Ant-Man 3 Director Teases How the Movie Will ‘Permanently’ Change the MCU

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Posted:
Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Ant-Man 3 logo, Jonathan Majors as Kang

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is set to not just wrap the trilogy of Paul Rudd's Scott Lang, but it has been confirmed to kick off the events of the MCU's Phase 5 by introducing its next big threat in the form of Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror. In addition, the threequel is also set to explore the Quantum Realm while also setting the stage for the superhero debut of Kathryn Newton's Cassie Lang as Stature. 

The exact plot details of Quantumania are still being kept under wraps, but Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige teased that the film will "introduce big parts of the mythology" about the Multiverse Saga that would eventually lead to the next two Avengers movies. That said, signs indicate that the upcoming threequel will showcase massive ramifications across the MCU and the timeline. 

Now, the film's director and its lead actor have shared their thoughts about Quantumania's impact on the MCU. 

How Ant-Man 3 Will Change the MCU

Ant-Man characters

After Marvel Studios' mega-sized panel at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania director Peyton Reed and lead star Paul Rudd spoke with several outlets about the upcoming MCU threequel. 

Speaking with Access, Reed and Rudd expressed their excitement about the fact that their film will be "kicking off Phase 5:"

Access: “The response in Hall H was insane. I mean, tell us, how you feel about getting that energy back for the film kicking off Phase 5.”
Reed: “We are kicking off Phase 5.”
Rudd: “You guys look amazing.”
Reed: “Yeah, this is fantastic, I feel underdressed.”
Rudd: “I know I’m underdressed.”

Moreover, the Marvel director teased that things will happen in the movie that is "going to change the Marvel Cinematic Universe permanently," admitting that it's fun that "Scott Lang is at the center of that change:"

Access: “It’s okay, we know you had the suits.”
Reed: “No, it was… the energy was great. And yeah, kicking off Phase 5 is really exciting for us, because, we’re the Ant-Man movies. It’s our third movie. It’s this trilogy now. But things happen in this movie that are going to change the Marvel Cinematic Universe permanently. And it’s fun for us that Scott Lang is at the center of that change.”

Speaking with Variety, Rudd said that the MCU threequel has a "pretty thrilling story" that "goes into some wild directions" that kicks off an entirely new chapter for the interconnected franchise: 

“It’s really exciting to kick off Phase 5, and… you know, it was a pretty thrilling story. And it was great to kind of do a third film, but one that felt even bigger and more surprising than the other two. It goes into some wild directions and to kinda be the one that kicks that off is cool.”

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Reed explained what makes Quantumania different from the first two movies, revealing the interesting new family dynamic between Scott, Hope, and Cassie as well as introducing a "very formidable opponent" in the form of Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror: 

“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. 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. 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.”

Speaking with Stage Right Secrets, the Ant-Man 3 director said that it was a "personal thrill" to do the third movie, saying that they were able to incorporate the "ideas of where we thought the series might go" from the first film:  

“When we were doing the original Ant-Man, it came out in 2015. If you had told us we were going to be able to do an Ant-Man trilogy, I don’t know if we would have believed you. But here we are and we’ve done an Ant-Man trilogy, which for me is a personal thrill because when we made the first one, we had ideas of where we thought the series might go. And we’ve actually been able to do it and we’ve been able to do it at Marvel and have all the resources at our disposal to sort of go nuts.”

Will Kang Defeat Team Ant-Man to Set Up Avengers 5?

Peyton Reed's comment about Ant-Man 3 "permanently" changing the MCU is pretty telling, and there's a strong chance that this has something to do with the arrival of Kang the Conqueror. In the official trailer description of the movie from SDCC, Kang asked Scott if he's "killed him before," clearly suggesting that the villain had already encountered Earth's Mightiest Heroes. 

This reveal could indicate that Kang is aware of the Avengers, and this could pose a problem for them in the future. It's possible that Kang had battles with the Avengers of other Earths, and he could think that the Earth-616 heroes are a different bunch that could ultimately end his reign. 

It's clear that this change will be anchored by Paul Rudd's Scott Lang, and similar to Avengers: Endgame, he could be the one to alert the MCU's heroes about the impending arrival of Kang. However, it is still unknown if team Ant-Man will ultimately defeat Kang at the end of the threequel. 

Rudd's tease that the movie will go "into some wild directions" could hint that something tragic will happen to them at the expense of Kang. Given Kang's significant role in Phases 5 and 6, it's unlikely that Scott and his allies will defeat the time-traveling villain. 

A possible plot point that could happen would revolve around Kang trapping Ant-Man and the Wasp inside the Quantum Realm, leaving Earth without two notable heroes. Doing this would make Earth vulnerable once again, allowing tragic events like Secret Invasion to happen and a Thunderbolts team that is full of villains to be unleashed onto the world. 

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is set to premiere in theaters on February 17, 2023. 

Release Date
February 17, 2023
- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.