So where do you even begin tackling a project that’s supposed to both continue the journey of Scott Lang and all his cohorts and also kick off the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Are there certain mandates from Marvel that you knew needed to be included? Or did you have relatively free rein when writing the script?
You know, I just tried to focus on writing this movie, and then you can kind of fish-food a couple of things to go forward. I could care less about what phase we’re in. It’s more about just making this fun family adventure comedy with a great villain. I think, at the end of the day, that’s what people want to watch, and if you do your job right, it gets people excited going forward.
Certainly, you want to lay down a few planks or railroad tracks for where you want to go, but it was more important for me to close out the Scott Lang story, leave a door open, but then also launch Kang the Conqueror, and don’t really worry about all the multiverse stuff. Just really get to know this guy as a character and hopefully people want to stick around to see where he goes.
Yeah, the Kang stuff is great. Jonathan Majors’ performance is incredible, and you give him such great dialogue to work with. I loved that clip Marvel played back during D23 when he says, “Have I killed you before?” That’s just a great line. I hope you patted yourself on the back after you wrote that.
Oh, thank you, man. That was the first scene we ever rehearsed, and that was the first time I saw Jonathan perform it. I was so nervous, because I’m a comedy guy. I came from a comedy writing background, and I just didn’t know. I’m like, “Oh man, did I accidentally write really hacky? Is this going to come off like a bad ‘Stargate’ episode or something?” And man, he shows up, and you believe him when he says it. That is a testament to Jonathan. Once I saw that, I realized, “Oh, I think I can go all-in on this guy. I can write him almost like biblical, like slash-fiction. [laughs]
I just love classical super villains. I love Chris Claremont’s Magneto, or I love Heathcliff from “Wuthering Heights.” I love Hector in “The Iliad,” and he’s not a villain, he’s on the wrong side, and you know it’s like a train wreck coming, and you can feel that he knows he has to die, and he kind of gets it. So I just wanted to give some of that sad weariness to Kang and to really differentiate him from Thanos, who’s like a big purple CGI alien. I’m just so glad that [director of photography] Bill Pope, who shot “The Matrix” and “Spider-Man” and “Clueless” — he’s such a great DP. He just stays right on his face, and we just see so much of his expression. And Jonathan, you can’t say enough about the guy, he’s incredible.