Just like Kang the Conqueror, Marvel audiences have only seen glimpses of the mysterious Quantum Realm.
But on February 17, that's all about to change when this strange and often confusing realm takes center stage as the threequel's primary environment.
While fans don't yet know all that the Quantum Realm holds or how it will continue to impact the MCU, Kevin Feige provided fans with a subatomic primer ahead of Ant-Man 3's debut.
Ant-Man's Quantum Realm Explained
At the press conference for Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, Kevin Feige attempted to define Quantum Realm and its MCU history.
The MCU CEO began by acknowledging that audiences first saw the Quantum Realm in "the first 'Ant-Man' film," and it was back then that Ant-Man's own Paul Rudd first proposed exploring the "storytelling, and imagination, and fun that you could have" with a subatomic world:
“Well, we first saw it in the first 'Ant-Man' film. And I was reminded recently that this was an idea that Paul [Rudd] had early on before we started filming the first 'Ant-Man' film, to, ‘What if we explore this quantum mechanics,’ which I’m happy to discuss at length today if you guys want. Things act very differently at the quantum level. And Paul was talking about the amount of storytelling, and imagination, and fun that you could have there."
Throughout the Ant-Man franchise, Marvel Studios revealed more about the Quantum Realm.
Feige explained that at the end of 2015's Ant-Man, "we got a taste of it and that is what led to where we took it in [Avengers:] Endgame"
"The first 'Ant-Man' movie was mainly about meeting the characters and the origin story, of course, but at the very end of that, we got a taste of it and that is what led to where we took it in '[Avengers:] Endgame.'"
As to what the Quantum Realm actually is, the Marvel Studios President said it's "on the subatomic level where space and time act differently" and described it as "an entire universe below the surface:"
"And it is a place that is on the subatomic level where space and time act differently. And that allowed us to time travel, at Scott Lang’s suggestion, in 'Endgame.' And it allowed us to have this entire, manic Quantum-ness in this film, where we go to a point where only Janet had ever seen before and, as Evangeline said, she didn’t talk about it too much, where there is an entire universe below the surface, where we meet all sorts of fun, crazy characters.”
As for the visual design of the Quantum Realm, Feige credited Ant-Man director Peyton Reed for "working on this look" while also noting that the visuals have been "in the works for a very long time:"
“Well, Peyton [Reed], I think you can talk a little more about that, because it was in the works for 3.5 years, working on this look and taking audiences to a place that they had not been before. We talked about parallels to The Wizard of Oz a lot in terms of taking and meeting a family down there. But the visuals, which have been in the works for a very long time, was all Peyton and his team.”
The Other Quantum Realm Question
Even though Quantumania has yet to debut in theaters, fans have been skeptical and even critical of the CGI-heavy world and its strange design.
Whether the film's presentation of the Quantum Realm and its confusing nature will win over critics is an important question, especially since this MCU setting may be here to stay.
After all, the Quantum Realm is where Kang resides (whether willingly or unwillingly) and has even been described as "the basement of the Multiverse."
Since the MCU is knee-deep in its Multiverse Saga, the question of a Marvel project revisiting this bizarre, timey-wimey world isn't a question of if but when.
For now, in true Kang fashion, only time will tell how this universe within the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be received and how it will continue to influence the MCU's Multiversal tale.
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania arrives in theaters on February 17.