A lot of Marvel fans have been disappointed with the fact that Ant-Man and Wasp, two of the original founding members of the Avengers in the comics, were not included in Marvel Studios' first assembly of Avengers in the hit film, nor will they be included in the next film, Avengers: Age of Ultron (as far as we know). Ant-Man will be released as a Phase Three film, which will most likely introduce him, and possibly Wasp, into the third incarnation of the Avengers. Another problem fans have with this is that it is the comics, second Ant-Man, Scott Lang, and not the first Ant-Man, Hank Pym.
But what if Marvel were to produce something completely original as a tribute the first team of Avengers in the comics, which consisted of Iron Man, Hulk, Ant-Man, Wasp, and Thor?
Before we start, this idea is very loosely based on the comics (mainly characters), and be reminded, the Marvel Cinematic Universe should be respectively treated as its own timeline (much like the comics' Earth-616 and the Ultimate universe). Let's say the following idea were to be pitched as a TV series on Netflix (like the upcoming Defenders series), or a tie-in comic book mini-series (like "Fury's Big Week", prelude to Marvel's The Avengers). It is an idea to be able to incorporate Ant-Man and Wasp as founding members of an early concept of a super team, much like the Avengers, in honor of comic book fans.
In 2015, Marvel will be introducing Ant-Man to their Cinematic Universe. Much speculation has surrounded the film since it was announced at San Diego Comic Con a couple years ago, along with the announcement that “The Cornetto Trilogy”, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Spaced director, Edgar Wright would be directing.
It was announced that the film would have two “Ant-Men”, one being the original and older version of Ant-Man, Hank Pym, and the other being his younger beneficiary, Scott Lang. Playing Hank Pym is the legendary Michael Douglas, while the hilarious and talented Paul Rudd will be playing Scott Lang.
Apparently, Michael Douglas’s Ant-Man is rumored to be shown in flashbacks to the 1960s (when the original comics for the Avengers were first published), while Paul Rudd’s story will take place present day. Here is a look at an image of Hank Pym’s (Douglas) costume in the 60s, according to the film.
So it appears that between the first era of Captain America and the modern era of Iron Man, there was indeed another superhero in the MCU. But was Ant-Man the only one? My guess is no. What you are about to read is the proposal for an idea, specifically for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This is an idea for a prequel to The Avengers.
So who else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be bold enough to don their own alter ego as some sort of superhero? Perhaps, it could be someone we’ve already been introduced to…
Howard Stark (played by Dominic Cooper in Captain America: The First Avenger) is the founder and lead mind of Stark Industries. He took a great part of the Super Soldier project during World War II, partially responsible for the creation of Captain America. In fact, after the project, Howard remained friends with Steve Rogers (Captain America) until Steve was apparently dead (though we know he wasn’t).
Afterward, Howard and others found the Tesseract at the bottom of the ocean and retrieved it. Not too long after, SHIELD was founded by Howard and others. We can only assume that the Tesseract was kept and protected by SHIELD, until they could figure out what to do with it. But does that mean that nobody would try to steal it and use it for evil for another 70 years? Seems unlikely.
Let’s say there were a few other baddies who were trying to get their hands on the Tesseract. Baddies who possibly had special gifts, whether they were defective super soldiers, evil scientists, or mut-- Oh yeah, we can’t say the “M” word in this universe. Being as primitive as SHIELD was when it was first created (see the Marvel One-Shot, Agent Carter), it’s safe to say that they didn’t have the technology, skill, or power to defend it all by themselves. So wouldn’t there need to be a special team to not only protect the Tesseract, but the citizens of the world, just in case another World War was about to spark or something? For argument’s sake, let’s say nothing too serious happened until the 1960s. Between the late 40s and 50s, SHIELD was able to take care of things for the most part, with possible help from the Howling Commandos (Dum Dum Dugan, Union Jack, Jim Morita, Gabe Jones, Jacques “Frenchie” Dernier) from Captain America: The First Avenger. By the 60s, SHIELD is now a bigger and better organization, with more facilities and agents, but still no helicarriers. Picture something reminiscent of the Men in Black headquarters in the 60s, as seen in Men in Black 3, in terms of development.
Like his future son, Howard Stark was an ambitious adventurer (one might say a billionaire, genius, playboy, philanthropist). Maybe he had the seemingly crazy idea to assemble a team of special people who could do things no regular human being could. Maybe he assembled a first team of Avengers. Let’s take a look at the people he could have possibly recruited.
Howard Stark (incarnation appeared in Iron Man 2)
First, let’s say Howard Stark appoints himself as the supervisor and leader of this team (kinda like Nick Fury does in The Avengers), but because it’s 15-20 years later, he’s an older and more experienced Howard Stark, who has been co-head of SHIELD for awhile now. He’s the tech-wiz and is a special asset to the group with all of the unique gadgetry he designs for his own use in battle or transportation. He would basically be the team's Iron Man without the suit (not just flat out Tony Stark), if that makes any sense.
Nick Fury (appeared in…a lot of Marvel movies)
Obviously, a Fury in the 60s would need to be portrayed by a younger incarnation. This could be SHIELD agent Nick Fury (not Director). Let’s say he’s in his early to mid twenties. He is still learning, we get to see him as a badass action spy, and he still has both of his eyes. We could even learn how he lost his eye (MCU-wise). Before Howard dies in the future, he appoints Fury as the new director of SHIELD. I think it would be cool to see Fury’s origin in this story.
Joe Fixit/Gray Hulk (no appearances)
BEAR WITH ME ON THIS ONE. The gray-colored Hulk was the first printed version of the Hulk (seen above). Now, technically in the comics, the Gray Hulk is Bruce Banner, who we already know exists present day, and it wouldn’t make any sense for him to be around as the Hulk in the 60s. But what if this was an altogether different Hulk with a different origin. In a story by Peter David, Bruce Banner had different incarnations of the Hulk, depending on his subconscious. The Gray Hulk was a smaller and more intelligent Hulk, and for some reason, he only turned into the Gray Hulk at night. He eventually became part of the mob in Las Vegas as a tough guy enforcer, going by the name Joe Fixit.
Here’s how we could rework his story…
Joe Fixit is a completely separate guy. He has no relation to Bruce Banner. He lives in New York City and is part of the mafia (or maggia, if you want it to be closer to Marvel’s roots, as long as Sony doesn’t already own the rights to the name because of Spider-Man). Fixit is not his real last name. He gets the name from his buddies in the mob because he is known for “fixing” problems with violence, such as collecting payment from those who have borrowed from the mob. With all of the attempted recreations of the super soldier serum, the mob decides to buy one of the brands, black market. Joe volunteers to be injected, being that he is known as a “tough guy”. This is how he turns into the Gray Hulk (though no one ever refers to him as “Gray Hulk” or “Hulk”). Part of the effects of the serum is he only ever changes at night (like in the comics), which works out perfect, because that’s usually the time Joe carries out his “fixing” duties, enabling him to be more intimidating and dangerous. Eventually, for some reason or another, the mob decides Joe is too dangerous to be kept around, fearing that he may one day try and kill or overtake them, so they try to kill him when it’s daytime and he’s in human form. However, Joe survives, and he feels vengeful against the so-called family who betrayed him. Soon, he is picked up by SHIELD and convinced to join Howard’s team as a good guy, as Howard promises that he will get justice against the mob who wronged him. Just like Banner, Joe eventually learns how to control his transformations, allowing him to turn them on or off at any time, day or night. Obviously, this could be more refined, but again, it’s only an idea.
This would be interesting if a Hulk-like person existed before Banner's Hulk, especially, being that this would be the first Hulk, he would be gray, just as he was when he first appeared in the comics.
Hank Pym/Ant-Man (will appear in Ant-Man)
Sticking to original Marvel Comics canon, we could make it so that Hank Pym actually was one of the founding members of the original Avengers. Obviously, this incarnation of Pym would need to be played by someone younger than Michael Douglas, such as the rumored Patrick Wilson.
Janet van Dyne/Wasp (no current appearances)
Those familiar with the comics will know, Janet van Dyne is the wife of Hank Pym. She too has the ability to shrink, but she can also fly, among other things. Notice how we used the original Wasp costume from the 1960s? That’s because recently, it has been rumored that my wife--I mean, Evangeline Lily is in talks with Marvel to appear in the upcoming Ant-Man as Scott Lang’s love interest. Many people are guessing that she will be the Wasp, but will also be the daughter of Hank Pym. Some people are also speculating that her name will be Janet van Dyne. Let me give a quick explanation how this could work with my idea.
Again comic book fans will know that Hank Pym’s marriage to Janet was at one time...physical. Hank hit his wife on one occasion. If I’m not mistaken, spousal abuse wasn’t uncommon in the 60s, so let’s say this: When Hank and Janet first joined the Avengers, they were a young couple. Throughout their time as the original Avengers, Hank and Janet have had marital problems, which eventually lead to Hank hitting Janet. Years later (70s), when the Avengers have retired, Janet becomes pregnant, and they have a daughter that Hank wants to name after his wife. Soon, Janet leaves Hank, in fear that the child will suffer the same abuse that she has. She takes back her maiden name of van Dyne. In the future (around the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron) Hank and Janet’s daughter is all grown up, but Janet dies somehow. Janet (the daughter) has never met her father, so she sets out to find him. Eventually, she does, there’s a whole estranged father-daughter subplot in Ant-Man, and she eventually meets Scott Lang and becomes Wasp (wearing the modern yellow and black costume), joining the Avengers.
So this team would obviously have to be a secret to the world, and not as open and out there as the Avengers. Basically, secret Avengers, but not THE Secret Avengers (Marvel could do that in its future phases). I think this would make a great television series, definitely for something like Netflix, that way you can say and do more, and it won’t be watered down like Agents of SHIELD.
Baron Zemo, HYDRA, Kingpin (Younger version, older version can appear in the upcoming Daredevil series), Hammerhead, Taskmaster, Masters of Evil, Egghead, Boomerang, and many more
Sharon Carter (older), Tony Stark (kid), Obadiah Stane (younger), Arnim Zola, Sgt. Thaddeus Ross (younger), and more
What do you guys think? Would you want to see a prequel to The Avengers? How would you do it? Let me know in the comments!