Five things to know about ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania,’ according to the cast and filmmakers
The major players behind Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” gathered for a virtual press conference last week to discuss the making of the new film and what audiences can expect from the third installment of the franchise, which opens in theaters nationwide on Feb. 17, 2023.
Moderated by Randall Park, who played Jimmy Woo in “Ant-Man and The Wasp” and the Disney Plus series “WandaVision,” the discussion featured Director Peyton Reed, Producers Kevin Feige and Stephen Broussard, Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), Evangeline Lilly (Hope Van Dyne/Wasp), Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym), Michelle Pfeiffer (Janet Van Dyne/Wasp), Kathryn Newton (Cassie Lang), and Jonathan Majors (Kang the Conqueror).
Here are five things for audiences to know before seeing the film:
1. “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” launches “Phase 5” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
According to Feige, the past fifteen years of Marvel Studios’ films were split into “phases” of storytelling.
The first phase began with “Iron Man” (2008) and ended with “The Avengers” (2012), with subsequent films categorized according to their release dates and narrative arcs within the MCU. Phase four concluded with last year’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and “Quantumania” begins a new phase with “a more specific storyline heading towards some Avengers films down the line,” Feige shared.
Three phases equal a “saga” at Marvel Studios, and this film is smack-dab in the middle of “The Multiverse Saga.”
Feige added, “We wanted to kick off phase five with a third film of characters that were already beloved, which this team certainly is, and utilize them. Who better to face off against one of, if not the biggest villain the MCU’s ever faced than this family, who you might think could not handle it. But all of these characters and these amazing actors we felt would be a great audience surrogate to meet somebody as complex and scary and multiversal as Kang.”
2. Family is still the heartbeat of the Ant-Man films
“The Ant-Man movies have really always been about family,” Reed stated. “It is a generational story about a family of heroes.”
After his “Endgame” heroics, Scott has become more comfortable with his role as an Avenger, but his new focus is being a present and loving dad to his daughter Cassie. Hope is striving to live up to her parents’ legacy of heroism and carve out her own place in the world as a humanitarian problem-solver. Hank is trying to make up for lost time and enjoy his golden years with Janet now that they’re finally together again, and Janet wants nothing more than to put the past 30 years in the Quantum Realm behind her. Cassie, meanwhile, is a young woman working to be a force for good wherever she spots injustices, even if that means her overzealous efforts get her into trouble.
With these complicated family dynamics in play, the Lang/Pym/Van Dyne clan find themselves trapped in the Quantum Realm and must work together to find a way home.
3. The Quantum Realm is a weird, wild place
Having dipped their toes in the Quantum Realm in previous Ant-Man movies, the filmmakers were inspired by the idea of deeply exploring this subatomic dimension.
“There is an entire universe below the surface where we meet all sorts of fun, crazy characters,” Feige shared. Reed described the Quantum Realm as a “bizarro, whacked-out world,” which the filmmakers worked on for over three years.
Reed and the designers and artists who created the imagery, costumes, and inhabitants of the Quantum Realm were influenced by “The Wizard of Oz,” retro science fiction novel covers, “Flash Gordon,” “Barbarella,” 1980s heavy metal magazines, and electron microscope photography, among other varied sources.
“It was a part of the MCU that we were free to create on our own, and that was one of the most exciting things about it,” raved Reed.
4. Watch out for Kang the Conqueror
Audiences first met a variant of Kang (or He Who Remains in the “Loki” series on Disney Plus), and he plays an even more significant role in the latest Ant-Man film.
“Who is Kang? I think that is a question that we will all be answering for a very long time,” said Majors, who plays the charismatic character. “The quick answer to that is Kang is a time-traveling supervillain who is also a Nexus Being, which leaves this idea of variants. There’s multiple versions of Kang,” Majors continued. “They occupy different universes, multiverses; they have different intentions. They are all different beings, and yet—something that we’re still, and I’m still working on and continue to refine and refine and refine—there’s something of a throughline between them. And that, to me, is the Kang gene, in a nutshell.” Kang and Janet meet in the Quantum Realm, which sets off a series of events that promise to have a ripple effect in future Marvel films.
5. Ant-Man’s signature humor is alive and well
Douglas said audiences particularly enjoy the Ant-Man movies because they “bring a vulnerability to these superpowered characters that we see in a lot of Marvel films, and a sense of humor that I think is really a pleasure.”
When Park asked Newton how she established the playful dad-and-daughter dynamic with Rudd, she joked, “It was really difficult to work with Paul. I couldn’t get through a scene. I was laughing the whole time. It was very difficult to stay grounded in my character.”
Unlike several of his fellow Avengers, Ant-Man doesn’t take himself seriously and still, in many ways, feels like “a regular guy,” as Rudd put it. This relatability is a large part of the character’s appeal and story. He’s funny, he’s a good person, and grandmas want to pinch his cheeks. Being a world-famous superhero hasn’t changed Scott much, and that’s one of the qualities audiences—and the “Quantumania” cast and filmmakers—love about him.
“Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” opens in theaters nationwide on Feb. 17, 2023. Moviegoers should stick around for both mid-credit and end-credit sequences. Click here for our spoiler-free-review.