‘Ant-Man’ has a couple of cameos relating to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe, but its greatest cameo without a doubt comes during the climatic fight scene.
As revealed in the film’s second trailer, British childhood favourite Thomas The Tank Engine makes an appearance in toy-form in a train-set-set set-piece.
Now, director Peyton Reed has revealed how the cameo came about and the conditions he and Marvel had to work under when using another popular property.
“I believe in Edgar [Wright] and Joe Cornish’s original drafts it was a train set,” Reed said during an interview with Film School Rejects. “At some point in the process that pre-dated my involvement it became Thomas.“
This confirms what many had suspected, that the gag was written by the film’s British writers prior to the departure of Wright as director and the arrival of Reed and Adam McKay – who gave the script a final re-write with star Paul Rudd.
“As I came on, they had not secured the rights to Thomas. We had to do this whole thing where we did this presentation for the people who own the rights to Thomas. Thank God they agreed and found it funny, but there were definite stipulations.
“For example, nobody could be tied to the tracks and run over by Thomas. Thomas couldn’t be doing anything that could be perceived by children as evil. Thomas had to stay neutral in the battle, which was always our intention. Like anybody, they’re protective of their brand. I didn’t know what we were going to do if we didn’t get the rights to that.
“There are certain things I was going to be devastated about if we couldn’t have them. Thomas was one, because… you could do any kind of toy train, but the personality of that thing and the eyes moving back and forth give it a whole vibe and took it to another level.”
He’s not wrong. ‘Ant-Man’ has a lot of laughs – its Marvel’s funniest film to date as far as I’m concerned – and the Thomas The Tank Engine reveal got one of the biggest laughs when I saw the film.