Back in September, I had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta to visit the set of Marvel Studio’s highly anticipated upcoming picture, Ant-Man and The Wasp. I got to interview the actors, visit some of the sets, see an actual scene being filmed, and yes, in case you’re wondering, breathe the same air as Paul Rudd. <insert fangirl screams here!!!>
Here are some facts I learned while visiting the set of the film:
1. Ant-Man and the Wasp is very much a stand-alone story, separate from Avengers: Infinity War.
Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place post-Captain America: Civil War. Our protagonist Scott (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest as a result of the events in Civil War and hasn’t been in contact with Hank or Hope (Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly, respectively). As one might expect, there is tension between the trio over Scott collaborating with the Avengers. However, a big mission finds the group coming together again to unlock secrets from the past.
2. Expect Hope to take the spotlight.
In Ant-Man, Hope played more of a supporting role to Scott. In Ant-Man and The Wasp, Hope expands her role to be Ant-Man’s direct partner in crime-fighting and also takes on the iconic Wasp nomenclature, originally donned by her mother. As Lilly explained, “There is an incredible sense of satisfaction in Hope. She’s finally achieved something that she has been waiting for her whole life, which is essentially an affirmation from her father in the form of this suit.”
3. The costume team made over 50 suits during the production of the film!
And the number has probably increased since our set visit! Why so many suits? Costume Designer Ivo Coveney cites repairs as the leading culprit. “We’ll make a suit for Paul and then after a couple of weeks, that starts to stretch and give and it will start to become a stunt suit.” Stunt suits are good for stunt work, but not as good for the close-up shots, which means a new hero suit needs to be made each time due to the wear and tear. Imagine this process repeating itself for the other suit-wearing characters in the film and you can easily see how the numbers add up fast!
4. Pym Lab is going to be epic!
I had a chance to visit the set of the lab and it was very big … and very cool! The lab looks non-descript on the outside, kind of like your standard corporate office building. But, one of its super unique features is its ability to shrink and grow. We also got to see a mini model of the lab—it was so adorable!
One of the most interesting features of the lab is the oversized items that help make-up its infrastructure. Items of note included oversized Lego pieces as floorboards, giant erector set pieces as additional structuring, and oversized bread tags. The use for the bread tags was unclear, but I was delighted by them.
5. We’ll get introduced to the Quantum Gateway.
The centerpiece of the Pym Lab was a large portal called the quantum gateway. Hank built this portal to try to reconnect with his wife in the quantum realm. It is a particle accelerator, plus “so much more,” teased production designer Shepherd Frankel. Next to the quantum gateway was the Quantum Realm vehicle, a circular pod that has a vaguely helicopter-esque design that helps the characters go to and from the Quantum Realm.
6. We’ll explore more of the Quantum Realm.
In Ant-Man, we learned that Janet Van Dyne, Hank’s wife and the original Wasp, sacrificed herself into the Quantum Realm to stop a Soviet missile and was long thought to be dead. However, Scott’s ability to return back from the Quantum Realm opens up new questions as to Janet’s potential survival. While the filmmakers were a bit coy on what this realm holds, director Peyton Reed had this little tidbit to share. “In the first movie, Scott goes down [into the realm in] ... freefall. In this movie, it needed to be something that was not accidental, but very constructed and purposeful.”
7. We’ll meet new characters!
First on the list is Bill Foster, a former colleague of Hank’s played by legendary actor Laurence Fishburne. Foster used to work closely with Hank in S.H.I.E.L.D., but stepped away to teach quantum physics at Berkeley. Needless to say, there’s a bit of a rivalry between the two characters. “Foster is someone who’s actually going to go toe to toe with Hank in terms of who’s the smartest guy in the room,” added Reed.
Next up is Janet Van Dyne, Hank’s wife and the original Wasp, played by Michelle Pfeiffer. While filming with Michelle hadn’t officially started at the time of our set visit, Evangeline Lilly was very much looking forward to working with Michelle. “Michelle Pfeiffer is an incredible actress and consummate in all ways. But this is a superhero movie … and to a certain extent that means the chance to live out all of your geek fantasies. And having Michelle Pfeiffer as my mom was kind of one of my geek fantasies.”
Last but not least of note is Ghost, played by Hannah John-Kamen. The filmmakers were very coy on this character’s role, but here’s what we do know: 1) The character is from the comics, 2) The character is male in the comics, but is being switched to female for the film version, and 3) The character is the story’s antagonist.
8. We’ll reunite with old favorites!
Those seeking that classic comedic relief will be happy to know that Luis, Kurt, and Dave (played by Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, and T.I.) are back! Together with Scott, the gang has started Ex-Con Home Security. “Who better to protect your house than ex-convicts?” joked producer Stephen Broussard.
9. Paul Rudd’s kids are excited that their dad is Ant-Man!
When Paul Rudd first told his son that he was going to be Ant-Man, his son was not impressed and reportedly said, “Wow. I can't wait to see how stupid that'll be." However, Paul was happy to share that for the sequel, both kids were very much more on board. “My daughter, who is 7, all she does is draw pictures of Ant-Man,” said Rudd. Rudd’s son is less enthusiastic but still thinks it’s “pretty cool.”
Feeling excited about Ant-Man and The Wasp? So are we! Pre-order your tickets for the film now and we’ll see you at the theatres on July 6!