And now, the weirdest thing you'll hear all day.

Once upon a time, Howard Stern — yes, that Howard Stern, from "shock-jock" talk radio — tried to pursuade Marvel to sell him the movie rights to the character Ant-Man.

It happened some fifteen years ago, according to Stern as quoted by HitFix. The radio show host claimed he grew up as a huge Ant-Man fan, and after his autobiographical film Private Parts became a hit, Stern was searching for more big-screen projects. So he set a meeting with Marvel's executives and tried to buy the rights from them.

Can you imagine? An Ant-Man movie starring Howard Stern? That would be one wildly different movie than the one currently in theaters. It's a hard notion to get your head around.

Or maybe Stern didn't intend to star in it at all. Perhaps he merely wanted to produce it. Whatever his intentions, this goes back to a time years before Marvel Studios launched its highly successful, cohesive "cinematic universe." Iron Man had not yet visited theaters. There were no Avengers. This was even a good three years before Edgar Wright began seriously considering writing and directing Ant-Man.

What kind of world do you suppose we would now live in if the Marvel Cinematic Universe had been launched by Ant-Man instead of Iron Man? What if Howard Stern was the face of Marvel Studios, instead of Robert Downey Jr.?

Yowza.

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