‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,’ the long-awaited third movie in the ‘Ant-Man’ franchise and the first film of Marvel’s Phase 5, opens in theaters everywhere on February 17th and was once again directed by Peyton Reed.
After the events of ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), along with Hope’s parents, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Lang’s daughter, Cassie (Kathryn Newton), find themselves trapped in the Quantum Realm and must face one of the greatest villains the MCU has ever seen, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).
The movie features several actors reprising their MCU roles including Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp, Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne/Wasp, Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym, and Randall Park as Jimmy Woo, as well as Kathryn Newton joining the series as an older version of Cassie Lang, Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror – a variant of his ‘Loki’ character “He Who Remains,” and Bill Murray as new character, Krylar.
Moviefone recently had the pleasure of attending the virtual press conference for ‘’Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,’ along with several other members of the press. In attendance were Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Michael Douglas, as well as director Peyton Reed, producer Stephen Broussard, and President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige.
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Super-Hero partners Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne, along with with Hope’s parents Janet van Dyne and Hank Pym, and Scott’s daughter Cassie Lang, find themselves exploring… Read the Plot
Here are the 10 things we learned from the ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ virtual press conference:
1. ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ is All About Family
Director Peyton Reed began the press conference by talking about the themes of the ‘Ant-Man’ franchise.
Peyton Reed: The ‘Ant-Man’ movies have really always been about family. It is a generational story about a family of heroes, and Scott Lang, who is not a billionaire or super scientist, getting sucked into this world, and Hope van Dyne who is the legacy daughter of two superheroes, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer. So it’s this generational thing, and now young Cassie Lang, who is probably Scott’s biggest motivating factor. He wants to be a hero, obviously. He’s an Avenger, but it’s really about work-life balance and also finding time with his daughter.
In this movie, Cassie Lang is 18, but we continue the story of this family, and I think in ‘Quantumania,’ one of the things we’ve done is really broaden that story and start talking about the secrets the family members keep from each other, the things they don’t tell each other. At the beginning of the movie, very quickly we find out that maybe Janet hasn’t told the family about her 30 years in the Quantum Realm, and maybe Hope and Hank have not told Scott about what they’re working on with Cassie down in the basement, and maybe Cassie hasn’t told her dad about time she might’ve spent in jail.
So everyone’s keeping secrets from Scott at the beginning of the movie, and suddenly, they’re thrust into the Quantum Realm, and they have to kind of work out these family dynamics while being in this bizarro, wacked-out world. But it really is the theme of family that I think is the constant in the movies.
2. How Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne have changed since ‘Avengers: Endgame’
Paul Rudd discussed how his character has changed since the last time we on screen.
Paul Rudd: I think that he really does want to be a dad, and this is, I think, his main focus. So he always had kind of a love-hate relationship with it, I think, but now I feel as if he’s accepted it. He is happy that all of that, it seems to be in the rearview mirror, and now we get to have kind of a normal life, have some time together. It doesn’t last, obviously, as long as maybe he thought it would.
But I think that he’s kind of grown a lot over the course of nine years or so that we’ve been doing these movies. I mean, this is a guy who, when started off, he had a regular job. He was brought into this group and has no innate super abilities, but then he went up and fought Thanos. So he’s experienced a thing or two, and he’s accepted who he is. When you see this movie, it’s present day. The events of ‘Endgame,’ everything has already transpired. I wouldn’t say he’s taking a victory lap, but others might say that.
He’s written a book, a memoir, “Look Out For the Little Guy,” and he’s explained everything that’s been going on in his life and his experiences with the Avengers, but now he is ready to have some time to be a normal dad. You know, there are some issues there, because we missed out on a lot, and I kind of want to recapture some of those years. Cassie’s older now and she has ideas of her own, so we’re trying to kind of grapple with all of that.
Actress Evangeline Lilly also talked about how her character has changed since ‘Endgame.’
Evangeline Lilly: Hope started the first ‘Ant-Man’ film a very cold, detached, and very isolated woman. She didn’t have a lot of relationships in her life. She had a lot of broken relationships in her life, and over the course of these three films, I’ve had this incredible arc to be able to play where she has, in that time, repaired her relationship with her father. She’s reunited with her long-lost mother. She’s fallen madly in love with Scott, and she’s become a stepmom to Cassie.
So her life is just full of relationships and it’s full of love, and she is really like a blossomed version of the woman that we met, and you see that in the work that she’s doing in the world. She’s thriving and taking that love and spreading it around by trying to do right in the world and fix issues that are massive like global warming and housing crises, and she’s doing it with success.
But there’s this little hiccup. There’s this little missing piece, which is that she had always fantasized about her mom coming home one day. I think because that fantasy started when she was 8 years old, it was like, we’re going be best friends, and she’s going to tell me everything, and we’re just going to be so close. Then she really keeps Hope on the outside, and that’s a wound that is festering at the beginning of the film.
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3. What is the Quantum Realm?
President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, explained the film’s setting and just what the Quantum Realm is.
Kevin Feige: We first saw it in the first ‘Ant-Man’ film, and I was sort of reminded recently that this was an idea that Paul had early on, before we started filming the first ‘Ant-Man’ film. What if we explore this quantum mechanics? Things act very differently at the quantum level, and Paul was talking about the amount of storytelling, imagination and fun that you could have there. 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 ‘Endgame.’
It’s 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 quantumness in this film, where we go to a point where only Janet had ever seen before. 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 and crazy characters.
4. Kevin Feige Explains Marvel’s Phase 5
At one point during the press conference, Michael Douglas paused and turned to Kevin Feige and asked, “What is Phase 5?” Feige explained to Douglass and the audience Marvel’s plans for the future.
Kevin Feige: Well, to go through Phase 5, we’ll start at phase one. We are making a lot of movies, and I always dreamed of making even more movies. We sort of break it up into these phases. So, from ‘Iron Man’ to the first ‘Avengers’ was one phase. Then we would do Phase 2, which was ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ through to ‘Endgame.’
‘Endgame’ ended what we called Phase 3, and then we started a new saga. We’ve made a lot of films in Phase 4, the last of which was ‘Wakanda Forever.’ We introduced a lot of characters in that. Now, this film kicks off what we call Phase 5 which begins a more specific storyline heading towards some ‘Avengers’ films down the line. We work in about three phases at a time, which three phases together, as we all know, make a saga.
5. Who is Kang?
Actor Jonathan Majors first played a different version of Kang the Conqueror called “He Who Remains,” in season one of Disney+’s ‘Loki,’ but plays the real version of the character in ‘Quantumania.’ Majors talked about the character and his approach to playing this version of him.
Jonathan Majors: Who is Kang? I think that is a question that we will all be answering for a very long time. I think the quick answer to that is Kang is a time traveling super villain. Who is also a nexus being, which leads to this idea of variants. There’s multiple versions of Kang. Versions being variants.
They occupy different universes, multi-verses, and they have different intentions. They are all different beings, and yet something that I’m still working on and continue to refine to something as a throughline between them. That, to me, is the Kang gene. Kang the Conqueror, who is in ‘Quantumania,’ is stuck in the Quantum Realm. He has some issues with some variants and he’s not happy about it.
6. Adapting M.A.D.O.K. for the MCU
Marvel comic book fans will be delighted to learn that the popular villain M.A.D.O.K. makes his live-action debut in ‘Quantumania.’ However, the character that appears in the movie is much different than his comic book counterpart and director Peyton Reed explained why.
Peyton Reed: For me, it was a personal thrill. I was a kid who spent a lot of my childhood alone in a room reading Marvel comics. M.A.D.O.K. was always this insane character. He’s grotesque. He’s a giant head that has been turned into a mechanized organism designed only for killing. That was intriguing. So, we started talking about, is there a place in the MCU and in the ‘Ant-Man’ movies for a live action version of M.A.D.O.K.? And what would that look like and how would we go about it?
Producer Stephen Broussard also discussed introducing M.A.D.O.K.
Stephen Broussard: It’s a very odd character, to say the least. It’s kind of loomed large in our imagination of how and if we could pull that off. It always felt like a challenge, going back years, here at Marvel. Then we hit on an idea, and we think we had an idea that we were excited about. I don’t want to say too much here in this forum, but I think the time was right to bring M.A.D.O.K. to the big screen, finally.
7. Janet Van Dyne Has a Secret
Much of ‘Quantumania’ revolves around the secrets Janet Van Dyne has been keeping about her time in the Quantum Realm, and actress Michelle Pfeiffer talked about how it affects her relationship with her family.
Michelle Pfeiffer: I will say that after finally being rescued from the Quantum Realm after 30 years and reunited with her lovely husband Hank and daughter Hope, she is just savoring this time together and quite, decidedly so, secretive about her time down there. And not really wanting to get into that until, of course, we all find ourselves down in the parallel universe and parallel world.
She is forced to come forth with the truth and in a place where she had hoped she would never see again. You know, 30 years is a long time. So, I think there are a lot of surprises for the family. For some more than others. Maybe some of her choices were questionable. But they’re a very forgiving family. But, her story is very much a part of the whole family secrets theme that runs through the film.
8. Kathryn Newton Has Always Dreamed of Being a Superhero
Because of the five-year time jump between ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ young actress Abby Ryder Fortson, who played Cassie Lang in ‘Ant-Man’ and ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp,’ was replaced with the age appropriate Newton. The actress, best known for her work in ‘Freaky,’ revealed that being cast in ‘Quantumania’ really was a dream come true.
Kathryn Newton: At the premiere, someone asked me, “What Marvel movie was the first movie I saw?” I said ‘Iron Man.’ That was the first one I saw. I was probably like eight. So since then, since the first time I saw a Marvel movie, I always wanted to be a Marvel superhero, and anyone who knows me from high school, it was probably like my superlative in the yearbook.
So, I really wanted to be part of this, because it made me dream. I went with my dad to the theaters, and I just wanted to be a superhero. It’s funny, because I told myself that I always wanted to be the biggest Marvel superhero of all time. I think it’s ironic that Cassie Lang grows 40 feet. So I’m proof that your dreams come true, because mine did.
9. Why the ‘Ant-Man’ Movies Are So Popular
Oscar-winning actor and producer Michael Douglas talked about why he thinks the ‘Ant-Man’ movies are the Marvel movies in general are so popular with audiences?
Michael Douglas: I think with the ‘Ant-Man’ pictures we refer to family a lot, and it brings a vulnerability to these super-power characters that we see in a lot of Marvel films. There’s a certain vulnerability, and a sense of humor that exists that I think is really a pleasure.
This is very joyful for me as I’m learning more today about the whole experience than I’ve known, but I think it’s that sort of fun element about it. Certainly there’s the danger but it seems to relate to all different ages. Someone like myself who’s mostly referenced to R-Rated movies, this has really been a pleasure to have younger kids coming up, enjoying it and seeing what’s going on. So, kudos to everybody.
10. If there will be a ‘Wasp’ solo movie or a ‘Women of Marvel’ film in the Future
Finally, both Kevin Feige and Evangeline Lilly discussed the possibility of a solo ‘Wasp’ movie in the future or even a ‘Woman of Marvel’ film featuring all the MCU’s female superheroes teaming up together.
Kevin Feige: Well, the opportunities within the MCU are endless, as they are in the multiverse. So, we will have to see what happens in the future.
Evangeline Lilly: Well, just for the record, if that opportunity did present itself, I’m fully suited up and ready to go.
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Witten by Jeff Loveness and directed by Peyton Reed, the sci-fi, action, adventure, comedy, mystery, thriller ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ is scheduled for release from Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures on February 17th 2023.