To kick off Phase 5 of the MCU, Marvel Studios is going both big and small with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Slated for a February 17, 2023 release, the Ant-Man threequel first got Marvel fans' attention when Jonathan Major's Kang the Conqueror was confirmed to appear. But it wasn't until San Diego Comic-Con that audiences discovered just how pivotal Ant-Man 3 will be.
In addition to a poster reveal and the Hall H announcement that Quantumania will launch Phase 5, director Peyton Reed claimed that Ant-Man 3 is set to "change the Marvel Cinematic Universe permanently" and that "Scott Lang is at the center of that change."
While it's true that 2015's Ant-Man and 2018's Ant-Man and the Wasp contributed to the narrative of the MCU, the franchise thus far hasn't been as connected or as influential as others. However, in the wake of Marvel Studios' Comic-Con news blitz, Reed is only doubling down on Quantumania's larger scope and how it differs from Ant-Man's filmography so far.
Ant-Man 3 Director Explains Quantumania's 'Hard Left Turn'
In talking with Entertainment Weekly, Peyton Reed teased that Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will take "a hard left turn" in comparison to previous films in the Ant-Man franchise:
“Well, I think we were thrilled to get to do a third Ant-Man movie and do a trilogy. And we knew if we were gonna do that we wanted to do some things differently. We really 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."
In regard to those family dynamics, Reed explained that "Scott doesn't quite know how to relate" to the now 18-year-old Cassie, who is also expected to take on her superhero persona, in Quantumania:
"And everything that’s going on between Scott and Hope and Cassie… Cassie, who’s now 18 years old, and maybe Scott doesn’t quite know how to relate to her as an adult, because he lost those five years from the events of Endgame."
But, of course, that "hard left" the director first mentioned has to do with the presence of Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror - the Thanos-level villain of the Multiverse Saga.
According to Reed, having Kang in Ant-Man 3 was "a huge thing for us:"
"And we also knew that we wanted to put our heroes up against a very, very formidable opponent, and we were very fortunate. I grew up reading the comics and I knew the character of Kang the conqueror who’s one of the big, big bad characters in the comics, so to be able to put our heroes up against Kang the Conqueror in this movie was a huge thing for us. So we went big and we also went small.”
During Marvel Studios' Hall H panel at Comic-Con, Reed teased how Quantumania goes bigger, since it not only introduces "a lot of new characters" but will also "explore the quantum realm:"
"We finally get to spend some time in the quantum realm. We have a lot in store for these characters in this movie, and we’re going to meet a lot of new characters in this movie and explore the quantum realm, which is not always what you think it is, so we’re really really excited to bring it to life.”
Ant-Man's own Paul Rudd supported Reed's claims, saying he knew the threequel was "going to be a whole a new thing - and it felt like it shooting it:"
“It’s such a fun part to play and I’ve loved every time I’ve got to play Scott. We knew the scope of this thing was going to be different; we’re going up against Kang, which adds in a whole other element. Cassie is now older. There are things we got to explore and re-live from the first two films, but this was going to be a whole new thing — and it felt like it shooting it.”
How Quantumania is Not Your Phase 3 Ant-Man
Since Hall H, the MCU faithful have been told that Ant-Man 3 will be a "hard left," will "do some things differently," and not only "change the Marvel Cinematic Universe permanently," but "explore the Quantum Realm" which, by the way, "is not always what you think it is."
Those are some big promises; Marvel Studios is clearly hyping this film, and fans should pay attention.
After all, February of 2023 isn't that far away; and while these descriptions are exciting, they're also a sort of warning. This is because, in the past, Ant-Man films have served as a sort of light-hearted, family-friendly palate cleanser, but that's not what fans should expect from Quantumania.
In fact, it sounds like the threeuqel is set to throw a few curveballs, and now that the MCU is hurtling toward Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars, the state of the MCU is likely to be uncertain once Ant-Man 3 cuts to black.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is set to release on February 17, 2023.