While fans knew the floating head was going to feature in the newly released film, it seems many were still not prepared for him.
For his MCU adaptation, the character was retconned into being Corey Stoll’s Darren Cross, having survived his catastrophic defeat in 2015’s original Ant-Man film. As it turns out, he survived his journey into the Quantum Realm and was saved, butt and all, by Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror.
Many fans have been vocal in their displeasure regarding his adaptation—both in how his story was handled and the VFX that went into building his look on screen.
Fans Are Wrong About MODOK
When asked if a Variant of Corey Stoll's villain might show up as an Avenger, Loveness promised that if he did, "he will be even stupider." The Avengers: The Kang Dynasty scribe stated that he "refuses to listen to the fans" who want a more "serious adaptation" of the giant-headed character:
"Uh… if I say yes, I promise you he will be even stupider. I refuse to listen to the fans on this. I will not make MODOK serious. As long as I’m alive, they’re not gonna get that serious adaptation that those four fans want. He’ll be a big dumb head. That’s all."
Speaking with Slashfilm, the writer revealed that it wasn't actually his idea to turn Darren Cross into MODOK.
Instead, it was director "Peyton Reed's idea," though Loveness admitted that he "immediately jumped on that [idea]:"
"Oh, right. I don’t know anything about that. I never read anything like that. I don’t know. It could maybe, but it was never in my time over there. I believe it was Peyton Reed’s idea to make Darren Cross into MODOK, but I immediately jumped on that and pitched real hard on it. I think we kind of built that character together."
Loveness went on to say that the fans who are divided on the villain are "wrong," and that he'll always "go to the mat for MODOK:"
"Let me just say, the people who are divided, they’re wrong. I will go to the mat for MODOK. I am so happy. And it was such a fight. And it was such a labor of love and passion and all that, just to get the comedy balance of this guy. And hey, I’m a big comics guy, I’m sure you are, too. We’re on the internet. People got opinions. Those motherf***ers are wrong. I’m sorry, you want to do a serious take on MODOK? I played that “Avengers” game on PS5, good luck. Yeah, yeah, yeah, come back later."
To truly drive the point home, he made it very clear that "[he']s very happy with what [they] did:"
"I’ll take all the punches that they want, critiques, whatever, but MODOK? No, no, no, no. I’m very happy with what we did."
Previously, Stoll himself defended his character's journey, saying that the radical changes "[work] in the context of Darren's arc:"
Jeff Loveness, who wrote the script, and Peyton and Paul made a very strong choice to retcon — is that the word? — this new reason for MODOK to be. I think it really works. It certainly works in the context of Darren’s arc."
Getting MODOK Right for Ant-Man 3
With a character like MODOK, Loveness would never have been able to make everyone happy.
For one, the mechanized villain is jarring by design. No matter the quality of the VFX, MODOK will always look off.
As for the comedic elements of the character, it makes perfect sense how the series leaned into that angle, given how absurd he is.
Loveness did mention the recent Avengers video game as an example of another take on the character. While it has endless issues and was embarrassingly handled overall, its story tends to be one of its few good aspects.
This includes a serious approach to MODOK, who also happens to be the original version of the character, aka George Tarleton. So, for those who want to see the villain in a less comedic light, that game might be for you.
Though, if that’s of interest, best hurry to snatch up a copy—with the game completely shutting down, it’ll become far harder to come across it.
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is now playing in theaters worldwide.