Scott Lang (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
|Marvel Cinematic Universe character|
|First appearance||Ant-Man (2015)|
|Full name||Scott Lang|
|Spouse||Maggie Lang (ex-wife)|
|Significant other||Hope van Dyne|
|Children||Cassie Lang (daughter)|
|Origin||San Francisco, California, United States|
Scott Lang is a fictional character portrayed by Paul Rudd in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) media franchise, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name and known commonly by his alias, Ant-Man. He is depicted as a thief-turned-superhero after being granted access to Hank Pym's technology and training. He is recruited by Steve Rogers to join the Avengers. Lang is trapped in the Quantum Realm when Thanos erases half of all life, but escapes and lays the groundwork for using time travel as a means to undo Thanos' actions. Lang and the Avengers succeed in obtaining the Infinity Stones from the past, they undo Thanos' actions and defeat him. Lang then reunites with his girlfriend Hope van Dyne and daughter Cassie.
As of 2022[update], Lang has appeared in four films after being introduced in his titular film Ant-Man (2015) and is set to return in the upcoming film Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023). An alternate version from within the MCU multiverse also appears in the animated series What If...? (2021), with Rudd reprising the role.
Concept, creation and casting
The character of Ant-Man was originally created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby, first appearing in Tales to Astonish #35 (September 1962). The persona was originally the brilliant scientist Hank Pym's superhero alias after inventing a substance that can change size. Pym decided to become a superhero after his first wife was killed by corrupt secret police agents during the Cold War. Hank discovered a chemical substance, which he called Pym Particles, that would allow the user to alter his size. He armed himself with a helmet that could control ants and would shrink down to the size of an insect to become the mystery-solving Ant-Man, solving crimes and stopping criminals. Pym shared his discovery with his new girlfriend Janet van Dyne, who became his crime-fighting partner The Wasp. The duo would become founding members of the Avengers, fighting recurring enemies including Pym's own robotic creation Ultron. Scott Lang was a thief who became Ant-Man after stealing the Ant-Man suit to save his daughter Cassandra "Cassie" Lang from a heart condition. Reforming from his life of crime, Lang soon took on a full-time career as Ant-Man with the encouragement of Hank Pym. He became an affiliate of the Fantastic Four, and later became a full-time member of the Avengers.
In the mid-2000s, Kevin Feige realized that Marvel still owned the rights to the core members of the Avengers, which included Ant-Man. Feige, a self-professed "fanboy", envisioned creating a shared universe just as creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had done with their comic books in the early 1960s. In 2005, Marvel received a $525 million investment from Merrill Lynch, allowing them to independently produce ten films, including Ant-Man. Edgar Wright had begun developing a live-action film based on the Marvel Comics superhero Ant-Man with Joe Cornish in 2006. However, in May 2014, Wright and Marvel Studios issued a joint statement announcing that Wright had exited the movie due to creative differences. According to Wright, he had been hired as writer-director but became unhappy when Marvel wanted to write a new script. In 2017, he said: "The most diplomatic answer is I wanted to make a Marvel movie but I don't think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie ... having written all my other movies, that's a tough thing to move forward. Suddenly becoming a director for hire on it, you're sort of less emotionally invested and you start to wonder why you're there, really."
Wright was replaced by Peyton Reed as director, with Adam McKay and star Paul Rudd rewriting the screenplay. Wright and Cornish received both screenplay and story credits, with Wright also credited as executive producer. Regarding Rudd's casting, producer Kevin Feige said, "Look at that origin of the petty crook who comes into contact with a suit and does his best to make good, and then look at someone like Paul Rudd, who can do slightly unsavory things like break into people's houses and still be charming and who you root for and whose redemption you will find satisfaction in". Director Peyton Reed compared Lang to George Clooney's character Danny Ocean from Ocean's Eleven, saying, "He's a guy trying to create a new life for himself and find redemption". Rudd signed a multi-film contract with Marvel, with Feige saying it was "three [films]-plus-plus to appear in other things".
The character's first onscreen appearance finally came in 2015, with the release of Ant-Man. The film depicts Lang as a former systems engineer at VistaCorp and petty criminal who becomes the successor to Hank Pym as Ant-Man, when Pym allows him to acquire a suit that allows him to shrink in size but increase in strength. Lang then undertakes the journey of a petty criminal becoming a hero by fighting Darren Cross / Yellowjacket.
In Captain America: Civil War, Lang is recruited to fight alongside Captain America's team of the Avengers, against Iron Man's faction of the Avengers and the Sokovia Accords. During the ensuing battle, he reveals that not only can he shrink using the Pym Particles, but he can also grow to giant-sized proportions, although doing so puts great stress on his body. Ant-Man director Peyton Reed had discussed the character and the way that the Ant-Man production had shot certain sequences with the Russo brothers, saying, "As we were doing [Ant-Man] and we were in post and they were getting ready to head out to Atlanta to do Civil War, we had a lot of conversations ... It's important because there's this continuity that has to happen in this universe". On the decision to have Lang grow in size to become Giant-Man in the airport battle, Feige said, "It was just a great idea to turn the tide of the battle in a huge, shocking, unexpected way. We have a lot of ideas for [Ant-Man and the Wasp], none of which are contingent upon revealing Giant-Man, so we thought this would be the fun, unbelievable unexpected way to do that". Anthony Russo added that the transformation was the continuation of Lang's character arc from Ant-Man, saying "He's just really impressed with Captain America, he just wants to deliver and he figures out a way to deliver where he might actually tear himself in half but he's willing to do it and it works". At the beginning of Spider-Man: Homecoming, it is shown that Peter Parker shot video of the Berlin Airport fight, including a glimpse of Ant-Man in his giant form from a different angle.
Rudd next reprised his role as Ant-Man in Ant-Man and the Wasp. In April 2017, director Peyton Reed stated that Scott Lang / Ant-Man also features his other moniker of Giant-Man, first introduced in Captain America: Civil War, with a new tech-suit. Following the events at the end of Captain America: Civil War, in which Lang escapes from the Raft prison, director Peyton Reed said that "he's a fugitive in most of the first Ant-Man movie. He's just a bigger fugitive now". In the film, Lang is under house arrest for the surveillance of agent Jimmy Woo after the events of Captain America: Civil War. He is released at the hands of Hope van Dyne / Wasp, who has a relationship with him, to help Dr. Pym in creating a bridge to the quantum realm to find Janet van Dyne, and faces the criminal Sonny Burch and the villain Ghost at the hands of Bill Foster. Rudd was interested in Lang being a regular person rather than "innately heroic or super", driven by his desire to be a responsible parent. In the post-credits scene, while trying to collect quantum particles from the quantum realm, he is trapped there after Janet, Hank and Hope disappear because of Thanos' actions in Avengers: Infinity War.
Rudd reprised his role in Avengers: Endgame. In a key scene in the film, in which attempts to send Lang through time instead drastically change his age, Lang is portrayed by twins Bazlo and Loen LeClair as a baby, by Jackson A. Dunn at age 12, and by Lee Moore at age 93. This was Moore's final film before his death in August 2018. Markus McFeely explained that adding Lang helped with implementing time travel into the film, saying, "we had access to him in the second movie, and the fact that he was bringing a whole subset of technology that did have something to do with a different concept of time was like a birthday present".
In the comics, Hank Pym's Ant-Man is a founding member of the Avengers, whereas in the MCU, Pym is initially distrustful of the Avengers, Stark in particular. No iteration of Ant-Man becomes involved with the Avengers in any capacity until Lang teams up with Steve Rogers during the events of Captain America: Civil War, and Lang does not become an official Avenger until the events of Avengers: Endgame. Furthermore, in MCU continuity, Stark and Bruce Banner, rather than Pym, create Ultron.
To get in shape for the role, Rudd worked with trainers and cut alcohol, fried foods, and carbohydrates out of his diet. Rudd stated that in preparation for his role, he "basically didn't eat anything for about a year ... I took the Chris Pratt approach to training for an action movie. Eliminate anything fun for a year and then you can play a hero".
Fictional character biography
Lang graduated from MIT with a degree in engineering, but turned to a life of crime to punish a corporation that had swindled its customers. While in prison, his wife Maggie divorced him and took custody of their daughter, Cassie.[a]
In 2015, Lang is released to parole and moves in with his former cellmate, Luis. He visits Cassie unannounced, and is chastised by Maggie and her fiancé, police detective Paxton, for not providing child support. Unable to hold down a job because of his criminal record, Lang agrees to join Luis and his crew in a burglary. Following a tip, Lang breaks into a house and cracks its safe, only to discover and steal an old motorcycle suit. When he tries it on, he shrinks to the size of an insect. He returns the suit to the house but is arrested and subsequently broken out of jail by the homeowner, Hank Pym.
Pym reveals that he had previously operated as the superhero named Ant-Man and had manipulated Lang into stealing the suit as a test. Pym reveals that he wants Lang to steal the Yellowjacket suit from his former protégé, Darren Cross, who has reverse-engineered Pym's technology. Pym and his daughter Hope van Dyne train Lang to fight, use the Ant-Man suit, and to control ants. Pym reveals that Hope's mother, Janet van Dyne, disappeared into the subatomic Quantum Realm while disabling a Soviet nuclear missile over 30 years prior. Pym warns Lang that he could suffer a similar fate if he overrides his suit's regulator.
Sent to steal a device from the Avengers Compound, Lang briefly fights and defeats Sam Wilson. Lang, along with his crew and a swarm of flying ants, infiltrates Pym Technologies' headquarters as Cross hosts a ceremony at the building to unveil his perfected Yellowjacket suit. Lang and Hope dispatch Hydra agents at the event and detonate explosives, imploding the building. Cross dons the Yellowjacket and takes Cassie hostage to lure Lang into a fight. Lang overrides the regulator and shrinks to subatomic size to penetrate Cross' suit and sabotages it, killing Cross. Lang disappears into the Quantum Realm, but manages to reverse the effects and returns to the macroscopic world. Out of gratitude, Paxton covers for Lang to keep him out of prison.
Recruited by Steve Rogers
In 2016, Lang is recruited by Wilson to help Steve Rogers, who has gone rogue in the wake of the implementation of the Sokovia Accords. Clint Barton and Wanda Maximoff pick Lang up and take him to join the rest of Rogers' team at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany, where they are confronted by Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff, James Rhodes, T'Challa, Peter Parker, and Vision. During the fight, Lang uses his suit to grow to an enormous size, allowing Rogers and Bucky Barnes to escape. Lang is eventually defeated and he, Wilson, Barton, and Maximoff are captured and sent to the Raft floating prison. They are later freed by Rogers, and Lang negotiates a deal with the U.S. government, receiving a term of house arrest.
Working with the Wasp
In 2018, Lang learns he has unknowingly become entangled with Janet van Dyne after he receives an apparent message from her from the Quantum Realm. Lang contacts Pym about Janet, who along with Hope, kidnaps Lang, leaving a decoy so as not to arouse suspicion from FBI agent Jimmy Woo. They work to build a stable tunnel so they can take a vehicle into the Quantum Realm and retrieve her and arrange to buy a part needed for the tunnel from black market dealer Sonny Burch, who realizes the potential profit that can be earned from Pym's research and double-crosses them. Wasp fights off Burch and his men until she is attacked by a quantumly unstable masked woman. Lang tries to help fight off the woman, but she escapes with Pym's lab, which has been shrunk to the size of a suitcase. Pym's estranged former partner Bill Foster helps them locate the lab, where the "Ghost" captures the trio and reveals herself to be Ava Starr. Her father Elihas, another of Hank's former partners, died along with his wife during an experiment that caused Starr's unstable state.
Foster reveals that Starr is dying and in constant pain as a result of her condition, and they plan to cure her using Janet's quantum energy. Believing that this will kill Janet, Pym refuses to help them and escapes with Hope, Lang, and the lab. Opening a stable version of the tunnel, Pym, Hope, and Lang are able to contact Janet, who gives them a precise location to find her but warns that they only have two hours before the unstable nature of the realm separates them. Lang returns home before Woo arrives, while Pym and Hope are arrested by the FBI, allowing Starr to take the lab. Lang breaks Pym and Hope out of custody and they recover the lab with Luis' help. Starr, Burch and his men attack, but Pym and Janet return safely from the Quantum Realm, and Janet voluntarily gifts some of her energy to Starr to temporarily stabilize her. Lang returns home once again, in time for a now suspicious Woo to release him from house arrest.
Later, using a smaller quantum tunnel built in Luis' van, Pym, Janet, Hope, and Lang plan to harvest quantum energy to help Starr remain stable. However, while Lang is in the Quantum Realm, Pym, Janet, and Hope disintegrate due to the Blip, leaving Lang trapped.
In 2023, Lang is released from the Quantum Realm after a rat activates the quantum tunnel and he finds himself in a storage warehouse. He soon learns about the Blip, and rushes to Cassie’s house and finds she is alive. Lang arrives at the Avengers Compound and explains to Rogers and Romanoff that he experienced only five hours within the Quantum Ream, theorizing it could serve as a means of time travel. The trio visit Stark to explain their plan for a "Time Heist" to steal the Infinity Stones from the past and use them to undo the Blip, but Stark refuses. They then meet with Bruce Banner and he agrees to help, however their initial attempts at time travel are unsuccessful.
However, Stark later relents and arrives to assist. Once Thor, Rocket, Nebula, Rhodes, and Barton return to the Avengers Compound, they formulate a plan. Banner, Rogers, Stark, and Lang travel to New York City during Loki's invasion in an alternate 2012, but while Rogers and Banner retrieve the Mind and Time Stones respectively, Stark and Lang's attempt to steal the Space Stone goes awry. Lang returns to the present with Banner, while Stark and Rogers travel to the 1970s and retrieve both the Space Stone and additional Pym Particles. Reuniting in the present, Banner successfully restores the trillions of lost lives. An alternate Thanos and his warship then arrive and attack the Compound. Lang saves Rocket, Banner, and Rhodes from drowning. He then participates in the final battle against Thanos and his army, while reuniting with a restored Hope on the battlefield. Afterwards, Lang along with a restored Pym, a restored Janet, and Hope attend Stark's funeral. He then returns home and spends time with Cassie and Hope.
Sometime later, Lang gave Pym technology to Barton for use with his arrows.
An alternate version of Scott Lang appears in the animated series What If...?, with Rudd reprising his role.
In an alternate 2018, following Janet van Dyne and Hank Pym's return from the Quantum Realm, Lang is attacked by the pair, who have been infected with a zombie quantum virus. Later, Vision finds the zombified Lang and takes him to Camp Lehigh, where he cures him with the Mind Stone; however, Vision is only able to preserve Lang's head in a jar. When a group of survivors arrive at the camp, Lang is aided by the Cloak of Levitation and escapes with Peter Parker and T'Challa to Wakanda.
The consensus of review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reads, "Led by a charming performance from Paul Rudd, Ant-Man offers Marvel thrills on an appropriately smaller scale – albeit not as smoothly as its most successful predecessors." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter remarked, "Although the story dynamics are fundamentally silly and the family stuff, with its parallel father-daughter melodrama, is elemental button-pushing, a good cast led by a winning Paul Rudd puts the nonsense over in reasonably disarming fashion."
For Ant-Man and the Wasp, the critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes reads, "A lighter, brighter superhero movie powered by the effortless charisma of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Ant-Man and The Wasp offers a much-needed MCU palate cleanser." Simon Abrams of RogerEbert.com felt that the film managed to juggle its many subplots while giving Rudd's Lang some decent character development. Peter Travers, writing for Rolling Stone, gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and praised Rudd and Lilly, as did Manohla Dargis at The New York Times, who praised Rudd, and felt Lilly found "her groove" in the film, while Stephanie Zachareck, writing for Time, thought the film had reasonably fun action and stand-out moments between Rudd and Abby Ryder Fortson as daughter Cassie, but felt the focus on Lilly as a better hero than Rudd was "just checking off boxes in the name of gender equality."
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times also praised the cast, especially Rudd and Fortson, while Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post called the film "instantly forgettable" and criticized its plot, but still found the film enjoyable, particularly praising Rudd along with the action and effects.
|2015||Ant-Man||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Summer Movie Star: Male||Nominated|||
|2016||Critics' Choice Awards||Best Actor in an Action Movie||Nominated|||
|Saturn Awards||Best Actor||Nominated|||
|MTV Movie Awards||Best Hero||Nominated|||
|2019||Ant-Man and the Wasp||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Action Movie Actor||Nominated|||
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