Here's something to grow on, Ant-Man fans: even after the superhero's surprise growth spurt in Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War," filmmaker Peyton Reed promises he's got plenty more tales to astonish for the sequel, "Ant-Man and the Wasp."
When Moviefone caught up with director Reed, who helmed the first installment of the insect-sized superhero's adventures with last year's "Ant-Man," he was about to head into pre-production on the follow-up film, which is slated to hit theaters in July 2018. And, as he reveals, this one's going to dig much deeper into exactly what kind of heroes Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) will become.
Moviefone: What does seeing a new Marvel movie like "Doctor Strange" do for you, creatively? What kind of stuff does it stir up?
Peyton Reed: Well, it's a mixed bag. Because, as a comics fan growing up, to see all these heroes brought to life on the screen in such huge fashion is always exciting. As the director of a movie that's coming like three, four, five movies later, the bar is always raised, and it's great. It's a challenge.
Because they're always making technical breakthroughs, and also just story breakthroughs, one of the great things about Marvel is you want to do movies that are doing something different and not treading on what the other movies are doing. So it's always exciting because they manage to top themselves.
Where are you in your creative efforts for the next one? Have you broken your story?
We're in the writing phase right now and we start official prep this month. So it's sort of long-lead prep, but we're starting to get into all of the visual development stuff, and it's really exciting.
Tell me about how Paul Rudd adds his voice in this early startup process, because he is so much of what makes Ant-Man Ant-Man.
Well, he is Ant-Man on screen, but he also was one of the screenwriters on the first movie, and, for me as a director, that's great because he's so invested in the character, and so he's a part of the writing process on this movie, as well.
And it's great because when you make a movie with someone, it's a very close relationship. So we're going into this movie already having forged that bond, and we're playing with a lot of ideas, and we're coming up with some crazy stuff!
Is your tendency to be like, "OK, let's grab what we can in the Marvel Universe and have some fun with it," or do you want to keep the "Ant-Man" corner of the universe a little more Ant-Man-centric?
No, I think we like our little Ant-Man corner of the universe. Because it's a whole different vibe tonally, but also just in terms of who Scott Lang, who Ant-Man is: he is a guy who is maybe not so sure he wants to be like this Avenger-style, full-on superhero.
He's got a kid, and this is the inner conflict with him, and he's very much just like a normal guy who has come into contact with some incredible power. So, we like that aspect of kind of like it being its own little corner of the universe.
The flipside of that is that we heard that Evangeline Lilly and the Wasp are going to be in "Avengers 4." Tell me about sharing your characters. What's fun about letting one of your heavy-hitters go into somebody else's movie.
Again, that is one of the sort of things where it's a mixed bag. When I first found out -- gosh, I don't know, two years ago, a year-and-a-half ago -- that "Civil War" was going to get the Giant-Man premiere, I was like "No!" But, now, I've since recovered, and we have a lot more in store for Scott Lang in this movie.
We get to see the Wasp debut -- we're all about the Wasp and Ant-Man. So I like it, because we spend a lot of time with our different writers and directors, and there's a lot of crosstalk, and I love that.
Lastly, what do you want to do with the Wasp now that we're in this great moment for female superheroes and you're going to have an opportunity to do something fun and cool with one of the premiere Marvel superheroines -- one of the very first. What are you excited about in collaborating with Evangeline, to carry the Wasp forward?
Well, I'm just personally excited to get to introduce yet another character into the Marvel Universe. After Ant-Man, now we get to see Wasp, so really designing her look, the way she moves, the power set, and figuring out, sort of, who Hope van Dyne is as a hero -- because we know her in a certain context in the first movie, but now she's going to have her coming out party -- that's exciting!