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What is the reason for Marvel to use Scott Lang as Ant-Man over Hank Pym and Eric O'Grady?

This is a question about the 2015 movie "Ant-Man".

In the comics all 3 characters have a go at being Ant-Man (There is a fourth person who apparently used the Ant-Man suit, but I can't find the character's name). I would have thought the logical choice would have been Hank Pym and although he is portrayed as being a lot older in the movie, when he was the Ant-Man he was much younger.

Or does the domestic violence issue of Hank Pym play a part the choice? In any case what was the reasoning for Marvel to go with Scott Lang?

  • 1
    First time I ever heard of there being a domestic violence issue with Hank Pym, and it's not mentioned at all on his Wikipedia article. I eventually found out about it by searching the web, but I'm not sure how well it's actually known among casual fans. – Thunderforge Sep 12 '16 at 7:25
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    From a storytelling standpoint (especially in a movie which has only an hour and a half or two to tell the story) it is much harder to make the hero the genius and much easier to make the genius take a helping backseat. That's why there was never a James Bond movie that follows the guys that actually make all of his awesome toys. There are exceptions to this, but they are rare. – Broklynite Sep 12 '16 at 10:58
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    @Broklynite cough cough IRON MAN cough – Ernest Friedman-Hill Sep 12 '16 at 12:49
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    @ErnestFriedman-Hill and how often do we see him actually being an intellectual as opposed to a drunken surly guy going around claiming to be a genius? We see the fruit of his labors without focusing on the work that goes into it. He takes no pleasure in the work, no intellectual excitement or joy at knowledge. He is an engineer rather than a scientist. He seeks only to reach an end means but doesn't give a damn really about the process along the way. He wants only the treasure at the end of the map and takes no pleasure in the journey. – Broklynite Sep 12 '16 at 13:59
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    @MasonWheeler true to an extent but I was more emphasizing an intellectual attitude, and I apologize for the confusion. And so I stand by my original statement, with the understanding that I meant the classic archetypal intellectual genius rather than a clever applications guy archetype. – Broklynite Sep 12 '16 at 19:25
29

Screenwriter Edgar Wright has a personal affinity for Scott Lang

From an interview discussing the movie when it was in development:

…I’d met with Artisan and at the time, they had some of Marvel’s lesser-known titles, and they asked if I was a Marvel comics fan, and I said that I always was a Marvel Comics kid, and they said, “Are you interested in any of these titles?” The one that jumped out was “Ant-Man” because I had the John Byrne “Marvel Premiere” from 1979 that David Micheline had done with Scott Lang that was kind of an origin story. I always loved the artwork, so when I saw that, it just immediately set bells going off kind of thinking going “Huh, that could be interesting. ”

Wright also wanted to do an atypical superhero movie in a different genre

Ant-Man was basically doing a superhero film in invert commas, and it takes place in another genre, almost more in the crime-action genre, that just happens to involve an amazing suit with this piece of hardware. The thing I like about Ant-Man is that it’s not like a secret power, there’s no supernatural element or it’s not a genetic thing. There’s no gamma rays. It’s just like the suit and the gas, so in that sense, it really appealed to me in terms that we could do something high-concept, really visual, cross-genre, sort of an action and special effects bonanza, but funny as well.

I imagine that an Ant-Man movie focusing on Hank Pym would be more of a science-fiction movie, or at least more akin to something like Iron Man. Having someone who is not an inventor, but rather a criminal, means that there is a possibility to add cross-genre crime elements. We get scenes involving breaking into places, rather than discussing "Pym particles" (analogous to gamma rays, which Wright said he didn't care for).


As a side note, I see no evidence that Wright felt Hank Pym was controversial or otherwise unfit for being a hero. In fact, he brings up Hank Pym in the interview (whom he refers to as "Henry Pym") and speaks about him pretty fondly. Apparently in the original script, there was to be a prologue featuring Hank Pym as Ant-Man in the 1960s, reminiscent of his adventures in Tales to Astonish. But as for a main character, Wright just preferred to use Scott Lang.

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    Hank is actually shown in the movie as Ant-Man. In the scene where he tells Scott about "going subatomic" (whatever that's supposed to mean), he explains that he and his wife used to wear the suits and fight crime, but then she went subatomic to enter some WMD's control chip and now he doesn't want to wear the suit anymore (and he doesn't want his daughter to wear it). – Kevin Sep 12 '16 at 12:26
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    "Hank" is actually a nickname for "Henry." – Ernest Friedman-Hill Sep 12 '16 at 12:51
  • @ErnestFriedman-Hill Thanks for clarifying that. I've changed the wording for that part. – Thunderforge Sep 13 '16 at 2:32
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I am unfamiliar with the comic but at least from the movie standpoint, they went with Scott because of because of age, is one, and because although the helmet seems to provide so kind of protection from the, I am guessing gas released by the Pym particle, it seems it is not total. They don't make it entirely clear what the effect is, I am guessing again it is insanity, eventually will set in after repeated and prolonged exposure. In the movie Hank even says how he would love to be the Ant-man again but he can't, and that the suit had taken a toll on him. But as I also mentioned earlier, age would be an issue. The question is, in the comic is he supposed to be from Howard Stark's generation, or Tony Stark's generation? Because that would seem to answer the question right there.

  • Welcome to S&F! Guesses are usually not acceptable answers on SE, even less so when there's already an accepted answer with cited sources. Please cite your sources in the future. – miltonaut Jan 8 '17 at 0:20
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I think marvel hates to put any hero that rivals Tony Stark intelligence and his whole cliche I mean I don't but he's too similar to tony stark shit they are very different and I think the other reason would be his mental issue and his abusive past that was why if not hank pym is always the better Antman is just that he gave up the helmet long ago

  • “he's too similar to tony stark” — I take it you haven’t seen Doctor Strange yet. – Paul D. Waite Nov 6 '16 at 15:10

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