Marvel Studios almost introduced MODOK much earlier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) before Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.
Despite fan criticism, MODOK made an impactful debut in the MCU's Phase 5.
The character, who is portrayed by the returning Yellowjacket actor Corey Stoll from the first Ant-Man movie, served as one of Kang the Conqueror's loyal henchmen in the threequel.
Long before Loki Season 1 teased MODOK's arrival via an important Ant-Man reference, the famous Marvel villain was supposed to debut in another MCU project.
Ant-Man 3 Director Reveals Early MODOK Plans
During the Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania's director commentary, director Peyton Reed and writer Jeff Loveness talked about MODOK's role in the threequel.
Reed first confirmed that the villain has been "waiting in the waiting" and "there have been discussions" about including MODOK in other MCU films before, indicating that the villain was initially slated to appear prior to his Ant-Man 3 debut:
“MODOK has been waiting in the wings. I know there have been discussions on other Marvel movies, ‘How do you bring him in?’ And I will tell you the story now, we talked about Kang’s need for, if not a henchman, at least to have information about the Pyms, and the Langs, and the Van Dynes."
The MCU director then shared his initial pitch to bring MODOK into Ant-Man 3:
"And it also occurred to me at one point, Yellowjacket shrinks or is knocked into the Quantum Realm at the end of the first movie. And I pitched this to Stephen Broussard and to Kevin Feige, ’What if he became MODOK, he was repurposed?"
Ant-Man 3 scribe Jeff Loveness offered high praise to Reed's pitch, describing it as "brilliant" before explaining why "it makes so much sense:"
“It’s such a brilliant pitch on it and it makes so much sense. And sometimes when you diverge from the comics, it doesn’t work so well, but that’s such a great take on MODOK. I think that was day one when we met. I’m like, ‘Oh, that makes perfect sense.’ And then I just had a jumping-off point from there, comedically, of so much has happened since Ant-Man 1, that…”
Reed also revealed his initial conversation with Corey Stoll when he brought up the idea of turning him into the MCU's MODOK:
“MODOK’s got to play catchup. But listen, I love Corey Stoll, and I remember the day calling Corey and saying, ‘Hey, here’s an idea. What if this happens?’ And he was giggling on the other end of the phone. And the thing you don’t know about Corey is he is a die-hard Marvel Comics nerd. He grew up reading them as a kid of being a giant floating head.”
Predicting MODOK’s First MCU Appearance Before Ant-Man 3
Given MODOK's popularity in Marvel Comics, it isn't surprising that Marvel Studios had earlier plans for the character in the MCU.
In fact, Captain America: The Winter Soldier writer Christopher Markus revealed, via MTV, his hopes of initially bringing MODOK to the sequel, with him having Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage at the top of his wishlist to play the villain.
Seeing MODOK in a Captain America sequel would've been quite fitting, considering that he is primarily utilized as a villain against the Star-Spangled Avenger. On the flip side, introducing him as an Avengers nemesis would feel right at home as well due to his many run-ins with the team in the comics.
Furthermore, MODOK was also supposed to appear in one of the final episodes of Agents of SHIELD.
Jeffrey Bell, the show's producer, confirmed that the creative crew was "given the green light originally to use certain characters from Marvel," hinting that MODOK was one of those characters. Unfortunately, the Marvel producer revealed that "they retracted it" before his inclusion could come to fruition.
Based on the discussions surrounding the character, Marvel Studios has clearly had a plan to bring MODOK into live-action for a while, but it was just a matter of finding the right timing.
Ant-Man 3 director Peyton Reed's incredible pitch ultimately won over Marvel Studios, thus leading to the character's game-changing debut in the threequel.
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is available to purchase on major digital platforms.