The full casting announcement for Captain American: Civil War confirmed the long standing rumours of Paul Rudd and William Hurt appearing in Civil War, with Rudd of course returning as Scott Land and Hurt reprising his role as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, last seen in The Incredible Hulk. But these confirmed castings also lend credibility to a rumour from last year concerning their roles in Civil War, as well as Hurt appearing in Ant-Man. Because it’s an old rumour (before we were around!) it’s worth revisiting in light of this new confirmation.
Spoiler Warning: Possible heavy spoilers for both Ant-Man and Civil War ahead.
Given it’s a superhero movie, we can safely assume that Scott Lang is successful in stopping Darren Cross’s evil plan in Ant-Man (whether or not this involves Cross actually being killed, or perhaps banished permanently to the microverse ready to return in future installments, remains to be seen). Normally, I wouldn’t count out Hank Pym’s character biting it to create some emotional pathos for our characters, but a rumour last year also provides details about a possible post-credit scene involving Pym, as well as how Ant-Man fits within the tapestry of the larger Marvel Universe. Apparently the events of Ant-Man take place in the same time frame as Avengers: Age of Ultron, rather than after it, but the post-credit scene catches us up with the aftermath of Age of Ultron. According to the report, the post credit scene involves General Ross (played by Hurt) reaching out to his old colleague Hank Pym, on behalf of Tony Stark. When Pym asks Ross why Stark needs him, Ross allegedly responds, “Haven’t you seen the news? We’re at war.” Now, this doesn’t quite fit into the end of Age of Ultron – things are relatively peaceful when the credits roll – but perhaps futurist Tony Stark is predicting the Civil War to come, and wants Pym on his side. The report also suggests that Tony is reluctant to use his own technology after the disaster that was Ultron, and so requires the military aid and scientific expertise of Ross and Pym.
The report also features a hint about both Black Widow’s role in Civil War. The report confirms early rumours that Black Widow’s role in Civil War will be a relatively small one, with Widow “arrested for aiding fugitive superhumans in a power play by Stark.” A smaller role for actresses Scarlet Johansson makes a great deal of sense. Not only are there an absurd number of characters appearing in Civil War –there are thirteen returning characters, plus the introduction of Black Panther, Baron Zemo, Everett Ross (likely), and of course Spider-Man – but she also has a nine-month old child and an incredibly busy 2016 lined up. Johansson is scheduled to start shooting Ghost in the Shell in January or February of next year, followed by Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 & Part 2 later that year, which will reportedly film for approximately nine months.
Finally, the report goes on to suggest that Ant-Man may be brought into the Avengers film in a jail break sequence freeing Black Widow. The source suggests this would take place in a future Marvel film, but given Ant-Man’s confirmed appearance in Civil War it seems more likely that this would happen in that film. Captain America recruiting former ne’er-do-well Ant-Man to join The Avengers, only to use him in the service of breaking a prisoner out of jail, seems like a perfect way to bring Scott Lang into the larger Avengers fold.
Of course, it’s worth taking all these rumours with a large grain of salt – Marvel is well known for its constant story revisions, and the source for these rumours was anonymous and seemingly unverified. Still, they all seem relatively plausible, and the confirmation of these characters appearances in future marvel films – long before such casting was announced – lends them credibility.