Ant-Man Isn’t an Avenger, Joss Whedon Explains Why

By February 24, 2015

While 2012’s The Avengers was, in many ways, a transformative comic book movie, a certain sect of comic book fandom felt that it was incomplete to a certain degree. The lineup of characters chosen to appear in the film — Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye — only actually had three characters that were a part of the original Avengers lineup when the team made its comic book debut in 1963’s Avengers #1: Iron Man, Thor, and Hulk. Captain America wouldn’t join the team until Avengers #4, Hawkeye wouldn’t until issue #16, and Black Widow wouldn’t until issue #111, ten years after the team was first introduced.

Cover art to The Avengers #1 (September 1963) by Jack Kirby.

Cover art to The Avengers #1 (September 1963) by Jack Kirby.

Still, two founders of the original comics iteration of the team were conspicuously absent: Jane Van Dyne, aka Wasp, and Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man. Ant-Man’s absence was met with several puzzled fans upon the film’s release, and now that we know he’ll be getting his own movie — albeit with a different, younger version of the character — the director of The Avengers has decided to chime in. In an interview with Empire, Whedon discussed a great many things, but one of them was why Ant-Man isn’t an Avenger. He said,

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 motherf***er 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.

Given what we now know of the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity surrounding Hank Pym and new Ant-Man Scott Lang, it’d have been difficult to reconcile Pym’s appearance as an Avenger and the way that the creative team for the Ant-Man film is handling the characters’ appearances in that film. We also know that Howard Stark will play a role in the new film in associating with Hank Pym, so it should prove interesting to see how the filmmakers ultimately unfold the mythology in their medium.

Whedon’s Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron, opens on May 1st. Ant-Man will follow on July 17th. For more on the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it develops, keep an eye on GeekNation!

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation,, The Huffington Post, and He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.