Spoiler warning: the text below will contain spoilers for Ant-Man.
Last summer, when it was announced that Edgar Wright had exited Ant-Man, leaving Marvel little time to find a replacement director before production was set to begin a few weeks later, many fans worried that the film would suffer. We knew there would be script changes, as it was rumored the creative differences that’d been cited by both Marvel and Wright occurred over rewrites on the script that Wright had written alongside Joe Cornish, which led many to worry that Wright’s unique voice would be stripped from the project.
Peyton Reed eventually stepped in to fill Wright’s shoes, while star Paul Rudd brought in director Adam McKay to help him revise the screenplay, which led to plenty of changes along the way. One of those changes we’ve since learned was the role of Hope van Dyne, played by actress Evangeline Lilly.
Lilly revealed that, with the rewrites, Hope became more of a fleshed out character, which was important given that her character was a huge part of the heart of the film.
What really ended up happening with the rewrites is I think she just developed more dimensions and more humanity, became a little bit more relatable, little bit more accessible, a little less of sort of untouchable caricature and more of a human caricature.
But the further development of Hope wasn’t the only change to the screenplay. Now that the film is out, sites are beginning to post parts of their interviews with Reed that contain spoilers. While he’s revealed a few fun bits here and there, two of the most interesting things he has revealed would be the original opening scene to the film as well as the alternate ending.
As you know, the scene begins with a flashback scene that sees Hank Pym confront Howard Stark (John Slattery), who seems to be in the middle of a meeting with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and Mitchell Carson (Martin Donovan) prior to Hank barging in, before turning in his resignation. It’s a vital scene to the film, one that not only introduces viewers to Donovan’s Mitchell Carson, but also helps to set up the rest of the film. However, Reed revealed to Cinemablend that the original scene was very different than the one shown.
It was a standalone sequence, where you really did not see it was Hank Pym. He was retrieving some microfilm from, originally Cuban general and then [due to timeline continuity] a Panamanian general… It was designed in early drafts to be almost like a Bond movie standalone scene in the beginning. It was going to show the powers. You never saw Ant-Man. It almost felt like an Invisible Man sequence, and it’s really, really cool.
He also went on to reveal that they actually did film the original opening, and that there have been discussions about possibly releasing it as a standalone – a one-shot.
We actually ended up shooting that sequence and cut it together and it’s fantastic, but the more we got into editing, it just felt too disconnected to the rest of the movie. It felt like vestige of those earlier drafts, which as a standalone thing was really cool. We actually talked at one point about releasing like a standalone, Hank Pym as Ant-Man. Who knows if that will still happen.
Given that they’ve filmed the scene, and Kevin Feige hasn’t ruled out releasing more one-shots, it’s very possible that we could see this sequence on an upcoming home release. For those that noticed the Amazon listing for the Phase Two boxset, the final item listed as included in the set is a “Top-Secret Bonus Disc”. It’ll more than likely be some time before we learn what that disc will contain, but a one-shot does seem plausible.
It wasn’t only the beginning of the film that ended up undergoing changes along the way. While speaking to the folks over at /Film, Reed also went on to explain that the movie was supposed to end differently.
At the end of the movie he gets away and has these Cross particles, and there was a sequence where Ant-Man has an encounter with him. But then for a couple reasons, it felt like maybe we should leave those particles out there. In that original thing, he took Martin Donovan out and got the particles.
While I’m eager to see the original opening, as it sounds like a fantastic scene, I actually prefer the ending that they settled on for the final cut. It was a perfect ending for a film that managed to weave both humor and heart together with little issue.
Ant-Man is currently playing in movie theaters.