Marvel already have sequels planned for their big four franchises; Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2 and The Avengers 2 (sorry, Hulk), but they have two slots available for all-new properties.
Ant Man has long been considered the front-runner, as Scott Pilgrim's Edgar Wright and Attack the Block's Joe Cornish have been developing a script for the character since before the release of the first Iron Man movie, as far back as 2006! As the profile of both writers rises, and Marvel's movie universe has finally built a solid foundation, the likelihood of an Ant Man movie gets stronger by the day.
Bleeding Cool offers some more evidence that Marvel are getting closer to bringing Ant Man to the big screen, with a report that Gosh Comics, in central London, has received an unusual number of requests for Ant Man comics. Any issues in any condition. Why is this piddling detail worthy of note? Gosh Comics is slap dab in the middle of all the major movie studio offices in the city. It's a very convenient location for any production in dire need of some research materials.
Bleeding Cool reports:
"Each time the individuals have been asked if it’s for the Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish film and they jump back, spooked, asking how they could possibly know…"
One specific request stood out, a mystery buyer asked for any issues dealing with the "echo time locator" from "the old series". This meant almost nothing to me and, apparently, it has left every other geek site on the net stumped. I know "echolocation" is how Daredevil navigates himself but that has no relation to Ant Man (since ants don't use sonar to communicate).
This nugget of info offers almost no clues about the possible story or villain for the film, since Ant Man lacks a substantial rogues gallery (seriously, this guy is one of his regular foes, that's how bad it is). The only name that really sprung to mind when considering the "time" factor was Kang the Conqueror, a time-travelling tyrant, a frequent Avengers villain who has tangled with Ant Man a few times.
It can't be Kang. He's an Avengers-sequel scaled threat, so consider this a desperate attempt to rationalise a nonsensical clue. It seems like a case of crossed wires from a non-comics reader sent on an errand for the office but I will be sure to do some extensive research to see if I can make sense of this.
Buying comics for research (even ones that seemingly don't exist) is hardly ground quaking news but given that Ant Man is almost an inevitability at this point, it's enough.
Next: The mystery of which Marvel property will be the second untitled film in the line-up may have become a little clearer.
Earlier this week, Marvel Comics filed eleven new trademark applications for Guardians of the Galaxy.
The series follows a team of intergalactic heroes, formed to protect the cosmos from great evil. The cast is varied and colourful, offering Marvel a lot of merchandising potential, which they may be taking full advantage of; if Bleeding Cool are to be believed.
Marvel have apparently filed for trademarks for the following classes: Computer games, fabrics, foods, paper goods, entertainment and internet services, retail store services and even jewelery, beverages, furniture and cosmetics. You may well be celebrating the Summer 2014 release of Guardians of the Galaxy on your Star-Lord futon while sipping on a Diet Rocket Raccoon. What a world we live in.
Marvel shoring up their merchandising possibilities is a major sign that this could be their next big movie (Note: A new comic book series is also on the horizon, but it seems unlikely these trademarks acquisitions are for the sake of the comic, more likely the comic is being published to tie-in with a movie) and, if this is the case, that would indicate Thanos is definitively the Big Bad of The Avengers 2. So much for my Ultron theory!
Ten years ago, I would have laughed at the idea of an Ant Man or Guardians of the Galaxy movie (they're C-list title, at best) but once Iron Man (once a B-lister) became a mega-blockbuster and audiences actually responded to Thor's broad weirdness, it was clear the climate had changed. Audiences will accept anything and Hollywood can confidently delve into the weirder corners of mainstream superheroics.
Bring it on, I say.