After seeing everything build up into Avengers: Infinity War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe hits another big milestone with its twentieth movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp. Peyton Reed’s sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man (AKA the moment when we just kind of accepted that Marvel could get away with nearly any concept and make it a hit) is in theaters now and acts as both a follow-up to the original and Scott Lang’s misadventures in Captain America: Civil War.
Absent in Infinity War, Ant-Man only got a shout-out as being under house arrest. Now we get to see what that’s all about, taking place a short while before that big blockbuster. Here are some Easter eggs and references from Scott Lang’s Day Off.
Lots of spoilers coming!
THE WASP/JANET VAN DYNE
Clever thing about the movie is that the title has a double-meaning. It’s both about Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne as well as Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne. Janet had a short scene in Ant-Man in full costume in a flashback, but here she’s an actual character. Janet first appeared in Tales to Astonish #44 back in 1963. Much like Hank, Janet was one of the original members of the Avengers and was even the one who came up with the team name at the end of the first issue.
Wasp’s movie death/disappearance is, in retrospect, very similar to Bucky Barnes’ comic book death in the sense that she sacrificed herself and seemingly died to prevent an enemy rocket from killing innocents. Her return has more in common with Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Avengers.
In the story Secret Invasion, Wasp was infected with tainted Pym Particles that turned her into a living bomb. Thor prevented her from causing massive destruction, but she still dispersed into nothingness. Towards the end of Bendis’ run, she was able to communicate with several Avengers and let them know that she was in fact alive and marooned in the Microverse. Hank and the others were then able to rescue her and bring her back to the normal world.
Ghost was introduced in Iron Man #219 (1987) by David Michelinie and Bob Layton. While the appearance and powers are on-point, the comic and movie versions are pretty different. For one, the comic villain is a white male and is obsessed with destroying corporations. His real name has never been revealed, but according to his origin, he was a brilliant programmer who was exploited, manipulated, and almost murdered by his bosses. While mostly a villain, he spent a good amount of time as an anti-hero member of the Thunderbolts.
As far as I know, Ava Starr is a brand new character. Her father, on the other hand, is Egghead. Introduced in Tales to Astonish #28 (1962) by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Larry Lieber, Egghead was your run-of-the-mill mad scientist. But hey, he was a regular thorn in the side of Hank Pym, so that’s something.
Hank Pym’s old friend first showed up in the pages of Avengers #32 (1966) and almost a decade later, he became a superhero. In the movie, he mentions working on something called Project Goliath, based on enlarging people, which is fitting since his hero monikers have included Black Goliath and just plain Goliath. He’s basically most well-known for being the big casualty of the Civil War comic series.
Er, as long as you don’t count Captain America in the aftermath.
FBI agent James Woo has a long history in Marvel Comics. Originally appearing in Yellow Claw #1 (1956) by Al Feldstein and Joe Maneely, Jimmy Woo was an agent out to oppose the Yellow Claw, one of your usual “yellow peril” racist comic villains of that era. He was later turned into a SHIELD agent and had a role in a task force put together to stop Godzilla back when said monster had its own Marvel series.
Woo is mostly known for leading the Agents of Atlas, a team of obscure and forgotten comic characters from the 1950s. Originally, it was a one-off story from the What If series back in the 70s, but the concept was brought into canon in the mid-00s. Listen, if dorky SHIELD agent Phil Coulson can get a TV spinoff, I think dorky FBI agent James Woo can get an Agents of Atlas spinoff. The world is ready for Gorilla Man and his robot buddy.
Even though this is Woo’s first actual MCU appearance, he did get namedropped on Agents of SHIELD as being a contact on Melinda May’s cell.
Much like Ghost, Burch is another Iron Man villain being repurposed for Ant-Man. In the comics, Burch was only around for a single storyline back in 2003-2004. Introduced in Iron Man #73 by John Jackson Miller, Jorge Lucas, and Phillip Tan, Burch had more in common with the film version of Justin Hammer than his own movie counterpart. Burch was a businessman who exploited a legal loophole that gave him ownership of some older Stark armor tech. Caring more for profits than regulations and quality, he tried to exploit this technology and it became publicly disastrous. He ended up shooting himself rather than face charges.
Although he didn’t get much screentime, the FBI agent contacted by Burch and given the tip to catch Hank and Hope is a supervillain in the comics. With the villain name Centurion, he debuted in Black Goliath #4 (1976) by Chris Claremont, Rick Buckler, and Don Heck. Even though he first showed up in Bill Foster’s comic, he ended up being more of a Ms. Marvel villain.
– Scott’s daughter Cassie early on remarks, “I wish we could shrink for real.” Much like with Bucky Barnes wielding the shield and Jim Rhodes cracking wise at the silver Iron Man armor, this sounds like foreshadowing. Teenage Cassie followed in her father’s footsteps in the comics as Stature, a member of the Young Avengers. With the rumors of Cassie being a teenager in Avengers 4, we’ll see if there’s more to this quote than meets the eye.
– While being kidnapped, Scott is watching Animal House (1978). More specifically, he’s watching a scene where Pintlo (Tom Hulce) and Dave Jennings (Donald Sutherland) have a pot-fueled discussion about how there are galaxies within atoms.
– Kurt talks up Baba Yaga, a bogeywoman of Russian folklore. She has at least made some appearances in Marvel Comics, usually in relation to Captain Britain.
– Luis makes a strained reference to the Budweiser “Wassap” commercials which aired…in 1999. Almost 20 years ago. Oh my God. Why am I just now recognizing these gray hairs?
– When Bill Foster notices a bunch of ants crawling through the lab, he lets out a hammy, “It’s them!” At first glance, this might seem like a basic line, but it’s almost definitely a subtle joke reference to Them!, the 1954 movie about giant ants. The same film is being watched by Scott, Hope, and Cassie at the end of the movie.
– According to his cameo, Stan Lee apparently did a lot of acid back in the 60s. Sounds about right.
– The mid-credits scene takes place during the final moments of Avengers: Infinity War after Thanos snapped his fingers. While Scott survives, Hank, Janet, and Hope aren’t so lucky. Even alive, Scott is stranded and the post-credits stinger adds a question mark to, “Ant-Man and the Wasp will return.”
Any other references you noticed? Sound off in the comments!
Gavin Jasper is going to be a good boy for the rest of this year and then ask Santa for an Agents of Atlas movie. Follow Gavin on Twitter!