Marvel Studios’ latest, Ant-Man and the Wasp, featured a cameo appearance from Elias Starr (Michael Cerveris) — a character better known in the classic Marvel comics as a recurring Ant-Man archfoe: Egghead.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Starr is reimagined as an ex-partner of Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who was fired and discredited by Pym after Starr schemed to possess the unwieldily power of the Quantum Realm.
While attempting to recreate Pym’s technology, Starr brought about a massive explosion of power from the Quantum Realm — catching his family in the ensuing explosion. Starr and his wife Catherine perished, but their daughter, Ava, would be left irreversibly changed: the orphan grew into a deadly S.H.I.E.L.D. operative known as Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), who used her unpredictable abilities to phase through matter in the service of the shadowy government organization until her powers threatened to blink her out of existence.
In the Marvel comics, Elihas Starr was a mad scientist type and was a primary foe of Hank Pym, who operated under multiple identities, including Ant-Man, Giant-Man, and Yellowjacket.
One of Pym’s most recurring foes, Egghead first ran afoul of the shrinking superhero in Tales to Astonish #38, where the big-brained scientist constructed his own ant-controlling device in an attempt to turn Ant-Man’s insect minions against him.
When he next returned, Pym had begun crime-fighting with newly minted partner Janet van Dyne, the Wasp, and the duo clashed with Egghead in a zoo after the villain kidnapped Janet and lured Ant-Man into a trap.
Egghead’s next scheme saw the involvement of Spider-Man, who was attacked by Wasp and Pym — having assumed the identity of the over-sized Giant-Man — after the two Avengers were tricked into ambushing the web-slinger by Egghead, who hoped to use the battle as a distraction for a heist.
In the pages of Avengers #63, archer Hawkeye assumed Pym’s abandoned Goliath identity and accompanying growth-increasing powers to rescue Black Widow, who had been kidnapped by Egghead and Fantastic Four foes Puppet Master and the Mad Thinker.
The following issue sees the first appearance of Clint’s brother, Barney Barton, who once worked for Egghead. Barton’s brother was seemingly killed when he sacrificed himself to destroy an orbital death ray crafted by the villain, adding Egghead to Barton’s rogues gallery.
Over the course of his criminal career, Egghead co-founded super-villain group Intelligencia — a group comprised exclusively of criminal geniuses, at times featuring Doctor Doom, M.O.D.O.K., the Leader, and Red Ghost and the Super Apes — as well as a short-lived crew known as the Emissaries of Evil, where he partnered with the mutant Solarr, the Cobalt Man, and Spider-Man enemy the Rhino, before helping form the third iteration of Avengers enemies the Masters of Evil.
Egghead seemed to be killed when — during an attempted sneak attack on Pym — Barton, back as Hawkeye, fired an arrow into Egghead’s energy blaster. The weapon exploded, killing Egghead.
After a clone of Egghead was created by Captain America enemy Arnim Zola and killed by the mercenary Deadpool, Egghead revealed he had survived his encounter with Hawkeye by way of a “rejuvetech serum,” this time squaring off against Pym and the new Ant-Man, Scott Lang, who defeated the mad genius and his artificial intelligence recreations of the Avengers.
Most recently, Egghead resurfaced in the pages of Astonishing Ant-Man in the employ of Darren Cross, a.k.a. the villainous Yellowjacket — a name familiar to movie-going audiences who saw the villain depicted by Corey Stoll in 2015’s Ant-Man.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is now playing.