Thursday, August 6, 2015

My Ant-Man One-Shot Proposal

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If you remember from the Weekly MCU Review a couple weeks ago, Peyton Reed and company shot an entire opening sequence for Ant-Man set in the 1980s with Hank Pym as Ant-Man completing a mission.  In the article, Reed said that he liked the footage, but decided against using that opening sequence in the final cut of the movie because it did not fit the tone.  However, he is considering ways to show it.  So here is my proposal for a way that Peyton Reed can put that footage to use:  an Ant-Man prequel One-Shot.

This One-Shot would primarily make use of the footage that they already shot for Ant-Man, but there might be some need for a couple additional scenes to be shot.  Think of this like “The Consultant,” the One-Shot attached to the Thor Blu-Ray:  That one uses several quick shots from The Incredible Hulk, including the “pre-credits scene” with Tony Stark and General Ross, along with a scene of Coulson and Sitwell sitting in a diner cut in with the existing footage.  That would be an extremely easy way to produce a One-Shot, and would not require much additional filming or casting.

Warning:  the rest of this article will contain spoilers from Ant-Man, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, go and watch it!!!

Before putting together a proposal for a One-Shot, we need to figure out what footage is available that would fit in with a Hank-Pym-as-Ant-Man short film.  There are three scenes from Ant-Man that would qualify, along with a few other options:

  • The original opening with Ant-Man in Panama beating up some guys, infiltrating a compound, and stealing some microfilm
  • The final cut opening with Hank Pym quitting S.H.I.E.L.D. in dramatic fashion
  • Cross’ S.H.I.E.L.D. footage of Ant-Man in action (that may have used some footage from the original opening, but I’m pretty sure that original opening is longer, so I’m including both things separately)
  • The flashback scene of Ant-Man and Wasp in action together stopping the Soviet missile
  • Any additional retro-footage which was shot and is not included above (some of which was shown in Ant-Man TV spots/trailers)

They can obviously film additional scenes as needed, but this footage would give a pretty good framework around which to build a short film.

Now the question becomes:  What can they do with all this to make it a cohesive story?

What we have here is essentially three different incidents spread out across Hank Pym’s S.H.I.E.L.D. career.  The first probably happened sometime in the 1980s (Panama), the second is dated to 1987 (the nuke), and the third is stated as 1989 (Hank quitting).  Based on the continuity, costuming, and set design, it would be difficult to work this into a single mission because the nuke was hijacked from a Soviet installation while the other action scenes were set in South America.  For this reason, the simplest option might just be to set the One-Shot as Hank recounting his S.H.I.E.L.D. service to Scott and Hope as a voiceover while the clips play.

However, just because that would be the simplest option does not mean it would be the most fun.  Instead, my idea would be to work all of this into a single extended mission.  That would most likely require shooting a few more scenes, but I think the end result would be worth it.

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The film opens with Hank infiltrating a Soviet installation in Latin America or South America (Cuba?).  He enters the facility, knocks out all the guards, and steals a microfilm from the office.  This scene is cut in with a briefing room scene where Howard Stark is explaining the mission to Hank:

Stark:   The mission is a simple infiltration:  You go in, get the intel we need, and get out.  Havana base will run the operation.  They’ll handle supplies, medical… the works.  And if you run into trouble, they’ll have a STRIKE team at your location in 5 minutes flat.  Any questions?

Hank:  (looks through a folder) So what’s on this microfilm?

Stark:   Unknown, but we suspect it contains Soviet missile codes and locations, troop deployments, you name it.  Will this be a problem?

Hank:  No; should be a piece of cake.

During the fight, the regulator on his suit gets damaged.  As Ant-Man is taking the microfilm and making his escape, the film unrolls partially and Hank reads the first couple lines.

Hank:  Shit.

Base:   What?

Hank:  We’ve got a serious problem here.  Get HQ on the line.  Now.

Stark:   What’s the matter?

Hank:  This microfilm isn’t about Soviet missile codes and locations, or at least not directly.  It’s instructions.  To the base commander.  From the Separatists.  And they want his missile codes.  They’re launching a nuke against the U.S., and it’s happening in two days.

Stark:   Get that to Havana.  We’ll get a team to the missile site tonight, take it out tomorrow, and keep that bird grounded.  Good work, Ant-Man.

The scene then cuts to the next day, with Pym on the phone with Howard Stark, who informs him that the STRIKE team was unable to infiltrate the compound in time and the missile was launched.  S.H.I.E.L.D. has no way of stopping the missile, but the Council believes that Ant-Man may be able to rendezvous with the missile midflight and disarm it before it makes landfall—which will be in less than 4 hours.  Hank immediately pulls on his suit, shrinks, mounts a carpenter ant, and flies to the S.H.I.E.L.D. airstrip, where a waiting helicopter gives him a ride to the location where he will meet the missile.  As the missile passes, Hank’s ant lands on it.  Hank dismounts, attaches his security line, pulls out a mini blowtorch, and starts trying to cut through (this is essentially where the Wasp flashback fits in).

Hank:  It’s a no-go.  The casing is solid titanium.

Stark:   Is that a problem?

Hank:  Under normal circumstances, no.  But at the moment, getting blown around by the wind, hurtling toward certain doom…?  I couldn’t cut through this in half a day, let alone half an hour in these conditions.  I’ll keep trying, but it’s not going to work.

Stark:  Stay tight, Hank.  We just sent you some backup.  Maybe she can help you stop that thing.

Hank:  “She”?  You don’t mean…

Stark:   I do.  And before you say anything, it wasn’t my idea.  She insisted on coming.

Wasp meets the missile just as it is entering New York Harbor and hooks herself to the missile.

Hank:  Jan!  Get out of here!  This thing’s going to hit in less than 5 minutes!

Janet:   I’m not leaving you!  What do we need to do to stop it?

Hank:  I can’t cut through it, so I’ll have to shrink between the molecules to destroy the guidance chip and force it to break up.  [tries the regulator]  It… it’s not working!  I need your spare!

Janet:   There’s no time!  I’ll do it.  I love you!

Hank:  Jan!

Janet shrinks between the molecules of the missile, destroys it, and causes it to break up.  However, she is lost and can’t return.

After the mission, Hank hangs up his suit and refuses to put it back on again.  Instead, Peggy Carter has him reassigned back to the Science Division, where he spends every day working in the lab and staring into a microscope.  He walks past the memorial wall every day and always stops to look at the star with Janet’s name inscribed in it.  One day Howard tells Hank that he is expected in Russia to receive a posthumous medal awarded to Janet by the Soviets for her sacrifice in stopping the hijacked missile and preventing World War III.  However, on the way out the door Hank stops in the lab, finds the vial of knock-off Pym Particles, and storms directly into the conference room to confront Howard, Peggy, and Carson.  Hank is upset and formally resigns from S.H.I.E.L.D.


So there’s my idea for a One-Shot making use of the footage they’ve already shot, some of which they did not use for Ant-Man.  It would give us a little more background on Hank’s role at S.H.I.E.L.D. along with his reasons for leaving the organization.  Additionally, it would give the Wasp a slightly bigger role than she had in Ant-Man (including a couple lines of dialogue).  They would not have to cast her role permanently for this scene; she could easily be a stuntwoman in a suit with a voiceover.  Then they can actually cast the role for Ant-Man 2 and use her long time in the Quantum Realm to explain the difference in her voice.

This might run a bit long for a One-Shot, but the last three Marvel produced were all right around 15 minutes, and I think they would be able to fit this level of story into 15 minutes or slightly more.

Is this something you would want to see?  How do you think Marvel should use that unused footage?  Do you miss the Marvel One-Shots?

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