Source: Marvel Studios

It was a wonderful night for Marvel’s Ant-Man at the 42nd Annual Saturn Awards. The very best in genre entertainment were being honored by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films and Ant-Man was a nominee six times over. Peyton Reed, who was personally nominated for Best Director, was there to represent his film.

On his way into the Saturn Awards in Burbank last night, I asked Reed what it meant to him for his film to be nominated so many times. Reed was honored and genuinely happy to be there.

It’s great! I have never been to the Saturn Awards, but I’ve always wanted to and now I have a legitimate excuse to be here, so that alone makes it worth it. It’s fantastic. [Ant-Man] is the kind of movie that I wanted to make for a really long time and to finally have the opportunity is great. The fact that people liked it is even better.”

It was definitely nice to be nominated, but even better to win. Ant-Man scored a major victory with the Saturn Award for Best Comic-to-Film Motion Picture. In doing so, Ant-Man joined Iron ManThe AvengersIron Man 3, and Guardians of the Galaxy as Marvel Studios movies that won the Saturn Award for Best Film in their respective categories. When I caught up with Reed after the win, he was very pleased with the company his film is now keeping.

Well that’s pretty nice company to be in. I’m thrilled, man. I’m really thrilled because, again, I’ve always wanted to come to the Saturn Awards, so to be here and actually win something, I’m psyched.

In addition to matching the accomplishments of Marvel’s best films, Ant-Man pulled off an upset over the biggest franchise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Heading into 2015, the favorite in the Comics-to-Film category had to be Avengers: Age of Ultron. It was the sequel to the biggest superhero movie of all time and, in its own right, Age of Ultron wound up being the second biggest superhero movie ever.

It was Ant-Man, however, which the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films thought was best. The Academy chose wisely, as Ant-Man truly is one of Marvel’s best movies and deserves this honor. I could not help but wonder if a win over The Avengers would earn the Ant-Man team some bragging rights in Marvel’s Burbank offices. Reed remained humble and credited his cast.

Oh yeah, we’ll see. I always loved that about Ant-Man anyway that he was sort of a lesser known character and a character that in the real world and also in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, people might have really low expectations of him as a hero and he obviously proves them otherwise. I feel the same about the movie. We had an amazing cast- Paul [Rudd] and Evangeline [Lilly], and Michael Douglas and Michael Peña. You kinda can’t lose with that cast.

With Ant-Man properly recognized, I spoke with Reed about the present and future of its title character, also known as Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). One of the coolest tricks in the Ant-Man playbook is that the character can also become Giant Man. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo got to run that play first in this year’s Captain America: Civil War. Reed admitted to some jealousy, but was very happy with the end result.

Well I was super jealous about a year and change or whenever I knew that that was happening. I was like. ‘Oh my God, they get to do the Giant Man reveal!’ I had a little bit of a professional envy going on. But I’m thrilled! I love the Giant Man stuff in the movie. And so many people saw Civil War, I think it’s gonna be great for us. And Paul [Rudd] is so good. I was actually with Paul today, we’re in the writing phase right now. He’s so good as that character and we have so much more in store for our movie.

L to R: Paul Rudd and Peyton Reed on the set of ANT-MAN — Source: Marvel Studios
L to R: Paul Rudd and Peyton Reed on the set of ANT-MAN
Source: Marvel Studios

The “our movie” Reed was referring to is Ant-Man and the Wasp, the forthcoming sequel to last night’s Saturn Award winner. Reed is back in the director’s chair and I asked him about dealing with Scott Lang being a Raft prison escapee and global fugitive at the end of Civil War. That’s a slightly different place from where audiences saw the character at the end of Ant-Man last summer, but for Reed, that’s all part of the fun.

Well he’s a fugitive in most of the first Ant-Man movie. He’s just a bigger fugitive now. I think that’s one of the fun things and challenges about the Marvel movies for us, for the directors and for the writers, is you do have to sort of consider what happened in the previous movies in terms of your jumping-off point for those characters. It’s something we talked a lot about early on and we definitely have stuff figured out, so there will be some big leaps forward.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is an important film in what will be the 10-year history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe once it’s released in July 2018. With Captain Marvel not due out until March 2019, Ant-Man and the Wasp will be the first Marvel Studios film with a female character in the title. That fact isn’t lost on the director, who’s thrilled to go further with Evangeline Lilly’s eventual Wasp, Hope van Dyne.

It’s something we’re excited about. For me as a comic nerd, I always thought of Ant-Man and Wasp as a team and that’s a lot of what the second movie is really about is how they work together, what their personal and professional relationships are like. To show her finally fully formed in this movie is really exciting. We really get to introduce this character into that universe. I mean we’ve introduced the character, but we haven’t seen her with her full power set and everything, so to me she’s not a supporting character in this movie. It’s every bit as much her movie as it is Scott Lang’s.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is currently being written, so there was no way I could uncover any plot details, but Marvel Studios famously draws from its comic book source material on every film. I asked Reed to tell me, as vaguely as he could, what he’s been looking at for inspiration.

I’m cutting a wide swath on that stuff. I go back to early, early Avengers stuff and all the way up to the Nick Spencer stuff now. I just sort of devour it all. And really in terms of maybe even more than story stuff, just looking at imagery and for me what were iconic images and how we can squeeze those into the movie.

Early Avengers stuff covers a lot of ground, but writer Nick Spencer’s run provides some specific direction. Marvel has never been afraid to pull characters, plot points, or images from recent comics. Spencer’s run started just last year with Ant-Man #1 in January, which went on for a handful of issues before transitioning to The Astonishing Ant-Man #1 as part of a Marvel Comics line-wide relaunch last fall. If you subscribe to Marvel Unlimited, you can read all of Spencer’s run through November of 2015, with more on the way.

Finally, because Reed brought up Michael Peña earlier in our conversation, I had to find out if Luis and the rest of the Antourage had a shot at reappearing in Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Oh there’s definitely a chance! I’d say there’s a fighting chance for that to happen.

Congratulations to Peyton Reed, Marvel Studios, and the entire Ant-Man team on their Saturn Award. Congratulations also go out to Alexandra Byrne (Avengers: Age of Ultron) for her Best Costume Design Saturn Award and the Daredevil team for winning Best New Media Television Series.

Marvel’s Ant-Man is available on Blu-ray and Digital HD. Ant-Man and the Wasp will be in theaters July 6, 2018.