Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man” had a very unusual climactic showdown between the film’s hero, Ant-Man, and villain, Yellowjacket, which largely took place in the bedroom of the former’s daughter. Alternating between their regular sizes and their miniaturized states, the two do battle across the room, hurling everyday objects as if they were shipping containers and generally making a mess of things.
Eventually the two end up on a model train set and, in the confusion, Thomas the Tank Engine is struck with a Pym Particles Disk that causes the train to radically increase in size, sending it flying through a wall and into the street outside. According to the film’s director, Peyton Reed, while the battle is one of the more memorable moments from the movie, Thomas almost didn’t make it on-set and was nearly replaced with a Pixar cameo
“I believe in Edgar [Wright] and Joe Cornish’s original drafts it was a train set,” said Reed in an interview with Film School Rejects. “At some point in the process that predated my involvement it became Thomas. As I came on, they had not secured the rights to Thomas. We had to do this whole thing where we did this presentation for the people who own the rights to Thomas. Thank God they agreed and found it funny, but there were definite stipulations. For example, nobody could be tied to the tracks and run over by Thomas. Thomas couldn’t be doing anything that could be perceived by children as evil Thomas. Thomas had to stay neutral in the battle, which was always our intention. Like anybody, they’re protective of their brand. I didn’t know what we were going to do if we didn’t get the rights to that. There are certain things I was going to be devastated about if we couldn’t have them. Thomas was one, because… you could do any kind of toy train, but the personality of that thing and the eyes moving back and forth give it a whole vibe and took it to another level.”
A year-old post from concept artist Andrew Kim shed a little light on what would have happened if Marvel was not able to secure the rights to the beloved locomotive. Kim posted some example concept art to his ArtStation portfolio that shows Sheriff, the initially distrustful 1949 Mercury Police Cruiser from Pixar’s “Cars” franchise, in place of Thomas, crashing through the exterior wall and landing atop one of his own kind.
Currently available for home release, “Ant-Man” is a production of Marvel Studios directed by Peyton Reed and starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll and Michael Douglas.
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