Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Marvel
  • Movie

And now some big news about little guys …

Michael Douglas has joined Paul Rudd in the cast of Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, and with the announcement Marvel Studios revealed a glimpse at the identity of the incredible shrinking hero.

Within the Marvel Comics realm, there have been various guys to sport the mantle of Ant-Man. When the character debuted in 1962, he was a scientist named Hank Pym who had invented a substance that would allow him to shrink down to tiny proportions, but still pack a full-bodied punch.

Pym was also problematic. He was not the most successful hero, and his frustrations led him to some nasty behavior — particularly a famous moment when he smacked his wife, Janet Van Dyne, who is better known as The Wasp.

As the Ant-Man movie has moved forward through seemingly endless production over the years, many longtime fans have wondered whether Pym could serve as an acceptable hero while still maintaining his darker edges.

Now we know — Pym will be played by Douglas as a supporting character in Wright’s movie, not the lead.

Rudd, who will be taking on the central role, will be portraying a character named Scott Lang — who still has a not-so-heroic backstory, but at least doesn’t have the ugliness of being an abusive spouse in his comic-book backstory.

Lang is a thief who stole Pym’s shrinking suit — which only makes him better at sneaking in and stealing other things of value.

It’s not clear whether we’ll see Pym unleash his temper in the movie, but Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige suggested that the character’s complicated legacy is one reason they sought out the Oscar-winning actor.

“With Hank Pym’s rich history in the Marvel Universe, we knew we needed an actor capable of bringing the weight and stature to the role that the character deserves,” Feige said in a statement. “We felt incredibly relieved when Michael Douglas agreed to step into the part with the charm and fortitude he brings to every character he inhabits, and couldn’t be more excited to see what he will do to bring Hank Pym to life.”

One day after winning a Golden Globe for Behind the Candelabra, Douglas is joining some other storied company. Marvel has recruited a pantheon of older, A-list leading men to their slate of comic book movies, among them Anthony Hopkins as Odin in Thor, Robert Redford in the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin in Iron Man 3.

The announcement does raise one new question: Will we see Douglas turn up as Pym in Avengers: Age of Ultron?

The ominous — and omnivorous — sentient robot in that film originated in the comics as an artificial intelligence program developed by … say it with me, people: scientist Hank Pym.

Ant-Man is set for release July 31, 2015.

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2015 movie
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 115 minutes
  • Peyton Reed