Marvel Studios ANT-MAN AND THE WASP Director Peyton Reed BTS on set. Photo: Ben Rothstein ©Marvel Studios 2018

From the Set: The Shows & Movies That Inspired Ant-Man and The Wasp

It’s no secret that the filmmakers Marvel hires are the same breed of movie and comic book fans as the rest of us. Ant-Man and The Wasp director Peyton Reed has long-standing roots with the character he’s brought to the big screen, but his love for film and the arts stretches to other areas too and those are the things he found himself tapping into for the upcoming sequel. While talking on the set of the upcoming movie last year, Reed revealed the many films that inspired the road ahead for Marvel’s smallest heroes.

“When we first started talking about what Ant-Man and The Wasp would look and feel like and the kind of movie we wanted to make, I definitely started talking about things like After Hours and Midnight Run and these things where there’s a lot of forward momentum.There’s almost a road movie quality to the movie in that way.”

Both After Hours and Midnight Run center on characters with a simple goal that are filed within a small amount of time through the many misadventures that pop up while they attempt to complete their “mission.” In the case of Ant-Man and The Wasp, that mission is finding the previously thought lost forever, Janet van Dyne aka the original wasp. Somehow Hank and Hope are given signal that she may be alive, and since the only person they know that has been to the Quantum Realm and back is Scott Lang, that’s his hook into the story.

For their mission into the Quantum Realm, the cahracters are going to need a new method of getting there. In the first Ant-Man, Scott descends into the Quantum Realm solely from the use of his suit and the regulator on his belt, but for the sequel it gets bigger, which leads to another specific influence from Reed.

“It needed to be something that was not a game time decision and not accidental, but something very, very constructed and purposeful,” Reed teases. “One of the things that I went back and looked at as inspiration was Erwin Allen’s The Time Tunnel…I’m sure I saw it reruns but there was a design for that thing which was literally a tunnel and I liked the idea of amidst all this stuff that there was a physical thing that you could look at. Something that physically sort of without any action happening, you could look at and say ‘Okay, I get a sense of what that thing does.’”

From the Set: The Shows & Movies That Inspired Ant-Man and The Wasp

“I don’t really know if it’s like a genre onto itself but movies that have always been kind of ‘One Bad Night,’” executive producer Stephen Broussard says of their inspirations. “When something just goes terrible and just kind of spirals out of control.”

Broussard cites two more unlikely candidates for the film’s inspiation, the 1999 crime-comedy Go starring Katie Holmes, Jay Mohr, Timothy Olyphant, and Scott Wolf, and Christopher Columbus’ directorial debut Adventures in Babysitting.

“It just kind of feels like it started so simple but then it kind of just goes up and up and up and then you have a character trying to race to put it all back in the box before they get caught kind of thing,” Broussard explains.

With Ant-Man and The Wasp, the film finds Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang under house arrest after the events of Captain America: Civil War which will definintely be referenced because as Michael Douglas says . It’s been two years since he’s even seen Hope or Dr. Pym when they come knocking on his door and enlist him in this folly-filled caper.

“The circumstance of that house arrest kind of gave a great framework for that (kind of movie),” Broussard says.

The colorful characters that will be the foil to the titular heroes are all around them, ranging from Walton Goggins’ huckster criminal Sonny Burch, Scott’s ex-wife’s new husband and police officer Paxton (played again by Bobby Cannavale), and a new villain, Hannah John-Kamen’s Ghost. Not to mention the likes of SHIELD and Scott’s family and friends.

“The first movie really, the tempo was more of a like a heist movie and this wanted to be a little more of like Elmore Leonard vibe,” Reed says. “Where we have villains, but we also have antagonists and we have these road blocks to our heroes getting to where they need to be and getting what they need for this mission. So it felt like this sort of a little more chaotic comedy and action in the movie felt like a good next step for Ant-Man and The Wasp.”

From the Set: The Shows & Movies That Inspired Ant-Man and The Wasp

Reed also adds that, naturally, they look at the original Star Wars movies for further inspiration.

“I also really like when you’re doing a sequel or a next movie where the starting off point is different than when you left (the characters). I know that everyone who’s ever made a second installment of something refers to the Empire Strikes Back as the gold standard, but as a kid I loved that they really leapt ahead. The heroes are somewhere else now and the audience has to kind of catch up to what’s going on and what happened and they’re forwarded in terms of their character, but also in terms of their circumstances and that felt like something we really wanted to do.”

And given the circumstances of Scott Lang’s imprisonment and how he got there, it leaves plenty of fodder for his relationship with Hank and Hope. Dr. Pym made it very clear how he felt about the likes of Tony Stark and The Avengers in the first movie, and to see his technology being used in a fight that is broadcast on YouTube probably wouldn’t sit well with him.

It’s a hefty list that filled in the DNA of Ant-Man and The Wasp, some expected like The Time Tunnel and some from left field like Adventures in Babysitting. One more influence remains though, and that is the namesake for the film’s production code name, “Cherry Blue.” Many of the Marvel films have funny production names, which are chosen just because they make the producers laugh when they think about them (like “Bigfoot” for the first Ant-Man or “Summer of George” for Spider-Man: Homecoming). This one comes from perhaps the last place you’d expect to influence a Marvel movie.

“Cherry Blue is a nod to the Tim and Eric sketch where Dr. Steve Brule’s going to buy a car,” Reed revealed. “That felt like something you’d see with like spray painted on the side of a van. For some reason, it felt appropriate, it felt right for the vibe of our, our movie.”

Ant-Man and The Wasp will fly into theaters on July 6.