Ant-Man’s journey to cinematic debut dates back to the 1980s when Stan Lee, the driving force behind the idea suggested a size-changing superhero. However, Marvel, who was a bit indifferent about the concept back then, seriously considered the idea only in 1989. But even then, it took more than two decades for the world to see the size-changing hero on the silver screen, with Paul Rudd portraying the character of Scott Lang in the 2015 movie Ant-Man.
While Ant-Man now stands as a dependable character in the MCU, the journey from the pages of comic books to the big screen wasn’t an easy one. Moreover, throughout the journey, there was one particular instance that caught the attention of fans.
Howard Stern revealed that he had a surprisingly deep interest in portraying Ant-Man
Although it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Paul Rudd portraying the character of Scott Lang, at one point American media personality Howard Stern believed that he was the only one who could ever bring the size-changing superhero to life. During his conversation with Paul Rudd on The Howard Stern Show, Stern revealed that he had expressed interest in making an Ant-Man movie around the year 2000.
A huge fan of the character’s unique abilities, Stern had even met with Marvel to discuss the possibilities.
“I remember I read Iron Man comics my entire life. And Tony Stark was this character. But if I had him actually come to make him alive, it would be a very difficult task for me to envision all that. So, when you get something like Ant-Man who I was convinced I was the only person on the planet (who could do that).”
However, back in 2000, his dream of donning the Ant-Man suit never materialized, probably due to the technological limitations of the time. But looking in hindsight, it seems like it was for the best.
Howard Stern appreciated Paul Rudd for his unexpected decision to play Ant-Man
In around 2003, when Marvel was exploring options to bring lesser-known characters to the big screen, filmmaker Edgar Wright was hooked on the character of Ant-Man. Hence, he along with his writing partner Joe Cornish, developed a pitch that blended comedy, crime, action, and groundbreaking special effects. Unfortunately, since Wright wanted to move towards a darker and edgier approach while Cornish toward a family family-oriented, the script never reached Marvel.
However, Wright’s journey with Ant-Man took an unexpected turn when he met Ari Arad and Kevin Feige at Comic-Con a year later. The Marvel executives were intrigued and eventually invited Wright and Cornish on board, finalizing the first draft in 2008. However, finding the right Ant-Man wasn’t an easy task.
While reacting to Howard Stern’s comments about his interest in taking on the role, Paul Rudd added, “I remember you were trying to get the rights.” However, Stern went ahead and explained why he thought that Rudd’s decision to take up Ant-Man was unexpected. He said,
“I wanted to play Ant-Man. ‘Cause I said Marvel’s just gonna want to unload this on me because no one’s gonna wanna be Ant-Man. Yet you took Ant-Man and made something f*cking great out of it.”
With three movies in the series to date, 2015 Ant-Man, 2018 Ant-Man and the Wasp, and 2023 Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Paul Rudd’s character has garnered love and enduring appeal. With Ant-Man 4 conjectured to be released in 2026-2027, it is evident how the character has established itself as an important superhero in the MCU.