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MODOK Almost Looked Way Scarier In Ant-Man 3 (& Maybe It's Better He Was Silly)

"Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" arrived in February 2023 to a rather mixed reception. While there are certainly those who left their theaters happy with what the third "Ant-Man" adventure provided, others were less enthused about what Marvel Studios, director Peyton Reed, and all others involved presented them with. Amid this discourse about the threequel and its quality, another conversation emerged around what has become one of the most enduring elements of the entire feature: the former Yellowjacket himself, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), who has adopted the moniker of MODOK (Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing).

Yes, at long last, the iconic Marvel Comics villain MODOK has made it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After being crushed inside of his malfunctioning Yellowjacket suit during the events of 2015's "Ant-Man," Cross wound up in the Quantum Realm. There, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) rescued him and placed his deformed body into a suit of gold and purple armor. Much like his print counterpart, Cross' MODOK is basically a giant floating head with little limbs. However, he looks and acts far sillier than the one Marvel Comics readers are familiar with.

As it turns out, the MCU's MODOK could've taken on a more terrifying design. Although, all things considered, it's probably for the best that "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" went with a goofier take.

A terrifying MODOK could've worked, just not in the Ant-Man franchise

Artist Aleksi Briclot took to Instagram to share what MODOK almost looked like in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." He shared multiple interpretations of the character, with one residing in something of a fishbowl (seen above) and another piloting a flying spider-like mech suit with a more pained-looking face. One was even designed with kaiju monsters in mind, decimating Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) from above using his laser beam. Overall, these are excellent designs that evoke Marvel Comics' MODOK in their own ways and could've worked in the MCU. At the same time, would a scary MODOK have really worked in "Quantumania"?

Looking at "Quantumania" on the whole, there are two big reasons why a horror-inspired version of MODOK wouldn't have worked. For one, the tone of the "Ant-Man" series doesn't necessarily lend itself to such a take. They're predominantly light, comedic films that don't take themselves too seriously. Not only does a goofier MODOK fit this framework better, but he doesn't step on the toes of the film's biggest threat: Kang. He's a villain that will carry the MCU on his back for years to come in multiple forms across the multiverse. Aside from his technical debut in "Loki" as He Who Remains, "Quantumania" is Kang's big introduction. With a menacing, frightening MODOK as his right-hand man, Marvel Studios might've risked him being overshadowed a bit.

Silly MODOK might not be the only MODOK around

Goofy MODOK seemed like the right way to go for "Quantumania" from a narrative perspective, and fan response has only cemented that this rendition was the best choice. Since the third "Ant-Man" movie arrived, MCU fans haven't been able to stop talking about MODOK, with most just getting a kick out of the fact that he's just an oversized Corey Stoll head in a hoverchair. He has become a meme in short order, and while that's no gauge for the success of the adaptation, it does show how memorable he is — a quality too many of Marvel Studios' recent offerings have sorely lacked.

Of course, just because scary MODOK wasn't the right fit for "Quantumania" doesn't mean he can't work elsewhere in the MCU. After all, Darren Cross isn't even the person who becomes MODOK in the comics. That honor goes to George Tarleton, who goes from an unassuming technician to the leader of the nefarious AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics). He has yet to appear in the multimedia superhero franchise, so perhaps he could become a more sinister MODOK in a future project. There's also the matter of the multiverse, which basically gives Marvel Studios a "Get Out of Jail Free" card if they do something fans don't like.

The silly MODOK we see in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" may not be everyone's cup of tea, and that's just fine. You either love him or hate him. Still, he fits the movie he's in, and people love him in all his cheesy glory. Perhaps someday we'll see a creepy MODOK at the movies, but for now, Corey Stoll's giant floating cranium is all we have.