he landed the Ant-Man gig). Discussing his vision for the superhero story, the filmmaker described beginning the movie with a "prologue" set back in the 1960s, following Hank Pym’s early adventures as Ant-Man, and then flashing forward to the present to tell the story of Scott Lang and how "he crosses paths with Henry Pym, and then, in an interesting sort of Machiavellian way, teams up with him." Douglas will clearly be playing the older version of Pym that ends up taking Rudd’s Lang under his wing, but that means the project still needs an actor to play the character when he was 50 years younger.
In this regard, having Douglas on-board gives them something to shoot for in the casting process. We can probably assume that Wright won’t be going the Tron Legacy route and create a younger, digital version of the actor, so that means finding someone who could pass for a young Michael Douglas. The veteran star’s age and the director’s hints suggest that the production will be looking for an actor in his 20s who stands about 5’10" and who has the uncanny ability to switch from affable to intimidating at the drop of a hat. It won’t be an easy search, but there are a lot of young, talented actors out there who could fit the bill.
In addition to giving a full, rich history to the character of Ant-Man, casting a semi-known actor as the young Hank Pym would also open up a very interesting avenue for Marvel Studios. Thanks to Captain America: The First Avenger we’ve seen the 1940s in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the 1960s would be entirely new terrain to explore. Twenty some-odd years after both the creation and presumed death of Captain America, where do things stand? How is S.H.I.E.L.D. progressing? What other experiments are going on? It’s yet another way for the comic book studio to expand everything that they’re doing, and we already know how much they love doing that.
Ant-Man will be in theaters on July 31, 2015, which means that production will start up in the first half of this year. Hopefully we’ll hear even more casting news soon.