Marvel has two movies coming out this year, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man! Both are highly anticipated! You probably know that these two films share a universe—the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be exact. The MCU is known for incredibly and seamlessly connecting their various films, TV shows, etc. together! Anything that happens in one film usually carries over, or is acknowledged or hinted at in the next film and so on. So it's safe to say that both Age of Ultron and Ant-Man will have easter-eggs to prior films and even become the subject of a couple of easter-eggs in future MCU presentations.
But since Ant-Man comes out two months after Age of Ultron, there's bound to be some AoU easter-eggs in the film right? Well thing is, from what we've seen in the trailer, it doesn't even look like Ultron's been built yet.
[Note: I've been made aware that Ant-Man looks to take place in San Francisco. I still stand by my theory however, it's possible that Ultron (or an Ultron unit) would have made his way to San Fran during the onslaught. The rest of the theory still stands as well.]
Scott lives in New York City, a place that should be in absolute shambles after Ultron's rampage! Yet in the Ant-Man trailer, it doesn't look that way.
Considering the above scene takes place in or around NYC, shouldn't the buildings behind him be a bit more...not all-together? Granted, the city's blurred and we don't get a lot of good looks of the city in the trailer, but from what we've seen it looks very un-destroyed.
So why is that? Well, though I'm sure there's a more logical reason, I - always the theorist/analyst - prefer to come up with my own more ridiculous ones. I think that Ant-Man will be—a prequel!
Specifically, a prequel to Age of Ultron!
How did I come up with this theory? Well, a couple of reasons.
Obviously one of the reasons is that New York looks to be firmly intact. Ant-Man being a prequel would explain that pretty well. Another reason is that the film is, more or less, taking a lot of its inspiration from the comics, basing it's plot heavily on the origins of Scott Lang in the comic books. And in the comics, Scott works at a pretty notable company—Stark Industries.
I'll talk a bit more about Stark Industries later. But for now, I will say that in the comics, Scott, after being let out of a prison for burglary, gets a job in the design department of Stark Industries. Now I very much doubt that we'll see Tony Stark in this film, but it has been confirmed that we'll see Tony's father, Howard Stark in flashbacks.
What his purpose in the film is has yet to be confirmed, but I believe that his appearance will take us deeper into the life of Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man! See, it's already no secret that Tony Stark doesn't actually build Ultron. Instead, he finds the scraps of the menacing A.I. and tries to fix him up. Anyone who's seen the trailer or even heard of Ultron knows that this doesn't turn out well.
So if Tony didn't create Ultron, then who did?
I, and most likely every other comic book fan is fully expecting the true creator to be Hank Pym! Hank, who invented Ultron in the comics, has for the longest time been a staple part of the Marvel Comic Universe (the other MCU) and a founding member of the Avengers. So it was a bit surprising to see that Marvel decided to make Scott Lang their live-action Ant-Man instead of Pym, who would instead be given a bit of a background role.
Hank acts as Scott's mentor, something the film shares with the comics. But anyone who's seen a Marvel production knows that even the background characters are extremely important to Marvel's plans. Case in point: Peggy Carter going from being a simple love interest for Captain America to getting her own 8-part miniseries on ABC.
So you'd probably be safe to assume that Hank will be a lot more than Scott's life coach in this film. In fact, I think he'll have a huge part in the MCU as a whole! Hank is significantly older than the rest of the Avengers and Scott himself, old enough to have been a young man during S.H.I.E.L.D's start-up, back when they were calling themselves SSR.
Howard Stark was one of the founders of SSR, and is credited for paving the way for modern S.H.I.E.L.D.
S.H.I.E.L.D, among other things, is known for creating "weapons of mass destruction" that they aim to use against anyone they see as a threat to mankind.
If Hank was around when SSR was starting up, I think that Marvel plans to have him become a founder himself. And given his area of expertise, he'd most likely be working very closely to co-founder Howard Stark to make inventions to help mankind. What inventions? Well, weapons, gadgets and oh yeah, superheroes.
That's right, superheroes! I think that Howard and Hank , while thinking of something that could forever keep mankind an earth itself protected, stumbled upon the thought of A.I. technology. So, together, Stark and Pym created the world's very first android and very first superhero; The Human Torch!
The Human Torch
Yes! The Human Torch! Marvel's very first superhero! Back when Marvel was still calling itself Timely Comics, they had only had three heroes: Captain America, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and the aforementioned Human Torch, also known as Jim Hammond.
Now before you say "But Marvel doesn't have the rights to the Human Torch," that's not entirely true. Marvel doesn't have the rights to Johnny Storm and anyone else who has used the Human Torch identity. But, though they share the same name and initial set of powers and abilities, Johnny and Jim are not the same hero. It's true that the name and powers of the original Torch were recycled and re-used for Johnny's character, but the two share no relation or affiliation with each other beyond that. To further prove this, Marvel even sneaked in Human Torch in a scene of Captain America: The First Avenger.
Not only does this show that Marvel indeed still has the rights to the original Torch, but also that he is more or less, a part of the MCU. Whether or not he's a part of their plans is unknown, but I hypothesize that he's a BIG part!
How? Well, as I said, I believe that Hank and Howard worked together to create Human Torch, along with Professor Phineas Horton, the Torch's creator in the comics, in order to assure mankind's safety. The android we saw for a brief moment during Captain America looked a bit unfinished, as if he still had some work that needed to be done on him before he could do his job. This is probably why he's in a display case, being shown to the general public so they can get an early look at the thing that'll be saving old lady's purses from men in ski masks pretty soon.
It also explains why Jim wasn't helping out Cap during the big battle against Hydra, he just simply wasn't finished yet. But after seeing Captain America in action and befriending him, Howard told Hank they needed to work faster. So they quickly worked on finishing their project! Until one day, news broke out that Captain America had "died," killed in action while taking out Red Skull.
Howard was of course saddened by the news of his friend's demise. And that, mixed with the knowledge that Hydra was more than just some angry man with a skin condition, motivated Howard to move even faster with the creation of Jim Hammond.
But Hank, being the more rational thinker of the two, knew that by moving too fast, they wouldn't have enough time to check for any kinks in the A.I., and urged Howard to slow down. But Stark wouldn't listen, he needed the Human Torch to be out there, saving the world as soon as tomorrow before anyone else died in the same way his friend did! So, after painstakingly hard work and determination, Howard and Pym had finally finished the Human Torch! But unfortunately, it was met with...more than unsavory reviews.
As expected when seeing a sentient being literally erupted in flames in front of them, the crowd panicked. Especially when Jim managed to break out of his glass casing. The crowd was in complete panic mode, running around in circles and trying to escape the "monster" in front of them! Now, this actually happens in the comics too, so I'm not just assuming due to his less-than-cheery appearance that the crowd would go wild in the MCU.
Eventually, in the comics, Jim is able to control his flame, gaining the ability to turn it on and of at will. He then goes on to join a team of superheroes known as 'The Invaders,' which consists of himself, Captain America and Namor.
At this point in the comics, the world accepts him as a superhero and grows to stop being afraid of him. But what if, in the MCU, they didn't? Or at least, he didn't believe they did? I think that Jim, now a part of the Invaders, which consists of Namor (who should definitely get his own solo-movie before this) and Hank as Ant-Man in place of Cap (presumed dead), will still feel like the humans hate him.
His doubts will only grow as he encounters both villains (most of which will be human) and people who, after seeing him erupt in flames before their very eyes, will feel intimidated by him. The doubts and fear within him will also be due in part to the fact that he's still not finished yet.
Remember when I said that Hank was worried that rapidly creating Hammond would be unsafe and might cause him to have a few kinks? Well, Hank's suspicions were correct, and there's a huge kink in Torch's A.I! Emotions.
See, as Human Torch is an android, he's been designed to mimic human emotions. But that kink in his system? That kink is that he feels a bit too much, specifically that he feels some emotions stronger than he does others. These emotions are hatred, anger, fear and curiosity, and they're all sparking each other! Jim wants to know why he can't fit in, why everyone fears him. And when he can't get the answers, he becomes angry. So he turns to his creator, or one of them, Hank Pym.
He tells Hank how he's feeling,and Hank decides that the only way to fix him, is to shut him down and continue work on him. Hank promises to turn him back on once everything's ship shape, but that pesky feeling of fear is stirring stronger than ever in Jim's body! He likes life, he doesn't want to go back to being some large husk of lifeless metal. He refuses to let Hank shut him down, but Hank insists that it's for his own good.
This is the last nail in the coffin. The thing that makes Jim snap! His own creator, practically his father, trying to shut him down! Just another human who can't understand how he feels! So he lashes out at Hank and breaks out, going on a rampage!
Hank has no choice but to suit up and take him down—for good. With Jim dead, Hank decides to retire from the android creating business, tossing the A.I's remains. But Howard secretly steals the remains, just in case they ever need to be used again. Now, Howard isn't a bad guy. But it's already apparent that, like S.H.I.E.L.D, he isn't shy when it comes to playing dirty. So it's right up his alley to secretly store Jim's robotic remains at SSR for safekeeping and future reference.
Hank of course doesn't find out about this, because Howard never needs to use it. But though Howard Stark ends up never having to revive the fallen Torch, a different Stark does.
No not that Stark! They're not even related!
Ah, there we go.
Yes, Tony Stark! Tony finds and rebuilds the destroyed Invader, Human Torch. "But wait," you say, "He didn't re-build Human Torch, he rebuilt...wait." Now you're with me!
Jim Hammond IS Ultron! It makes perfect sense, at least in my over-analyzing head! Jim goes on a rampage after thinking that all humans hate him. He decides that, rather than wait for them all to revolt and kill him, he'd destroy them first! So he takes his battle to an unsuspecting world, where his own creator is forced to defeat him! For years he stayed "dead," but the second he was awakened—he remembered it all, further fueling his hatred for the human race!
Not only that, but after re-watching the Age of Ultron trailer for the one millionth time (I may be underestimating), I caught something I never thought of before.
In the trailer, Ultron says:
"Worthy? How could you be worthy? You're all killers. You want to protect the world, but you don't want it to change. There's only one path to peace... your extinction."
He also says:
"You're all puppets, tangled in strings... strings!"
The second quote and the line from the first, "You're all killers," really caught my eye. How could he assume they were killers when he had only just met them? And what does he mean when he says that they're puppets tangled in strings?
I think that when he calls them killers, he's referring to his own personal experience with the human race, how he thought that every human was a killer and that he was afraid they were going to kill him because they considered him a freak. And when he calls them puppets tangled in strings, he's referring to the SSR.
See, since Torch was a member of the Invaders, along with his friend/creator/father-figure, it's possible that Hank confided in him some SSR secrets. It's even possible that, being made with SSR technologies, he was allowed to know all of their secrets, as they trusted him, or that he simply was able to tap into SSR's database since it's likely that he was made from the same exact tech.
This means that Ultron knows all of SSR's, and to an extension S.H.I.E.L.D's secrets, and plans on wiping the entire human race out so that the world can finally be in peace. This is were we get back to Stark Industries.
So remember how I said that Scott Lang works for Stark Industries earlier in this super long article (I don't blame you for forgetting)? Well in the Ant-Man trailer, Hank, showing up at prison to speak with a recently released Scott, mentions that he had been watching Scott for quite some time.
But why? Though it's yet to be explained, I think it's because of Scott's job. See, since Hank has been watching Scott, he'd obviously know that Scott has a job in the design department at Stark Industries. Noticing both Scott's thieving expertise and his desire to redeem himself after a life of crime, Hank decides that Scott is his best hope at retrieving Ultron back from Stark Industries.
He enlists Scott's help after Scott manages to steal Hank's Ant-Man suit, something I highly doubt is an easy task. Hank tells Scott that Tony Stark has found something in the wreckage of the battle of New York; something that Hanks needs back so he can destroy it once and for all—Jim Hammond. Now brace yourselves because this is where the"Ant-Man is a prequel" theory kicks in!
By now, Tony has already begun work on Ultron. But suddenly, he gets a surprise visit from a man claiming to be a business partner of his father's, Hank Pym. Hank tells Tony that he knows he has Ultron, possibly because of a built-in security alarm that goes off when Ultron is being tinkered with, and tells him that he is bad news. But Tony, much like his father, believes that Ultron can help save the world. He believes that an Army of Ultron's is the only way to protect the world from any more incoming alien invasions. So he ignores Hank's pleas and continue's on with his work.
Hank, in a desperate effort to prevent the rise of the vengeful Torch, asks Scott to sneak in to his workplace and steal back Ultron. Obviously this fails, possibly forcing Tony to make the same mistake his father did; not check for kinks. Hanks's constant annoyance and interference causes Tony to move faster with production of his Ultron special task force. Knowing he won't have enough time to give every single one of the Ultron units an independent A.I., he gives the original, Ultron Prime, the independent one and makes it so the others just follow his actions. This of course, was another mistake.
Skip ahead to the beginning of Ultron's rampage. Tony feels guilty, not only for indirectly causing this, but also for not listening to Hank Pym when he tried to warn him, several times. Now a vengful Torch is on the loose!
Oh, and you're probably wondering how I can explain Ultron's lack of fire powers. Well that's simple. During the fight with Hank all those years ago, or perhaps during the battle of New York, whatever it was that gave him the ability to combust got broken, leaving him basically just a robot. But once Tony started tinkering with him, he decided to give Ultron an adapting ability so he'd always have the upper hand on his opponent.
So there you have it! My theory for Ultron's MCU origins, Hank and Scott's purpose in the MCU and how Ant-Man is actually a sort-of prequel to Avengers: Age of Ultron; firmly connecting Ant-Man with the rest of the MCU!
Something my theory can't explain however, is why Scott and Hank both seem to be missing from the party during Age of Ultron. But oh well, granted my theory's even a tiny bit correct, that'll all be revealed sooner or later.
Do you agree with my theory? If you don't, please tell me what you think I got wrong, but for the sake of keeping all of this friendly and PG, please prove me wrong in a polite manner :)