But there likely isn’t a more controversial element of Ant-Man 3 than Corey Stoll’s MODOK himself. The discourse surrounding the character has been heated, with some fans absolutely loving him and others adamantly hating it.
As for the actor bringing him to life, Stoll firmly believes that the character "works in the context of Darren’s arc.”
His reaction isn’t all too surprising. After all, there were likely many sleepless nights for those at Marvel Studios as they worked to make such an over-the-top character land properly.
MODOK's Design for Ant-Man: Quantumania
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania concept artist Aleksi Briclot shared some new concept art on his Instagram of Corey Stoll’s MODOK in the recent film.
Briclot revealed that one of their earliest designs for MODOK saw the character as “a twisted and fucked up version” of Darren Cross:
“An early concept for MODOK for 'Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania'. A twisted and fucked up version starting from Darren Cross / Yellow Jacket (played by Corey Stoll) having [to] endure the hard and transforming environment that is the quantum realm. Making him a Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing.”
He went on to share how it is “always a challenge to keep the link with the [source material]:”
“Always a challenge to keep the link with the [source material] from the comics and pushing it further while embracing the whole concept of his roots in the movie. At some point some idea about some quantum geysers emerged, aging, deagging, and transforming things. I jumped on the idea and thought about a twisted reconfiguration (was I thinking about the Fly by Cronenberg? Maybe a little bit in the concept...).”
The artist admitted that another of the challenges was “to keep Darren Cross’ likeness hidden to be [a later] reveal:”
While it’s clear some concept art veered far away from its source material, what fans got was insanely accurate—at least on a visual level.
In a way, audiences got two designs: the floating human head and then this more streamlined helmeted look.
Did Marvel Studios Get MODOK Right?
The concept of MODOK as a character is crazy.
Years ago, many would have said a live-action adaptation of any respectable quality would never have been able to pull the villain off.
While the quality of this final product is very much in question, many truly believe Marvel Studios did the floating head—and his naked ass—justice. At the very least, it’s hard to deny that visually, the result stands up to the comics.
In fact, that might have saved the character for some. Had the design differed radically, like the newly released art, there would likely be even more pushback against the character.
But will fans ever see MODOK again? Darren Cross survived certain death once, so perhaps he’s got another miracle up his tiny sleeves.
Or, perhaps Marvel will utilize the Multiverse to introduce a more comic-accurate version of the character. In the source material, it’s not Darren Cross who gets an enlarged head.
That privilege went to a man named George Tarleton, who formerly worked at the evil company AIM. Could he still make it into the MCU?
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is now playing in theaters worldwide.