During Marvel Studios' panels at both San Diego Comic-Con and the D23 Expo, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has received considerable attention. Not only is the film set to release in early 2023, but it's also posed to launch Phase 5 and the arrival of Kang the Conqueror.
Despite the record-breaking success and Multiversal happenings of No Way Home, the one MCU franchise that Marvel fans haven't heard about at recent conventions and events, is Spider-Man.
While the Marvel faithful don't know just when the Sony-owned Spidey will return, the D23 trailer for Ant-Man 3 did include a reference to the webhead and his status within the MCU.
How Ant-Man 3 Referenced Spider-Man: No Way Home
In addition to footage of Jonathan Majors as Kang and scenes teasing the exploration of the Quantum Realm, the D23 Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania trailer also featured a humorous reference to Tom Holland's Spider-Man.
In a scene showcasing Scott Lang's post-Endgame celebrity, a fan accidentally confuses Scott Lang with the web-slinger, saying, "Thank you, Spider-Man!"
Now, there are a few explanations for this, and they're surprisingly revealing about the current state of Marvel Studios' friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
First of all, Ant-Man was never a high-profile hero until after Endgame; and due to the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, no one within the MCU remembers that Spidey is Peter Parker.
This is why the public can easily confuse one non-descript, insect-inspired hero for another, even though Scott is now reveling in his newfound fame.
Now, even though it's a joke, this little flub accomplishes something else.
It once again shows the audience that those within the MCU are still aware of Spider-Man, despite the events of the No Way Home spell.
In fact, No Way Home did a bit of this itself, such as when J. Jonah Jameson's Daily Bugle continued to report on Spider-Man as opposed to Peter Parker.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness followed suit in having Strange explain he's dealt with the Multiverse before in referring to "an incident with Spider-Man" but not Peter Parker.
Will Ant-Man Talk About Spider-Man?
While having a fan confuse Ant-Man with Spider-Man is a fun jab at Scott Lang, it raises some interesting possibilities about what MCU characters remember about the web-slinger.
In fact, a scene from No Way Home may have already shown a preview of what audiences can expect.
The scene in reference is the emotional visit to May's grave where Happy Hogan explains he knew May because of Spider-Man. However, he has no memory of Peter Parker and their history together.
While fans shouldn't expect to see Tom Holland's Peter in Quantumania or that scene's level of emotion, Scott Lang may respond to the "Thank you, Spider-Man!" reference with his own thoughts on the hero and his secret identity.
In fact, since Ms. Marvel established that Scott has a podcast, and the D23 trailer touched on how he loves listening to his own book, fans might hear Scott explain Spidey's Endgame actions from the unique perspective of not knowing he's Peter Parker.
Now, in MCU films to come, the fact that the Avengers know Spider-Man and not Peter is sure to lead to fewer jokes and more emotional moments.
After all, now only Peter and the audience remember how personal his last exchange with Tony Stark was at the end of Endgame. And, if the Avengers were to reminiscence about Stark in the future, it's a conversation that Peter can't fully take part in, despite having been a huge part of Tony's motivation to discover time travel in Endgame to start with.
Also, since both Doctor Strange 2 and Ant-Man 3 have now referenced Spider-Man, this trend is likely to continue.
It seems that Marvel wants to condition audiences about the spell and its effects ahead of Spider-Man 4 and/or Spider-Man's next cameo.
So even though the reference is supposed to be comical and succeeds, it's also reminding viewers of the current state of the MCU while setting the stage for Spidey stories to come.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania arrives in theaters on February 17, 2023.