Now, for all that we may collectively love #MarvelStudios' cinematic output for its straightforwardly entertaining blend of action and humor (or, alternatively, for the chance to look at Chris Evans for two hours straight), there's certainly some truth to the idea that its the meta-franchise's #EasterEggs that keep drawing us back for repeat viewings. After all, while we may already know that Cap's going to get out of whatever scrape he's in, that third viewing might just reveal a cunningly hidden secret that nobody else has yet spotted.
Or, alternatively, it might not, because that particular nod and/or wink may not have made it past the pre-production phase. A perfect case in point?
Marvel's 'Ant-Man' Almost Featured A Surprising Pixar Cameo
Specifically, that one, right there, i.e. the #Cars franchise's Sheriff. Who, it seems, we almost saw burst out from Cassie Pym's bedroom during the final moments of #AntMan — a role that was ultimately played by Thomas the Tank Engine in the final movie. Thanks to the above piece from accomplished conceptual artist Andrew Kim, however, we now know that Thomas wasn't the only toy in line for the role.
How, though, did #Pixar's Sheriff find himself out of a gig? Well, according to an interview with Ant-Man director #PeytonReed from back in 2015, he may never have had all that much of a shot at all. Y'see, as Reed revealed to FilmSchoolRejects, Thomas was always the Plan A:
"I believe in Edgar [Wright] and Joe Cornish’s original drafts it was a train set... At some point in the process that predated my involvement it became Thomas. As I came on, they had not secured the rights to Thomas. We had to do this whole thing where we did this presentation for the people who own the rights to Thomas. Thank God they agreed and found it funny, but there were definite stipulations. For example, nobody could be tied to the tracks and run over by Thomas. Thomas couldn’t be doing anything that could be perceived by children as evil Thomas. Thomas had to stay neutral in the battle, which was always our intention. Like anybody, they’re protective of their brand. I didn’t know what we were going to do if we didn’t get the rights to that. There are certain things I was going to be devastated about if we couldn’t have them. Thomas was one, because… you could do any kind of toy train, but the personality of that thing and the eyes moving back and forth give it a whole vibe and took it to another level."
Sheriff, then, was seemingly just a back-up option — a Plan B just in case the folks who owned the rights to Thomas refused to let him make an appearance in the movie. Which, to be honest, is probably for the best. After all, the gag wouldn't have worked half as well with a toy car, and the whole "both Marvel and Pixar being owned by Disney" thing might have given the whole thing something of a sour, cynical aftertaste.
In the end, then, this might just be one Easter Egg we were better off missing out on. Or, at least, were better off waiting to see in concept art form.
What do you think, though? Would you have preferred to have seen Sheriff turn up in Ant-Man? Let us know below!