Ant-Man and the Wasp is a 2018 American superhero film based on Marvel Comics featuring the characters Scott Lang / Ant-Man and Hope Pym / Wasp. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the sequel to Ant-Man (2015) and the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Peyton Reed and written by the writing teams of Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, and Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari. It stars Rudd as Lang and Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne, alongside Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen, David Dastmalchian, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, Randall Park, Abby Ryder Fortson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas. In Ant-Man and the Wasp, the titular pair work with Hank Pym (Douglas) to retrieve Janet van Dyne (Pfeiffer) from the Quantum Realm.
Talks for a sequel to Ant-Man began shortly after that film was released. Ant-Man and the Wasp was officially announced in October 2015, with Rudd and Lilly returning to reprise their roles. A month later, Ant-Man director Reed was officially set to return. He had joined the first film later in its production and was excited to develop this one from the beginning. He also looked forward to introducing Hope van Dyne as the Wasp in this film, and insisted on treating Lang and her as equals. Filming took place from August to November 2017, at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, as well as Metro Atlanta; San Francisco; Savannah, Georgia; and Hawaii.
Ant-Man and the Wasp had its world premiere in Hollywood on June 25, 2018, and was released in the United States on July 6, 2018, as part of Phase Three of the MCU. The film was a critical and commercial success, receiving praise for its performances (particularly those of Rudd and Lilly), humor, and levity, and grossing over $622 million worldwide. A sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, was released in February 2023.
In June 2015, Ant-Man director Peyton Reed expressed interest in returning for a sequel or prequel to that film, saying that he had “really fallen in love with these characters” and felt “there’s a lot of story to tell with Hank Pym”. A month later, Pym actor Michael Douglas said he was not signed for any additional films, but “would look forward to more if it comes my way”, and expressed the desire to have his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones cast as Janet van Dyne for a potential follow-up. Evangeline Lilly—who played the daughter of Pym and Van Dyne, Hope van Dyne—wanted to see Michelle Pfeiffer in the role. Producer Kevin Feige revealed that the studio had a “supercool idea” for the next Ant-Man film, and “if audiences want it, we’ll find a place to do it.” Reed also mentioned that there had been talks of making a standalone adventure with Hank Pym as Ant-Man, possibly including the original opening to Ant-Man featuring Jordi Mollà which was cut from the final film. Eric Eisenberg of Cinema Blend opined that a standalone adventure with Pym and the cut sequence would be a good candidate to revive the Marvel One-Shots short film series. By the end of July, David Dastmalchian expressed interest in returning for a sequel as Kurt.
In October 2015, Marvel Studios confirmed the sequel, titled Ant-Man and the Wasp, with a scheduled release date of July 6, 2018. Reed was in negotiations to direct the sequel by the end of the month, and announced his return in November, along with the confirmation of Paul Rudd and Lilly returning as Scott Lang / Ant-Man and Hope van Dyne / Wasp, respectively. Despite being offered the chance to direct sequels in the past, Reed had never done so out of a lack of interest, but was excited to work on Ant-Man and the Wasp because there was “a lot more story to tell with these characters that I have a genuine affection and kind of protective feeling about”. He was also able to build the sequel “from the ground up”, as he joined the first film late in the process following the departure of original writer and director Edgar Wright, and wanted to explore elements that he had set up in the first film. He first began work on an outline for the sequel, which he thought could be “weird, unique and different” now that the characters’ origins had been established. On being the first MCU film to have a female character in the title with the Wasp, Reed called it “organic” and noted the Wasp’s final line in Ant-Man—’It’s about damn time’—as “very much about her specific character and arc in that movie, but it is absolutely about a larger thing. It’s about damn time: We’re going to have a fully realized, very very complicated hero in the next movie who happens to be a woman.” Reed would push to ensure the Wasp received equal publicity and merchandise for the film, and wanted to explore the backstory of Janet van Dyne as well. He had “definite ideas” of who should portray that character. Reed said the alternate title Wasp and the Ant-Man was briefly considered, but was not chosen due to fan expectation given the comics history of the phrase “Ant-Man and the Wasp”. That month, Adam McKay, one of the writers of Ant-Man, expressed interest in returning to write the film, and Douglas confirmed that he was in talks to return as well.
Reed stated in early December that the film may “call back” to the heist film genre and tone of Ant-Man, but that Ant-Man and the Wasp would “have an entirely different genre template”. He hoped to incorporate additional flashback sequences in the film, as well as explore Pym’s various identities from the comics and his psychology. Reed also said he was “excited” about exploring and discovering the film version of the Ant-Man and Wasp relationship that is “a romantic partnership and a heroic partnership” in the comics, a “different dynamic than we’ve seen in the rest of the [MCU], an actual partnership.” Additionally, Reed mentioned that pre-production would “probably” start in October 2016, with filming scheduled for early 2017. Production writers for the first film, Gabriel Ferrari and Andrew Barrer, signed on to write the script along with Rudd, with writing starting “in earnest” in January 2016. The next month, McKay stated that he would be involved with the film in some capacity. By April, the four writers and Reed had been “holed up in a room … brainstorming the story”, with Reed promising that it would have “stuff in it that you’ve never ever seen in a movie before”. Feige added that they wanted to “stay true to what made [Ant-Man] so unique and different”, and teased the potential of seeing the Giant-Man version of Lang that had been introduced in Captain America: Civil War (2016). Despite being “intimately involved in the writing and the development of the script”, Reed did not take or receive a writing credit on the film.
In June 2016, Reed said that for inspiration from the comics he had been looking at “early Avengers stuff and all the way up to the Nick Spencer stuff now”, and was focusing on iconic images that could be replicated in the film over story beats from the comics. He added that there was “definitely a chance” for Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, and Dastmalchian to reprise their respective roles as Luis, Dave, and Kurt from the first film. At San Diego Comic-Con 2016, Feige stated that Reed and Rudd were still working on the script, and that filming was now expected to begin in June 2017. Rudd elaborated that they had “turned in a treatment, but it’s so preliminary. We’ll see. We have an idea of what it might look like, but it could change a lot from where we’re at now.” The next month, Peña was confirmed to be returning as Luis, while filming was revealed to be taking place in Atlanta, Georgia. In early October, an initial script had been completed for the film that was awaiting approval from Marvel. Reed later revealed that early drafts of the script included a cameo appearance from Captain America, appearing during Luis’ flashback sequences as he was recapping Lang’s involvement in the airport battle in Captain America: Civil War. However, the writers chose to remove the appearance in the final script since the events of Civil War were already referenced frequently in the film, and this instance “didn’t feel organic to the story.”
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant-Man:
A former petty criminal who acquired a suit that allows him to shrink or grow in scale while also increasing in strength. Following the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), in which Lang escapes from the Raft prison, director Peyton Reed said that “he’s a fugitive in most of the first Ant-Man (2015) movie. He’s just a bigger fugitive now.” Rudd was interested in Lang being a regular person rather than “innately heroic or super”, and to be driven by his desire to be a responsible parent.
Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne / Wasp:
The daughter of Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne who is handed down a similar suit and the Wasp mantle from her mother. The writers were excited to be able to give the character a proper introduction as the Wasp, showing her “power set, how she fights, and what are the injustices that matter to her”. Lilly felt the character receives “incredible satisfaction” from becoming the Wasp, “something that she has been waiting for her whole life, which is essentially an affirmation from her father.” Her relationship with Lang is more complicated than in the first film, and includes anger towards his actions during Captain America: Civil War. Lilly felt it was important that Hope “be an extremely empathetic and compassionate person” and that she should “always push for feminine qualities to be apparent when she is dealing with situations.” In her fight sequences, Lilly wanted to move away from the more masculine Muay Thai and MMA-style of fighting that she had learned for the first film, noting that Hope moves differently from a man, so her fights should have “elegance, grace and femininity” with “a signature style” young girls could enjoy and emulate. Lilly worked with the writers to help ensure that Hope was able to “represent a modern woman” without becoming the stereotype of a motherly figure. Madeleine McGraw portrays a young Hope van Dyne.
Michael Peña as Luis:
Lang’s former cellmate and a member of his X-Con Security crew. There was less opportunity for Peña to improvise compared to the first film, where he and Rudd were still developing the character during filming. The creative team wanted to feature another scene of Luis “riffing a long story” as he did in the first film, but did not want to repeat themselves; they were able to take a different approach by giving the character truth serum in a scene for this film.
Walton Goggins as Sonny Burch: A “low-level criminal-type” who wants Pym’s technology to sell on the black market.
Hannah John-Kamen as Ava Starr / Ghost:
A woman with molecular instability, who can phase through objects; she is only considered a “villain” because her attempts at survival clash with the heroes’ goals. The character is traditionally portrayed as male in the comics, but the creative team believed that the character’s gender was irrelevant, and felt that casting a woman would be more interesting. It also allowed them to continue the fathers-and-daughters theme that embraced other characters in the film. John-Kamen enjoyed the “blank-slate” situation, which allowed her to make the character her own. Producer Stephen Broussard said that they wanted to cast a lesser-known actress to help maintain the mystery of the character, and John-Kamen “blew us away”. RaeLynn Bratten portrays a young Ava Starr.
David Dastmalchian as Kurt: A member of Lang’s X-Con Security crew. Dastmalchian stated that the character’s last name is Goreshter.
Tip “T.I.” Harris as Dave: A member of Lang’s X-Con Security crew.
Judy Greer as Maggie: Lang’s ex-wife.
Bobby Cannavale as Jim Paxton: A police officer, married to Lang’s ex-wife, Maggie.
Randall Park as Jimmy Woo: An FBI agent and Lang’s parole officer.
Abby Ryder Fortson as Cassie: The daughter of Lang and Maggie.
Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet van Dyne:
Pym’s wife, Hope’s mother, and the original Wasp, who is lost in the Quantum Realm. Pfeiffer was Reed’s dream casting for the role when he was working on the first film and he ensured that he received her input on the character. He noted that the character has spent 30 years in the quantum realm, so there is a question regarding how that has affected her. Producer Kevin Feige explained that the character ages over those 30 years, even though time works differently in the quantum realm, to avoid any “sci-fi weirdness” that could take away from the emotional reunions with Pym and Hope in the film. Michelle Pfeiffer was de-aged to portray young Janet van Dyne, with Hayley Lovitt acting as a reference double. Lovitt portrayed Janet in the first film, before Pfeiffer became involved with the franchise. Reed explained that Lovitt had been cast for the first film because of her “saucer-like, Michelle Pfeiffer eyes.”
Laurence Fishburne as Bill Foster:
An old friend of Pym, who was once his assistant on Project Goliath. Fishburne approached Marvel about joining the MCU, pitching them a few ideas about whom he could portray, before Marvel offered him the role of Foster in this film. Fishburne had already played Perry White for the DC Extended Universe, but he said that he had always fantasized about being in an MCU film, admitting that he considers himself a “Marvel guy”. Reed likened the rivalry between Foster and Pym to that of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, and wanted an actor who could go “toe-to-toe” with Michael Douglas. Laurence Fishburne was de-aged to portray young Bill Foster, with Langston Fishburne, Laurence’s son, acting as a reference double.
Michael Douglas as Hank Pym:
An entomologist, physicist, and former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, who became the original Ant-Man after discovering the subatomic particles that make the transformation possible. Pym has grown a lot closer to his daughter Hope since the first film, and according to Feige, he has “that joy of fatherhood” in watching her become a superhero in her own right. Reed was attracted to the “morally dubious” decisions Pym sometimes makes. Douglas was de-aged to portray young Hank Pym, with Dax Griffin acting as a reference double, having done so for the first film as well.
July 6, 2018
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