SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains minor spoilers for Ant-Man And The Wasp.
One of the coolest things about the lead Marvel heroes in Peyton Reed's Ant-Man And The Wasp is the fact that they are legacy heroes. There was no Iron Man before Iron Man, or a Captain America before Captain America; but before Scott Lang there was Hank Pym, and before Hope van Dyne there was Janet van Dyne. You'd think this fact would have led to the new movie featuring more flashback sequences, but the director recently explained to me in an interview why he didn't take that approach:
It's tricky, because we talked a lot about how to introduce [Hank and Janet], and I always wanted to see some glimpse of them in the '80s. We talked about doing action sequences, we shot some stuff, and it just felt like... I think I've learned this along the way - as much as, as a fan, I want to see flashbacks, the present tense story is the thing. That's the thing that really matters to me - and also that I felt like it didn't want to be action. It really wanted to be emotional grounding, because after all, this is a movie called Ant-Man And The Wasp. It really has to be about the emotion of a daughter finding her mother after all this time.
The screenshot at the top of this article comes from one of those flashback action sequences, as it was featured in the main theatrical trailer for Ant-Man And The Wasp, but anyone who has seen the film will tell you that the moment isn't actually in the movie. Instead, the film really only has two brief looks at the past, and one of them is essentially a recreation of the flashback in the first Ant-Man.
I had the opportunity to bring up scenes with the original Ant-Man and Wasp when I sat down with Peyton Reed a couple weeks ago for an episode of our podcast, HeroBlend. Having noticed the aforementioned cut flashback scene in the trailers, I asked the filmmaker if there were earlier versions of the movie that took more trips to the 1980s. He confirmed that there was originally going to be more of them, but focused primarily on why they didn't make the theatrical cut:
This movie was always going to be Hope finally having the thing that she wanted so badly in the first movie: to be a hero. But it occurred to us along the way, and I talked to Evangeline [Lilly] about this a lot as we were developing the story and then the script, which was she's finally Wasp. Scott has Hank as a mentor, and the one person that Hope would want to turn to who's been there and done that is her mom, and she hasn't been around for 30 years. And now that there's actually this kernel of a chance that she could still be alive, and they could actually find her, it's not only about a reunion with her, but this person who is the ultimate role model for her.
You can listen to my full interview with Peyton Reed by clicking play on the HeroBlend embed below!
Ant-Man And The Wasp may not feature much of Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne in action, but it should be noted that it does have some key and amazing flashbacks. The opening, featuring a de-aged Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet saying goodbye to young Hope before her last mission, is jaw-dropping, and it's equally great to see the de-aged Lawrence Fishburne as Bill Foster during the telling of Ghost's origin story. Presumably including more scenes set in the 1980s would have slowed down the movie too much, but hopefully we'll get to see what the production shot later this year when this film arrives on home video.
For now, audiences can enjoy the outrageously fun blockbuster on the big screen, as Ant-Man And The Wasp is now in theaters everywhere nationwide.