Despite persistent rumors that Nathan Fillion would play Ant-Man in The Avengers movie, when the cast was introduced Saturday at Comic-Con International, the actor was nowhere to be seen.
That's despite a misunderstood comment on Friday by Joss Whedon that led many fans to believe they'd see the Firefly star don Henry Pym's cybernetic helmet. "Nathan Fillion is Ant-Man," the director said during "The Joss Whedon Experience," adding, "Unfortunately Ant-Man isn't really in the movie." Fillion later clarified on Twitter: "Joss' comment: Funny and very clearly a joke. People hear: Whatever they wanna hear."
"Unfortunately there is no such thing as sarcasm at Comic-Con," Whedon explained to io9.com. "That's why I explained that he's not actually Ant-Man -- although, by the way, I think he would be great -- Ant-Man does not appear in The Avengers. I just like to play with Nathan. And if you ever get a chance to ask him to do his Ant-Man audition, you will not be disappointed."
So the question is, Why isn't Ant-Man in The Avengers? After all, Pym was one of the founders of the team, along with Iron Man, Thor, the Incredible Hulk and the Wasp. He was also one the original members of The Ultimates, the modern reimagining of the Avengers that so prominently featured Samuel L. Jackson cast in the role of Nick Fury.
The answer lies with the script for Edgar Wright's much-discussed Ant-Man movie.
"I talked to [Marvel Studios President] Kevin Feige about that a while back where we just discussed about whether he would be in The Avengers," Wright told Cinema Blend at Comic-Con. "The thing is, the script that I’ve written, you know, whether it’s next or not I don’t know, the chronology of it or the way it works wouldn’t really fit in with what they do. And my film is very much an introduction to that character, and so it wasn’t something where it felt right to introduce him in that film. Maybe if I do the solo Ant-Man film and maybe there’s a later Avengers then they could draft him in later. But it didn’t work with the kind of the angle that we were going to do with the origin that I’d written."
So what about the Wasp, a character whose history with the Avengers extends as far back as Ant-Man's? If she is in The Avengers, she likely won't be played by Eva Longoria, the name most frequently mentioned in online gossip.
"I keep hearing about that," Longoria told SuperHeroHype on Tuesday. "I think it’s an Internet rumor as of now. … I love comics stuff. I do, I think it's fun, but I don't know anything about that character. I don't know who or what that is."
We do know, however, that The Avengers will star Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner and Clark Gregg. The film opens on May 4, 2012.