This year’s Captain America: Civil War was a massive success with audiences, with some claiming it’s one of the very best the Marvel Cinematic Universe had to offer. The film had a lot of heart and balance for supporting characters despite being a story that was ultimately Captain America-centric. But one of those supporting characters almost played a very different role.
Early Concept Art Shows Ant-Man on Team Iron Man
Recent concept art released by Visual Development Supervisor Andy Park gives us a brief look at Captain America taking on Scott Lang, a.k.a. Ant-Man who had turned into Giant-Man, showing that, at least in the initial development phases, Ant-Man was temporarily on Iron Man's team. Though he was ultimately Team Cap in the film, the story would have turned out very differently had he stayed on Iron Man's team.
With Ant-Man sacrificing himself by staying behind as Giant-Man, he enabled Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes to escape. In doing so, he changed not just the course of the Civil War, but the entire future of the MCU.
Giant-Man Was The Unsung Hero In ‘Captain America: Civil War’
Ant-Man’s role in Captain America: Civil War was certainly LARGER than we anticipated. In fact, Giant-Man’s scene easily stole the show as he played a BIG role in helping Cap’s team escape. Okay, okay, I promise I’m done with the Giant-Man puns!
Though the battle could be viewed as a draw, if it weren’t for Giant-Man’s help, Cap’s team would not have gotten the job done, and Captain America and Winter Soldier would not have escaped. Giant-Man was an unexpected force to be reckoned with as his scene came literally out of nowhere, surprising everyone — including Scott himself. Iron Man’s reaction was hilariously on point when he snarked to his team, “Anybody on our side hiding any shocking or fantastic abilities they’d like to disclose?” The dumbfounded expressions of everyone else showed just how much of a secret weapon Scott Lang truly was.
Scott's loyalty to and respect for Captain America made him willing to potentially literally tear himself in two to help his idol escape. After Scott stayed behind to act as a diversion, Cap and Bucky fled to the hangar and escaped on a Quinjet. After all, that had been the plan all along. Without Giant-Man's HUMONGOUS (okay, I promise, now I'm done) intervention, I think it’s safe to say that Steve and Bucky would have been caught along with the rest of their team and imprisoned in The Raft.
So Basically Ant-Man Saved The Avengers And Probably The Entire World
But because Captain America and Bucky Barnes were able to escape imprisonment, at the end of Captain America: Civil War they orchestrated a jailbreak for the rest of their team, thus forming the black ops Secret Avengers. The original Avengers team was no more, with the other half of the original team, the "official" Avengers led by Tony Stark/Iron Man, reporting directly to the U.N.
Had Ant-Man not allowed Cap and Bucky to escape in the jet, Zemo would have succeeded in his plan. His goal was to tear the Avengers apart, but in the end, he actually made them stronger in a strangely roundabout way. Now, the public face of the Avengers, while under the thumb of the Sokovia Accords, can appease ordinary citizens that they're no longer running around unchecked.
But it's also vitally important that Captain America and his Avengers went underground. Had Ant-Man not intervened and Captain America's team ended up either signing the Accords or imprisoned, it ultimately would have led to further problems down the road, not just for the Avengers, but for all of humanity.
After all, we know a certain someone is knocking on Earth’s door and he's about to bring a lot of pain to our heroes: Thanos. If the Avengers were all locked up and had to abide by the rules of the Sokovia Accords, then the very thing Steve Rogers feared — their hands being tied by bureaucracy and protocol in a time of crisis — would have come true. Half the Avengers would be incarcerated in a remote prison in the middle of the ocean and the other half would be tangled in miles of government red tape. And it's not if Thanos would give them time to get it all sorted before trying to annihilate everything. Captain America's Secret Avengers are deep undercover and answer to nobody, meaning they will have the ability to quickly mobilize not only themselves, but other superheroes who have gone underground during Infinity War.
Ant-Man's Cameo Was More Important Than We Realized At The Time
Narratively, it made sense to have Ant-Man on Captain America’s team. Ant-Man’s screen time wasn’t that long, but his part played a significant role in the story. Though we didn't realize it at the time while we were busy gawking at the unexpected appearance of Giant-Man, Scott Lang's deed left an even bigger impact on the future of the Avengers and the world. With Thanos about to arrive, the world will need its superheroes to be all hands on deck, government-sanctioned and otherwise. Thanks to Ant-Man's playing the role of unsung hero in Civil War, that's now possible.
Who's your unsung hero of the MCU? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below!