‘Ant-Man’ Star Quits MCU, Won’t Be Back for More Movies

in Marvel

Paul Rudd looking exasperated as Ant-Man

Credit: Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in trouble, and it’s not Thanos or Kang that is the problem. A far bigger issue for the franchise: actors just don’t want to come back for more movies, like the star of the Ant-Man series.

Paul Rudd smirking as Ant-Man
Credit: Marvel Studios

It is no secret that the MCU, once the most dominant film franchise in cinematic history, has been running out of steam. After Robert Downey Jr. announced his new superhero identity in Iron Man (2008), the series has only gotten bigger, more complex, and more self-serious. Audiences have not been responding with the same enthusiasm as they once did, which has inevitably led to dwindling box office receipts and poor reviews. That said, the recent influx of news regarding Captain America: Brave New World (2025) has reignited interest in Julius Onah’s movie, as has this first official look at Star Wars legend Harrison Ford as Red Hulk.

The titanic success of Avengers: Endgame (2019) seems to have put a cap not just on the Iron Man era of the MCU but perhaps on its imperial phase of success. Since then, movies like Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) and The Marvels (2023) have been released to tepid response despite following enormously successful earlier installments of their titular characters, while Disney+ series like Secret Invasion have faced rock-bottom viewership numbers.

Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) in 'Secret Invasion'; Movie Scenes
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: Director Reveals Cancelled ‘Ant-Man’ Project Would Have Been “More Satisfying”

Until recently, the Ant-Man series of films was one of the unexpected bright spots of the franchise. Marvel Studios has been known to make some odd choices in terms of selecting what characters to pull out of the comics, but, as an original Avenger, it was impossible that Ant-Man would not show up at some point. The series’ generally light, humor-filled tone and the charisma of star Paul Rudd has endeared fans to the MCU’s most insectile superhero, at least up until he faced off against Kang (Jonathan Majors) in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023).

Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Credit: Marvel Studios

The third film in the Ant-Man series (directed by Peyton Reed) had an uphill battle even before it was released. As the first entry in Kevin Feige’s Multiverse Saga, it had to introduce Kang the Conqueror as a colossal threat, rejuvenate audiences for a whole new story arc, and keep the tone light. Unfortunately, it ended up as a box office failure that failed to recoup its production budget, which seems to have soured more than one star.

Michael Douglas is one of them. The legendary actor, who has portrayed Hank Pym in all three Ant-Man movies, Endgame, and several episodes of What If…?, is done with the MCU and not afraid to say so. Not only that, but he has been practically begging Marvel Studios just to kill off his character already.

Related: ‘Ant-Man’ Star Abandons MCU for New Rival Movie

Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) in the first Ant-Man movie
Credit: Marvel Studios

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Douglas revealed that he wanted Hank Pym to die in Quantumania, saying, “This actually was my request for the third one. I said I’d like to have a serious [death], with all these great special effects. There’s got to be some fantastic way where I can shrink to an ant size and explode, whatever it is. I want to use all those effects.”

It says a lot that even longtime stars of the MCU are trying to get written out of the franchise. Michael Douglas clarified even further, saying, “But, that was on the last one. Now, I don’t think I’m going to show up.”

Michael Douglas as Hank Pym in the MCU
Credit: Marvel Studios

It is clear that Michael Douglas has about as much interest in showing up alongside Paul Rudd in Ant-Man 4 as audiences did in buying tickets for Quantumania. That’s not a great sign for the future of the MCU.

Do you think the MCU is crashing to a halt? Tell us in the comments below!

View Comments (110)