After teetering on the cusp of creative disaster, Marvel has finally put its Ant-Man film back on track, but the project – now on its second director – still looks like a bit of a question mark for the blockbuster studio. Luckily we might have some new answers flowing through the rumor mill. According to some new rumors from JoBlo, Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang character will be a petty thief and single dad that steals the Ant-Man technology from Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas. There are also whispers of the identity of the new villain, as the site also alleges that comic book character Darren Cross will be the film’s central antagonist. In the comics, Cross is the founder of Cross Technological Enterprises, a large bio-tech firm that rivals other Marvel universe corporate giants like Stark Industries and Oscorp. Cross will reportedly have a suit similar to Ant-Man’s but more militaristic, and might be played by Corey Stoll or Patrick Wilson. It’s important to note that Cross’ character in the comics takes on a Hulk-like appearance, but the film might not head in that direction, given the current rumors. Cross’ cousin, William Cross, is also a villain named Crossfire in the comics.
While these are all rumors, and should be taken with the appropriately sized grain of salt, we wonder if Ant-Man would benefit from heading in a different direction villain-wise. Darren Cross is only the latest in a long parade of evil businessmen wreaking havoc in the Marvel universe. There’s been Jeff Bridges’ Obadiah Stane in the first Iron Man, Sam Rockwell’s sniveling Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2, and Guy Pierce’s Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3. But even outside of Disney’s output, comic book films are completely stuffed with corporate boogeymen. There’s the enterprising Bolivar Trask in this year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, and yet another rendition of Lex Luthor via Jesse Eisenberg in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The sinister businessman has remained a well used trope in the sprawling Marvel universe, and while it makes sense that Tony Stark would frequently bump heads with other enterprising industrialists, hearing that Ant-Man might also be clashing with big immoral businessmen has us wishing that the film would look for some other antagonists. Ant-Man, whose chief ability is to grow very small and still retain his normal strength, is comic book absurdity at its very finest, and the fact that he can communicate telepathically with ants makes it even more over the top. It feels like the powers that be at Marvel should have something zanier up their sleeves than yet another cutthroat capitalist in a three-piece suit that worships the American dollar. A weird hero should have even weirder rogues to do battle with.
With all that said, there might be more to Darren Cross than meets the eye. Maybe the character does turn into a giant pink Hulk in the film’s climax? We’ll just have to wait and see.