Marvel's Ant-Man: From Page to Screen
Marvel's latest film, Ant-Man features characters that are a little more obsurce than the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He's not nearly as popular as Spider-man or Iron Man, although he's been around as long. But Hank Pym has had a rough journey to the screen, almost as rough has the character's history in the comics.
Hank Pym first appeared in Tales to Astonish # 27. "The Man in the Ant-Hill. He was created editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, penciler Jack Kirby, and inker Dick Ayers. A few issues later, he debuted as Ant-Man, who could shrink to the size of... well, an ant.
He was soon joined by Janet Van Dyne, who became his partner the Wasp, and later his wife. The two of them became founding members of the Avengers.
Hank eventually increased his size, becoming first Giant-Man, and then calling himself Goliath. Later after inhaling some hazardous chemicals he grew mentally unstable and started calling himself Yellowjacket.
During one such period of instability, Hank is accused of attacking a foe from behind. In order to regain his credibility, he creates a robot to attack the Avengers that he alone can stop (which is Syndrome's plan in The Incredibles). When Jan discovers this...
The writer of the story, Jim Shooter, says he intended only that Hank accidentally strike her while gesturing at her dismissively, and that artist Bob Hall misinterpreted. However, this is the same writer who wrote Avengers # 200 which is controversial due to the treatment of Ms. Marvel, so take that as you will.
Fans couldn't forgive Hank for this, and although attempts have been tried to redeem him, he's never recovered. As such, a new character had to be introduced.
Scott Lang was a brilliant electronics expert who couldn't make ends meet because of his daughter Cassie's medical bills, so he turned to burglary. After being released from prison, he broke into the home of Hank Pym, stealing his Ant-Man suit. Hank followed him, observing that Scott only stole the suit to rescue his daughter's doctor. Hank decided to let Scott keep the suit as long as he used it for good.
When Marvel went to make the film version of Ant-Man, they obviously chose to focus on Scott Lang rather than Hank Pym. Oh by the way...
SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN ANT-MAN!
Okay. There are differences from the comic to the film. First of all, Hank Pym is much older. In the comics, Hank and Janet are the same age and contemporaries of Avengers Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, but in the film, they belong to the previous generation, interacting with an older Peggy Carter and Howard Stark. Hank and Janet were agents of SHIELD, until a mission went wrong and Janet disappeared into the subatomic universe, and Hank believed her dead. This storyline also happened in the comics, and Janet was eventually saved. Nowhere in the film is it ever suggested that Hank hit his wife.
In the film, Hank and Janet have a daughter, Hope. This character doesn't exist in the mainstream Marvel Universe, but the character exists in a future time as the villainous Red Queen. The post-credits scene in the film sets the character up to replace her mother as the Wasp.
The villian of the film, Darren Cross, goes by the name Yellowjacket, which was one of Hank Pym's names. In the comics, he'a self made millionaire, but diagnosed with a heart condition. He created an experimental pacemaker to save his life, but it mutated his body, giving him superhuman powers. The pacemaker would overtax his heart and he would require a transplant. He kidnapped heart surgeon Dr. Erica Sondheim to replace his damaged heart. Sondheim was the same surgeon that was helping to save Cassie Lang and it was for this reason that Scott stole the Ant-Man costume to begin with.
Scott's daughter Cassie would later follow in her father's footsteps and become the Avenger Stature.
The film keeps many of the details of the chatacter's origins with slight modifications. Scott went to prison, but his crime was more of a Robin Hood style burglary, giving back money to victims of a crooked corporation. Instead of Lang targetting Pym for robbery, Pym seeks him out, manipulating events to let Scott steal the suit. Cassie is not sick, but all of Scott's actions come from his desire to provide her with child support so he can see her on a regular basis. Darren Cross is still the villian, but in the film, he is developing similar shinking technology in order to sell to Hydra.
While we may not see Ant-Man in another solo movie, he is set to appear in Captain America: Civil War. Maybe the Wasp will join him?
One more thing, did you notice the cab driver played by former Saturday Night Live cast member Garrett Morris? Where you wondering why he had a cameo? Maybe you don't remember this (fast forward to 4:35):