But even though the Ant-Man threequel is laying the groundwork for the future trajectory of the MCU, time works differently in the Quantum Realm, and the past will have a role to play in this film as well.
But interestingly enough, Stoll isn't the only villain from Ant-Man films past that fans are anticipating.
Ant-Man Director Shuts Down Villain's Rumored Return
In 2018's Ant-Man and the Wasp, Walton Goggins played the nefarious Sonny Burch, a black-market technology dealer who double-crossed Hank and Hope in their pursuit of materials for the Quantum Tunnel.
When Ant-Man 3 director Peyton Reed was asked about the "identity of the mysterious benefactor" who hired Sonny Burch and if answers are coming in Quantumania, the director told Legado da Marvel that Burch was "definitely sort of working in service of someone" but "I don't know that we'll answer that in this movie:"
“Well, for that particular question, you may have to wait a little bit longer. I love Sonny Burch, I love Walton Goggins, who I cast in in the movie. But yes, he was definitely sort of working in service of someone. I don’t know that we’ll answer that in this movie, because we have a lot of story to tell in the Quantum Realm in this movie. But I love that fans have theories about that."
Reed went on to note that "we have our own ideas;" however, this threequel is about finally getting to "go deep in into the Quantum Realm:"
"We have our own ideas about what that can be and that’s part of the fun of not always knowing if we’re going to get to make another movie. But you know, with the first one, we didn’t know. And certainly with this one, we didn’t know. But for this one, my big goal was, we’ve sort of dipped our toe into the Quantum Realm, but now we get to go down, and explore it, and go deep into the Quantum Realm, and see that it is this whole subatomic universe, and that Janet, she was down there for 30 years."
While much of Ant-Man 3's marketing has focused on Scott and Cassie's relationship, as well as the presence of Kang, trailers have also featured Janet Van Dyne's too little, too late warning about the Quantum Realm.
It also appears that Janet, Hank, and Hope will be separated from Scott and Cassie, meaning that the original family unit will be confronting the Quantum Ream's dangers - and secrets - together.
In past interviews, Hope's Evangeline Lilly shared there's a lot her character doesn't know about her mom and that it's a "dark and difficult thing to deal with."
Reed's additional comments supported those claims in sharing how Janet "had a past down there" and questioning what "has she not told her family about it?"
"She had a past down there, and what was that past like, and what has she told her family about it, and what has she not told her family about it? That seemed to bring in family drama and the things that parents and children maybe don’t tell each other but to do it in a superhero movie, that seemed exciting.”
Will Thunderbolts Reveal Ant-Man's Buyer's Identity?
While it doesn't sound like the Sonny Burch plot thread will be resolved in Quantumania, it's worth noting that this isn't the first time the director fielded this particular question.
Back in 2020, Peyton Reed responded to fan inquiries about Burch's buyer and whether that mystery will come to light in the threequel by saying, “There’s always a chance.”
Therefore, the director hasn't just thought about it but acknowledged that this question has gone unanswered for four years.
Still, if Reed is telling the truth and Ant-Man 3 doesn't reveal the buyer's identity, that's not to say Marvel Studios won't in the future.
Due to the events of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and in light of the studio's Phase 5 slate, it appears that the MCU is on a collision course with the U.S. government.
Sonny Burch may have been a criminal and a black market dealer, but he also had connections with the FBI and was arrested by the sequel's conclusion. Perhaps he and his buyer's identity will play a part in Captain America: New World Order or the Thunderbolts.
The latter film would be the best fit considering Ant-Man 2's Ghost, played by Hannah John-Kamen, is already confirmed to return. So it wouldn't be difficult at all for Marvel Studios to integrate this mysterious person into its Phase 5 narrative.
Whether that's the plan remains to be seen. But the fact that Peyton Reed knows this Ant-Man thread remains unresolved suggests that Marvel Studios does too; and while it may take some time, the MCU has a reputation for tying plotlines together in ways few fans expect.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania arrives in theaters on February 17, 2023.