Ant-Man & The Wasp’s Quantum Realm is easily one of the most complicated concepts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now, up there with the Infinity Stones themselves. We know that it is a realm that exists, essentially, between atoms and molecules, that can only be reached by shrinking down impossibly–dangerously–small. We know that it distorts space and time. We know that it can potentially breach into our reality–or at least, facilitate breaches into our reality–via people who have been inside it. We know that Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp, was stuck in it for decades and, somehow, against all odds, survived–but came back fundamentally changed. Maybe even mutated.
But, like most big, high concept superhero things, the rules of the Quantum Realm are as esoteric as ever. We may have a big list of “knowns” but our list of “unknowns” is even greater–and will probably always be greater, considering the fluid nature of the MCU’s science to begin with. The laws of physics don’t really apply–which means that, essentially, anything is possible.
That’s actually great news, when you think about it, especially considering Scott Lang’s fate at the end of Ant-Man & The Wasp. Some fluid rules and infinite possibilities might be a massive help when it comes to getting Ant-Man back in the fight–but the nature of the Quantum Realm might not be the only thing there to help Scott escape. Director Peyton Reed of Ant-Man and Ant-Man & The Wasp teased some interesting possibilities for the future of the MCU during an interview with GameSpot for the Ant-Man & The Wasp Blu-ray release earlier this month.
When asked if the specifics of Jan’s survival in the Quantum Realm had ever come up, Reed explained that “we’ve only just scratched the surface of the Quantum Realm, and we liked to tease the possibility that maybe, just maybe, she wasn’t just surviving down there–maybe she was thriving.”
Thriving how? Well, that’s where things get interesting. When asked directly if that meant that, potentially, Jan had some help–that there was a chance other people may have been in the Quantum Realm along with her–Reed was quick to respond. “Absolutely. We love the concept of the Microverse from the comics–some of my favorite runs have to do with the limitless potential of that whole idea. Anything from people from our future who may have escaped into the Microverse when they saw the way the world was headed–anything. There’s limitless potential for that here.”
The Microverse–the comic book Quantum Realm equivalent–has been the home of whole kingdoms of people, quantum time travelers who occasionally get swept up in the affairs of the “normal” universe when they’re visited by heroes and villains like Captain America and Doctor Doom. It’s saturated by something known as the Enigma Force, which, really, is just some comic book mumbo jumbo that empowers people to exist outside of space and time. It was, for a time, populated by a “race” of people known as Time Travelers who were almost entirely the time-displaced astral projections of a Microverse explorer named Arcturus Rann.
Listen, it’s a lot. Not much of it makes sense–but, like Reed said, it does represent a level of limitless possibility. Sure, a great deal of that possibility comes from the fact that superhero comics can casually drop in concepts like “time displaced astral projections” in sub-microscopic kingdoms ruled by ancient, immortal aliens without batting an eye, but you get the idea, here.
As far as we’ve seen, the MCU’s Quantum Realm isn’t populated by a race of people–there were no visible kingdoms, no advanced technology, no sentient lifeforms on screen when Hank made his attempt to rescue Jan. However, we’ve only seen the smallest glimpse of what’s actually there–and, as Reed said, if Jan was indeed thriving, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for her to have had help.
This, of course, means that Scott may not be doomed after all. If Jan had help, Scott could find help, too. In fact, thanks to the wonky time-space mechanics of the Quantum Realm, and the fact that the Time Stone is very much in play in Infinity War, there’s a good chance Scott might have the ability to escape the Quantum Realm into the past, or perhaps, the future–or, maybe he’ll just be given a chance to meet someone entirely new while he’s there who can teach him to get a message out. Who knows?
Until then, our best course of action will be studying what we can see of the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man & The Wasp while we pace around and anxiously wait for Captain Marvel and Avengers 4. Let the countdown to 2019 being.