How ‘Ant-Man’ Star Corey Stoll Rejoined the Franchise in ‘Most Bizarre Way Imaginable’

The baddie from the first "Ant-Man" gets a new (and very weird) lease on life in the latest film. Director Peyton Reed tells IndieWire how it came together.
"Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania"
"Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania"

[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”]

While the primary villain in Peyton Reed’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” hasn’t been a secret for a long time — after all, Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conquerer is set to lord over the Marvel Cinematic Universe for its next two phases — other baddies were kept a touch more secret in the lead-up to the release of the third film in the “Ant-Man” series. And while some trailers hinted at the inclusion of MODOK (the “mechanized organism designed only for killing”) and some fans even sussed out that the murderous floating head might be played by returning star Corey Stoll, the actual arrival of Stoll as MODOK is, well, hard to spoil.

Mostly, it’s very funny, as Reed’s film imagines that, after Stoll’s Yellowjacket was foiled by Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) in the first film, he didn’t actually die — just got sent down to the Quantum Realm, very tiny, and very injured. There, he was rescued by Kang, who turned him into a new spin on MODOK.

And no one was more thrilled by this turn of events than Stoll.

“In the first movie, when we killed off Yellowjacket, I remember Corey being like, ‘Oh, man, do we have to kill me off? That means I’m never going to be in another thing!’ and I was like, ‘It’s the logical conclusion of the story, but…,'” Reed said in a recent interview with IndieWire. “MODOK has kind of been waiting in the wings. There are a few Marvel movies that have been like, ‘Could we fit MODOK in?’ I figured out an organic way, I felt, to bring him into this story and to also repurpose Corey Stoll’s character, Darren Cross.”

Like other characters in the Marvel world, there are a number of different MODOKs out there. In 2021, Hulu released a single season of the stop-motion animated series “M.O.D.O.K.,” which starred Patton Oswalt as George Tarleton, another Marvel baddie who gets turned into, yes, a giant floating evil head. Other versions of MODOK have been bandied about for Marvel movie inclusion (including in both “Iron Man” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”), but Stoll’s take is the first one to actually appear in an MCU film.

“The day I called Corey to say, ‘Hey, listen, we want to do this thing. Are you familiar with the character MODOK, the mechanized organism designed only for killing?,'” Reed recalled. “The thing you may not know about Corey is that he’s a comics nerd. He immediately knew and started giggling. And I said, “What if Yellowjacket didn’t die and he shrunk down and went to the Quantum Realm and was rescued?’ Throughout that call Corey was giggling. He’s like, ‘I’m in, I’m in, let’s do it!’ He embraced it. Corey just leapt at the chance to not only be resuscitated, but in the most bizarre way imaginable.”


Reuniting with Stoll and finding a way to finally bring MODOK into the movie fold was appealing to Reed, but so was the emotional element of forcing young Cassie Lang (now played by Kathryn Newton) to confront the scary bad guy who tried to kill her all those years ago.

“The idea of sort of ret-conning the origin of MODOK was a big swing we took, and I love it,” Reed said. “I love the idea that Corey gets to play a different version. Also, it really feeds into the trauma of Cassie Lang. This guy came into her bedroom when she was six and tried to kill her, and now she’s 18 and is confronted with a more grotesque version of this same guy. We liked the idea of that being part of the thing that Cassie, as a grown hero now is going to have to contend with.”

A Walt Disney Pictures release, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is now in theaters.

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