Can you imagine Baba Booey as Michael Peña's Luis and Robin Quivers as Evangeline Lilly's The Wasp? It almost happened a long time ago, when King of All Media Howard Stern set out to acquire the rights to Marvel's Ant-Man. The film is a hit, debuting at #1 on the box office charts over the weekend. But things could have been very different for the diminutive hero. And this all happened long before Edgar Wright came aboard, and Iron Man set up the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it today.
The long-standing radio talk show and America's Got Talent host revealed this interesting bit of trivia on the The Howard Stern Show this week. He was in the middle of interview Ant-Man star Paul Rudd when the subject came up. If Howard Stern had of succeeded in getting the rights, we would have seen Ant-Man on the big screen way back in 2000. And today's Ant-Man would be a reboot. About the whole endeavor, Howard Stern had this to say.
"I was a huge Ant-Man [fan]. In fact, I was telling Robin [Quivers] earlier in the morning, about 15 years ago I had a meeting with Marvel. I tried to buy the rights to Ant-Man because I said that's a cool franchise. I really tried, and I met with some of their dudes."
It's hard to imagine what an Ant-Man movie made by Howard Stern would look like. And it isn't known if he imagined himself in the lead role, with the superhero adventure being a comedy. The movie might not have been as outrageous as one might think, though. As HitFix points out, Howard Stern has a long, somewhat unknown history with comic book movies. Director Joel Schumacher was supposed to direct a sequel to the 1997 bomb Batman & Robin, which starred George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell as the dynamic duo. Howard Stern was being sought as villain The Scarecrow. The sequel, titled Batman Triumphant, would have also seen the return of Jack Nicholson as The Joker. Batman & Robin didn't fare well at the box office, and Warner Bros. decided to go in a different direction, as you all well know.
Howard Stern's Ant-Man may have stuck fairly close to the Marvel comic book's lore, as he is a true fan of the material. As of now, he has only made one movie, the hit 1997 biopic Private Parts. But over the years, he has tried to get a number of other projects off the ground. Most noteworthy is his long planned remake of Porky's, which ran into rights disputes. He also set out to make a Sam Kinison biopic, but he lost the rights before the film could get off the ground. He has also long wanted to remake the Ramones classic Rock 'n' Roll High School.
Ant-Man will enjoy its second weekend of release starting this Friday. While considered a hit, it's a modest one for Marvel. It is the studio's lowest opening film since 2008, coming in just slight above The Incredible Hulk. But the movie has been an instant hit with critics and fans alike, and is not expected to drop off too badly as it continues its theatrical run. No sequel has been announced yet, but its stars are signed for multiple movies. Paul Rudd will return as Scott Lang in his Ant-Man suit in next year's Captain America: Civil War. And Evangeline Lilly's Wasp is expected to return sometime after that in an unspecified Marvel Phase 3 movie. What do you think of Howard Stern joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe? It could still happen, in front of or behind-the-scenes.