Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania kickstarts Phase 5
Ant-Man and the Wasp:Quantumania arrives in early 2023. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)
Jump to: Key information
– Launches worldwide in February 2023- First trailer publicly released in October 2022- Story picks up after Avengers: Endgame- Marks live-action debut of Kang the Conqueror- Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly among returning cast- Directly sets up 2025’s Avengers: The Kang Dynasty
– May tie into Fantastic Four movie and set up Young Avengers project
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s release date draws ever closer. The next movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is only two months away from landing in theaters, so it’s time to start getting hyped for its arrival.
The first Marvel Phase 5 film promises to be a big one, too. Not only does it mark the live-action debut of Kang the Conqueror, it’ll also directly set up events to come in Marvel’s Phase 5 and Phase 6 projects, including the next Avengers movie, aka The Kang Dynasty. So there’s plenty to be excited about.
Below, then, you’ll find everything worth knowing about Ant-Man 3. We cover its release date, cast, and confirmed plot details, as well as showing you the first trailers that have been released and which MCU productions it’ll impact.
Be warned, though: full spoilers for Loki season 1 and potential spoilers for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantuamania follow. We’ll tell you when we’re about to discuss them if you’re avoiding anything of that ilk, but bear it in mind all the same before you proceed.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania release date
The third solo Ant-Man film arrives early next year. (Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania launches in theaters worldwide on February 17, 2023.
It was originally due out in late 2022, but its release has been altered, most notably because of development issues on The Marvels. Per Variety (opens in new tab), Ant-Man 3 is simply further along the production line than The Marvels, hence why it’s releasing first.
Thankfully, Quantumania wasn’t affected by the Marvel’s movie rejig in light of production problems surrounding its Blade reboot, so it’s full steam ahead on Ant-Man 3’s release.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania trailer
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s first trailer was released publicly in late October.
The teaser, well, teased plenty of tantalizing moments. Chief among those is the live-action debut of Kang the Conqueror, who needs Ant-Man’s help with a job he’s suitably skilled for (more on this shortly).
Curiously, the publicly released teaser differs from the one San Diego Comic-Con and D23 Expo 2022 attendees saw. In that one, fans got a very brief glimpse at another villain – MODOK – and learned that Kang killed a version of Ant-Man in another universe. Maybe Marvel considered those bits to be too spoiler-y to include in its public trailer.
Meanwhile, at November’s Brazil Comic-Con, Marvel released The Legacy of Ant-Man trailer, which contains a couple of new snippets of footage from Quantumania:
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania cast
Ant-Man 3 marks the official debut of Kang the Conqueror in the MCU. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)
Here’s the confirmed cast for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania so far:
- Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man
- Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne/Wasp
- Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror
- Michael Douglas as Hank Pym
- Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet van Dyne
- Kathryn Newton as Cassie Lang
- Bill Murray as Krylar
- Randall Park as Jimmy Woo
- David Dastmalchian as Kurt
Rudd, Lilly, Douglas, Pfeiffer, Woo, and Dastmalchian all reprise their roles from Ant-Man and the Wasp. Meanwhile, Newton makes her first proper appearance in an MCU movie, replacing Emma Fuhrmann’s teenage Cassie from Avengers: Endgame.
Majors’ Kang is the most notable newcomer. Majors played one of Kang’s variants – He Who Remains – in Loki’s season 1 finale. Following He Who Remains’ death, the Sacred Timeline he’d been watching over no longer exists, meaning He Who Remains’ variants can cross over from the Marvel multiverse into the MCU. That includes Kang, a time traveler with genius intellect who conquers other universes thanks to his combat expertise, advanced weaponry, and ability to teleport to any realm he sees fit.
In an interview with Empire (opens in new tab), Reed describes Kang as “someone who has dominion over time, and he’s a warrior and a strategist”. You can read more about Kang the Conqueror in our ‘Who is Kang the Conqueror?’ character explainer.
As for those who aren’t returning, Michael Peña’s Luis, Bobby Cannavele’s Jim, and Jude Greer’s Maggie haven’t been confirmed to feature. Maybe there just isn’t room for them to be supporting cast members or simply make cameo appearances.
Potential cast spoilers follow. Turn back or skip ahead if you’re avoiding them.
Marvel Studios’ #AntManAndTheWasp: Quantumania arrives 2.17.23. pic.twitter.com/mDUXqfcwLZOctober 24, 2022
Murray’s Krylar is an unknown quantity. The legendary actor previously revealed he was playing a “bad guy” but, until recently, we didn’t know who that was. There’s a character called Krylar in Marvel comics, an individual who exists in the Microverse, which the Quantum Realm might act as a stand-in for. However, Krylar only had the tiniest of roles in The Incredible Hulk #156, which was released in July 1972, so we don’t actually know anything about Krylar in the source material. As such, Murray’s adaptation has no major comic history to draw from.
That said, we have some idea of the role he’ll play. Per the Comic-Con and D23 trailer, Krylar has a romantic history with Janet van Dyne, with the latter living in the Quantum Realm for decades before she was rescued by Hank Pym in Ant-Man 2. With Janet inadvertently returning to this dimension alongside her family – thanks, Cassie – she’ll meet with her former flame once more, and we suspect he won’t be so keen to let her leave again.
Stoll, who played the antagonistic Darren Cross/Yellowjacket in 2015’s Ant-Man, is slated to make his second MCU appearance. This time, he’s voicing MODOK – a mutated, cybernetically enhanced individual with genius-level intellect. MODOK was the primary antagonist in Marvel’s Avengers video game, while the character also had his own Hulu series, which wasn’t canon in the MCU and only aired for one season before being canceled in May 2022.
Kang! 👏 Kang! 👏 Kang! 👏 Kang! 👏#CCXP2022 #AntManAndTheWasp pic.twitter.com/0lPDSxOOEqDecember 1, 2022
In the comics, MODOK, whose real name is George Tarleton, is the product of – yep, you guessed it – an experiment gone wrong. A bunch of scientists, who work for the criminal organization Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M) use advanced mutagenics to turn Tarleton, one of their fellow researchers, into a superhuman to help them study the Cosmic Cube. However, Tarleton’s mutation turns him into a bloodthirsty, ambitious supervillain, resulting in him taking full control of A.I.M and going onto become one of Marvel’s most famous villains.
Given Stoll will portray MODOK in the MCU, it’s inevitable that MODOK’s origins story will have been altered to factor into his Ant-Man 3 appearance.
In 2015’s Ant-Man, Lang overrode Stoll’s Yellowjacket regulator during the climactic battle, causing Stoll to shrink uncontrollably and presumably killing him. However, it’s clear Stoll survived and we think Kang saved his life before using the Quantum Realm and/or a mutagen experiment to turn Stoll into MODOK. Per MCU leaker MyTimeToShineHello (opens in new tab), MODOK will be Kang’s advisor and a secondary villain, so expect him to have a big role in proceedings.
Interestingly, Samuel L. Jackson appeared to confirm he’ll cameo. Speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast (opens in new tab) in March, Jackson revealed he would be returning to London for reshoots on Marvel’s Secret Invasion TV series. While there, he would also film scenes for The Marvels and Quantumania, so we should see Jackson’s Nick Fury in some capacity. Per Variety (opens in new tab), William Jackson Harper (The Good Place, Midsommar) has also joined the cast in an undisclosed role, although the identity of his character is a closely guarded secret.
Lastly, MyTimeToShineHello (opens in new tab) suggests we’ll see a character from Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD TV show appear. However, they won’t be portrayed by the same actor from that ABC TV series, so don’t expect any character continuity here. If the rumor is true, that is.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania plot
Quantumania appears to be a darker entry in Ant-Man’s MCU film series. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)
Here’s the official plot synopsis for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, courtesy of Marvel Studios (opens in new tab): “Superhero partners Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne return to continue their adventures as Ant-Man and the Wasp. Together, with Hope’s parents Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, the family finds themselves exploring the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond the limits of what they thought was possible.”
Not much to go on, then, but that’s intentional. Marvel isn’t going to give too much away, especially as this superhero film properly kicks off the studio’s Multiverse Saga. MCU Phase 4 slate was largely experimental, but Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania seems like it’ll really get the Multiverse Saga up and running.
There are some other basic story elements that we know, based on the trailer and what the cast and crew have said. For starters, it looks like Lang and van Dyne are celebrities post-Endgame. We see them walking a red carpet in the teaser, while Lang has his own podcast and autobiography. Given they were involved in the defeat of Thanos, that’s hardly surprising, but it’s still fun to see them enjoying the limelight.
Even so, our heroes will go on thematically dense journeys in Quantumania. Speaking at Comic-Con (via Variety (opens in new tab)), Lilly teased what we can expect to see from Hope van Dyne’s character arc, saying: “The second film is all about how powerful she is. This one is about her vulnerabilities.”
Janet van Dyne inadvertently returns to the Quantum Realm. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)
Elaborating to Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab) (EW), Lilly added: “I was really excited to have an opportunity where she’s gone from a caged-off woman to a woman who has opened her heart three separate times. One to Scott, then her reparations with her father, and then bringing her mother back from the Quantum Realm. So, she was sort of like the Grinch. Her heart had grown three times as big, which makes it three times more vulnerable. I was really excited to show a side of her where she would make mistakes, be fragile, and wouldn’t always have the right answer.”
Director Peyton Reed also explained what makes Quantumania unique from previous Ant-Man films. “We wanted to take a hard left turn and make a movie that was even more epic, but still progress the story of these family dynamics,” he told EW. “Cassie is now 18 years old, and maybe Scott doesn’t know quite how to relate to her as an adult because he lost those five years from the events of Avengers: Endgame. We also knew we wanted to put our heroes up against a very formidable opponent. To put them up against Kang the Conqueror was a huge thing for us. So we went big – and we also went small.”
Speaking at D23 Expo 2022 (via Marvel.com (opens in new tab)), Rudd teased: “This thing is bananas. And while it seems like a bit of an oxymoron if something so small can do something so huge, this is going to be unlike anything you’ve seen from [Marvel]. And not to mention [Jonathan] he’s incredible. It throws this whole thing into such new territory.”
In The North State magazine (opens in new tab), Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania lead writer Jeff Loveness also said fans should expect “a lot of surprises” from the MCU film. So, what could some of those surprises be?
Potential story spoilers follow. You’ve been warned.
1ST look at ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA! Poster I illustrated for @MarvelStudios @Comic_Con Honored to work again w/ @MrPeytonReed #PaulRudd @EvangelineLilly & 1st time Cassie @kathrynnewton & KANG #JonathanMajors #antmanandthewaspquantumania #Quantumania #antmanwasp #kang pic.twitter.com/Mf8tL3wg6wJuly 23, 2022
Based on the Comic-Con and D23 teaser, Kang takes Lang’s family hostage – or, rather, Cassie – as leverage. Kang wants Lang to conduct a heist for him, so Cassie is used as a bargaining chip to ensure Lang will comply.
What does Kang want Lang to steal? His levitating Time Chair, which allows Kang to traverse all of time and space. According to Marvel insiders GeekVibeNation (opens in new tab) and CanWeGetSomeToast (opens in new tab), Kang tasks Lang with stealing it back – or its power source, the leakers can’t agree on which it is – presumably with the aim of using it to escape into the wider multiverse.
It’s unclear who has stolen the chair and/or power source, but we suspect Janet van Dyne might have had something to do with it. She was the original Wasp before she was lost in the Quantum Realm. Maybe she learned of Kang’s plan to conquer the multiverse, stole the chair/power source, and hid either or both away so Kang couldn’t execute his masterplan?
We can largely rule Krylar and MODOK out as individuals who stole Kang’s favorite seat. The pair are believed to be working alongside Kang, with both having ulterior motives to do so. MODOK has a past with Lang’s Ant-Man, while Krylar will want some form of revenge on Janet for leaving him in Ant-Man 2. The movie’s secondary villains are likely afraid of what Kang could do to them if they don’t comply, so why wouldn’t they fall in line and aid him in escaping the Quantum Realm?
Elsewhere, Cassie will be suiting up to join her father and Hope van Dyne as a superhero. We see her in a purple suit in the teaser and, based on what we know of Cassie from the comics, she adopts two heroic pseudonyms – those being Stature and Stinger. Which version will she portray here? It could be both, depending on how the plot unfolds.
How will Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania affect the MCU?
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania could set up two big MCU movies. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)
How will Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania affect the MCU moving forward? Speaking at D23 Expo 2022 (per IGN (opens in new tab)), Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige teased that it’ll be “a direct line into Phase 5 and [Avengers: The] Kang Dynasty.”
Chatting to Empire, Reed added: “I think it [Ant-Man 3] has a profound impact on the MCU. Jeff Loveness, who wrote this movie, is writing The Kang Dynasty as well, so there’s been a lot of discussion about the impact that this appearance of Kang The Conqueror makes. There are big things in store.”
It sounds like we might not see Kang crop up in the MCU again until much later down the line, then. The other Marvel Phase 5 films don’t seem like they’ll contain a Kang cameo, or even have him pulling the strings in the background. So it’s possible Ant-Man 3 may be the first and only time we see Kang until Phase 6.
Is that truly the case, though? Majors has teased we’ll see “different iterations” of Kang throughout the Multiverse Saga, so maybe we’ll see his variants – including Rama-Tut, Iron Land, and the Scarlet Centurion – crop up in other Phase 5 and 6 projects.
As for potential films Quantumania might set up outside of The Kang Dynasty, a Young Avengers movie seems likely.
We’ve already been introduced to a bunch of young superheroes in Phase 4 films and some of the best Disney Plus shows – Wiccan and Speed (WandaVision), Skaar (She-Hulk), Ms Marvel, Kate Bishop (Hawkeye), America Chavez (Doctor Strange 2), Kid Loki (Loki season 1), and Dominique Williams/Ironheart (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) – so could Cassie bring them together? The Avengers are on hiatus/in flux so there’s room for a new superhero team to take center stage.
Could Cassie bring the Young Avengers together? (Image credit: Marvel Studios)
If Cassie escapes the Quantum Realm alone, maybe she’ll track down other young superheroes to fill the Avengers void and create the Young Avengers. We’d be surprised if Marvel doesn’t greenlight a Young Avengers film for Phase 6, particularly as it’s been laying the groundwork for such a team up over the past few years. Could the Young Avengers be teased in Quantumania’s post-credits scene? It’d be a crowd pleasing moment for sure.
Then there’s the mini six degrees of separation theory that ties Quantumania to Marvel’s Fantastic Four movie. In the comics, Kang occasionally works alongside Doctor Doom, the Fantastic Four’s legendary adversary. Additionally, the Fantastic Four have dabbled with quantum physics in Marvel’s source material, which acts as another possible link between Ant-Man 3 and the iconic quartet’s solo MCU movie. Hopefully, we’ll get some form of tie-in between the two films when Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania arrives in theaters next year, or when Fantastic Four finally arrives in February 2025.
For more MCU-based content, check out how to watch the Marvel movies in order. Alternatively, read up on our ranking of every Marvel film to date, see how we’ve ranked the MCU’s gallery of supervillains, or get the lowdown on Loki season 2.
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As TechRadar’s entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You’ll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.
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