It’s not every day that a Marvel movie is inspired by The Simpsons – but according to the head writer of Ant-Man 3, that day has finally come.
Speaking to SFX Magazine (via GamesRadar (opens in new tab)) Jeff Loveness has surprisingly revealed that MODOK – one of the Marvel film’s side villains – was heavily influenced by a classic Simpsons antagonist.
The character in question? Frank Grimes, a power plant colleague of Homer Simpson who is increasingly angered by his colleague’s inability to do his job properly. Who would have thought that one of Homer’s most famous enemies would inspire Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumanias MODOK, right?
Quantumania, beginning February 17th with Marvel Phase 5, marks the introduction of two major Marvel villains. Kang the Conqueror is positioned as the film’s main villain – after all, he will be the next Thanos-level threat to the MCU. However, Loveness revealed that bringing MODOK to life on the big screen for the first time was the most enjoyable part of writing the film. Obviously, being able to take inspiration from the iconic sitcom The Simpsons (all 33 seasons are available to stream on Disney Plus) helped him develop the character’s MCU iteration.
“MODOK might be my only favorite thing I got in the movie,” Loveness explained. “Obviously we stayed very true to the comics with the design and look, but then we put a little bit more into it. I’m just saying he was inspired by Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda and Frank Grimes, an old Simpsons episode – this really put-up, selfish, lowbrow but then also deeply sad, insecure man who knows he’s not good at life coped and is trying to make the best of it.
Who is Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumanias MODOK?
MODOK, which stands for Mechanized Organism Designed for Killing, is no stranger to most Marvel fans. In fact, he’s one of the comics giant’s most iconic supervillains – which means his live-action debut was a long time coming.
In the comics, MODOK was created when—yes, you guessed it—a scientific experiment went awry. MODOK’s real name is George Tarleton and he is born when Tarleton’s fellow researchers use Tarleton as a guinea pig for their experiments on the Cosmic Cube. The result of their tests gives Tarleton a brilliant intellect, but makes him an ambitious, bloodthirsty killer. Not only that, the experiments severely disfigure Tarleton – essentially turning him into a giant head, making his torso and limbs look tiny in comparison.
In the MCU, the origins of MODOK have been changed. Instead of Tarleton, Darren Cross – the main villain in 2015’s Ant-Man – is the person who transforms into MODOK. At the end of that Marvel film, Scott Lang/Ant-Man destroyed the size adjuster in Cross’s Yellowjacket suit, causing Cross to shrink uncontrollably, presumably killing him.
However, he survived and will seek revenge on Lang when he and his family accidentally travel to the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man 3. We’ve had confirmation that Cross has become MODOK in the latest Quantumania trailer (read our Ant -Man and the Wasp: Quantumania trailer breakdown for more), which you can see in the screenshot below:
MODOK may be making its MCU debut in Quantumania, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen it on screen.
He starred in his own animated TV series on Hulu in 2021, which received acclaim from fans and critics alike before being canceled in May 2022. Meanwhile, MODOK was the main villain in Marvel’s Avengers, the video game developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos, which wasn’t well received. As a result, Marvel’s Avengers will no longer receive any updates or content drops after September 30, 2023.
It’s unclear if MODOK’s MCU appearance will be a “one and done” scenario, meaning he’ll only appear in Ant-Man 3. It would be a shame if he did as he is one of Marvel’s most compelling villains. However, given the MCU’s penchant for killing off its antagonists, we’d be surprised if MODOK made it out of Quantumania alive. If he doesn’t, at least we’ll live in a world where The Simpsons can influence even the world’s most popular movie franchise.
For more Marvel and Simpsons based content, check out how to watch the Marvel movies in order and see where we ranked Ant-Man’s previous solo movies in our Marvel Movies Ranking. Also, see if you agree with our picks of the best Simpsons episodes of all time.