Joss Whedon has been taking heat over the Hank Pym/ Ant-Man issue almost since they first announced ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’ For anyone not in the know about the controversy, here’s what happened. In the comics, Ant-Man is one of the founding members of the Avengers (alongside Wasp, a discussion for another day), but since his movie had been repeatedly pushed back (due to the issues between Edgar Wright, the original director of ‘Ant-Man’ and the studio), Ant-Man did not make it in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in time for ‘The Avengers.’ (which was fine, as I don’t believe Joss Whedon planned on using him anyway, wanting to focus on the other characters first). The real problem is that everyone was sure Hank Pym/ Ant-Man would join the team by the time the sequel came around, but that didn’t happen either. And when they announced the villain of the second ‘Avengers’ movie was going to be Ultron, the Ant-Man fans got even more vocal, as historically, Hank Pym has always been responsible for creating Ultron, with Ultron having a deep hatred for his “father.” And now they were replacing Hank Pym’s plot with Tony Stark, and fans were demanding answers.
Fortunately for us, Joss Whedon opened up about the subject in a recent interview with Empire:
“Of all the heat I’ve ever taken, not having Hank Pym was one of the bigger things. But the fact of the matter was, Edgar [Wright] had him first and by virtue of what Edgar was doing, there was no way for me to use him in this. I also thought it was a bridge too far. Ultron needs to be the brainchild of the Avengers, and in the world of the Avengers and the MCU, Tony Stark is that guy. Banner has elements of that guy – we don’t really think of him as being as irresponsible as Tony Stark, but the motherfucker tested gamma radiation on himself, with really terrible, way-worse-than-Tony-Stark results… It didn’t make sense to introduce a third scientist, a third sciencetician, to do that. It was hard for me, because I grew up on the comics, to dump that, but at the end of the day, it’s a more interesting relationship between Tony and Ultron if Tony was once like, ‘You know what would be a really great idea?’ They’re doing what they always do – which is jump in headfirst, and then go, ‘Sorry, world!’ But you have to make it their responsibility without just making it their fault.”
As always, Whedon does make a lot of sense. This is Hollywood after all, and the movies were not just going to stop and wait for the ‘Ant-Man’ movie to eventually get done. And if anyone deserves a break and can be trusted with a little creative license, it’s Joss Whedon. He’s worked miracles with his characters on the small screen and on the big-screen, and was responsible for the first ‘Avengers’ film and all the fun and excitement that came with it. I trust that he did the best he could in the situation, and potentially, might have even left a door open for purists to see Hank Pym’s hand in Ultron’s inception. With ‘Ant-Man’ coming out a few months after ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ and knowing that Hank Pym will be an older scientist with Scott Lang actually wearing the suit, there’s a chance we’ll see Pym working on system similar to Ultron in the past, designs which Tony Stark will borrow to create Ultron, which would retain the fact that Pym is still in part responsible for the creation of the Villain. See, easy!
In the end, these are fun comic-book movies, and they are a different medium than the source material, and as such the stories within often have to be handled differently. As far as I’m concerned, as long as the essence of the story is there, and the film is well-made, they can change as much as they like.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Let us know in the comments below!