Ant-Man director Peyton Reed revealed he is not a fan of the villain from the first film – Darren Cross/Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) – but it inspired a different kind of villain for Ant-Man and the Wasp. In fact, Reed added that he’s not a fan of several major villains in the MCU.
Following the events of Captain America: Civil War (but set before Avengers: Infinity War), Ant-Man and the Wasp follows Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) while he’s under house arrest after siding against the UN and their superhero-controlling Sokovia Accords. However, despite his better judgement, Lang agrees to reunite with former Ant-Man Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope Pym (Evangeline Lilly) in order to defeat a new threat known as Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), while also embarking on a journey that ultimately reawakens secrets from the past. Now, while the movie is in the process of earning positive reviews prior to its official release, director Peyton Reed opened up about how he’s not entirely satisfied with Yellowjacket, the villain from the first Ant-Man, which he also directed.
While speaking with io9, Reed opened up about how he inherited some great elements from Edgar Wright’s original concept for Ant-Man after Wright left the movie due to creative differences, but also inherited a villain of which he was not a massive fan. Reed explained that Yellowjacket simply felt like a retread of other villains who have already shown up in earlier entries of the MCU – namely Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger (Jeff Bridges) from Iron Man. That said, his lack of enthusiasm toward Yellowjacket ultimately led to Ant-Man and the Wasp including Ghost as its main antagonist, a villain whose abilities are far removed from anything insect-inspired or shrinking-related. He said:
“The villain in that movie felt like a bit of a vestige from the era in which that project was started, [which was] around the time of Iron Man one, where you have an antagonist who has a similar power set [as the hero]. I was hell bent on doing something different.”
Given the quick turnaround for Ant-Man following Wright’s departure, Reed’s creative input was definitely limited. That said, Ant-Man and the Wasp was an opportunity for him to explore new creative terrain without the same kind of outside interference, which ultimately led to characters and elements he felt more comfortable including in the story. The sequel served as a kind of fresh start for Reed in the MCU, despite the fact that he had already directed one of their movies three years prior.
Villains in the MCU have been mostly hit-and-miss over the past 10 years. Some have been accused of feeling pointless (like Thor: The Dark World’s Malekith the Accursed and Guardians of the Galaxy’s Ronan the Accuser), while others have earned high praise for breaking new ground (like Black Panther’s Killmonger and even Thor: Ragnarok’s Grandmaster). That said, even something as massive as the MCU is able to learn from its mistakes, and the latest Phase 3 entry proves that they’re willing to expand their villainous horizons and test out characters that aren’t traditionally “safe bets.”