At a recent press conference, the Ant-Man and the Wasp team discussed what the sequel learned from Ant-Man.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in flux after Avengers: Infinity War. With uncertainty over where the future is heading, Ant-Man and the Wasp is set in the more familiar territory prior to the events of Infinity War. This gives Ant-Man and the Wasp the ability to return to its roots and explore its own characters and story without needing to address the fallout from Infinity War. Read our full review!
Sequel to ‘Civil War’
Ant-Man and the Wasp is the third Marvel film in which Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) appears. Besides, of course, leading Ant-Man, Scott also had a key appearance in Captain America: Civil War, fighting alongside Captain America. Ant-Man and the Wasp not only continues the story from Ant-Man but also from Civil War.
Director Peyton Reed described how this created a “natural starting point,” because “there were ramifications of the Sokovia Accords and Scott being on house arrest.” Reed explored the question in Ant-Man and the Wasp of “what would Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne think about Scott taking the suit and getting involved in fighting with the Avengers.”
As this is the third appearance of Scott Lang, audiences are more familiar with the character. Rudd believes that this familiarity would allow for “more freedom to play into the humor.” He explained that more familiarity with the character creates more character specific humor. The audience can recognize that Scott’s reactions are organic to the character.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is significantly Marvel’s first film with a titular female hero. According to President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige, “We always knew that the next one was going to be Ant-Man and the Wasp, and it would finally be time to see her suit up and be the hero.”
This premise is set up in Ant-Man as it is clear that Hope is much more suited to being a superhero than Scott. Feige explained, “The first Ant-Man film essentially is all about how qualified Hope is, and her estrangement from her father is preventing her from [being a superhero.]”
Evangeline Lily was particularly excited to return to the role of Hope van Dyne because “it was fun to finally get to see her take on the mantle [of the Wasp] because it is something that she’s been ready and willing to do basically her whole life.” Hope is unique in the MCU because she grew up with exposure to superheroes, as her parents previously held the mantles of Ant-Man and the Wasp.
The Wasp suit was introduced in the tag to Ant-Man, and Lily mentioned that initially, the Wasp was going to appear in Captain America: Civil War alongside Ant-Man. She explained that Marvel chose instead “to dedicate a film to introducing this female superhero, and [they didn’t] want her just to be a side note in this larger story.”
Lily is so passionate about her character and the other female characters in the MCU that she said, “I am personally going to continue to keep the rumor and gossip about an all-female Avengers film going until it happens.”
Ant-Man and the Wasp introduces the character Ghost, played by Hannah John-Kamen, as the primary antagonist. John-Kamen said that she “approached the character not as a villain at all,” but rather as “a threat to the characters and the heroes of the movie.” Ghost has “such a clear objective in the movie,” John-Kamen said, and “the stakes are so high,” that Ghost takes on an “every man for himself” mentality.
John-Kamen finds that the MCU is special because “the villains are very redeemable because they’re fun and you want to see them again.” Lily echoed that “a true hero’s job is to remind [the villain] of their goodness, not to annihilate them… it’s to help them redeem themselves.” She explained that this allows Marvel to teach a valuable lesson to the audience, particularly to children, of trying to understand those who have different opinions from oneself.
Different from other Marvel films
Ant-Man and the Wasp runs two parallel stories about fathers and daughters, between Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne, and Scott Lang and his daughter Cassie. According to Rudd, “Scott was never really sure how he could be Ant-Man and still be a good parent, and if those two things can coexist.”
The film gets to delve into this theme more than the first was able to, and the general theme of family allows the story to feel grounded. “I’m playing somebody who doesn’t have innate super abilities,” Rudd said, “I want [Scott] to be relatable.”
While Scott and Hope are not the only heroes in the MCU without superpowers, Ant-Man and the Wasp is tonally unique. Unlike Avengers: Infinity War, which has a run-time of two hours and forty minutes, Ant-Man and the Wasp as a runtime of only 118 minutes. Reed explained, “I always wanted these movies to be under two hours.” This is partly because “they’re comedies,” but also because the unique combination of science fiction, crime, and superhero genres “needed to have a lot of forward momentum.”
Also, while many MCU films are set in New York, Ant-Man and the Wasp is set in San Francisco. One standout scene in the film is an extended chase through San Francisco. Reed explained that the chase “utilize[s] the city and make[s] the chase specific to that city, to the landmarks.” He continued, “we wanted to do a chase that you just simply wouldn’t see in any other movie because of all the size changes.”