Thomas the Tank Engine has become an unlikely meme over the last few years, his plastered smile and inexorable path creeping people out and spawning unsettling Skyrim mods.
Perhaps aware of the inherent menace of Thomas, the people who own the rights to the character would only allow him to feature in Marvel's Ant-Man if he behaved properly and not like the general creep that he is.
Director Peyton Reed told FilmSchoolRejects:
"I believe in Edgar [Wright] and Joe Cornish’s original drafts it was a train set. At some point in the process that predated my involvement it became Thomas. As I came on, they had not secured the rights to Thomas. We had to do this whole thing where we did this presentation for the people who own the rights to Thomas. Thank God they agreed and found it funny, but there were definite stipulations. For example, nobody could be tied to the tracks and run over by Thomas. Thomas couldn’t be doing anything that could be perceived by children as evil Thomas. Thomas had to stay neutral in the battle, which was always our intention. Like anybody, they’re protective of their brand. I didn’t know what we were going to do if we didn’t get the rights to that. There are certain things I was going to be devastated about if we couldn’t have them. Thomas was one, because… you could do any kind of toy train, but the personality of that thing and the eyes moving back and forth give it a whole vibe and took it to another level."
There have been a few surprising summer blockbuster cameos this year, including Margaritaville founder Jimmy Buffet in Jurassic World, where he was seen fleeing pterodactyls while clutching a marg in each hand.
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