Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is set to kick off the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 5 and bring with it the arrival of the new big bad in Kang The Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) and yet another venture into the quantum realm. This will be the third installment of the Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly franchise and it will serve as the most impactful one to date, not just because of the overarching villain that will be introduced, but because of the extensive dive into the quantum realm. There have been a handful of prior MCU properties that have dipped its toe into this world, including the two prior Ant-Man movies, but none of them will use it as the backdrop to tell its story.
There is surprisingly much we don’t know about this place as the quantum realm wasn’t technically a thing in the comics, though it went by another name that will later be discussed. The times it has appeared in movies also haven’t done much to really explore what exactly this unique place beyond time is all about. When viewers sit down to take in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, it’s best to go in with some prior knowledge of what this quantum realm has to offer because like many things that have popped up in Phase 4 and beyond, it’s easy to lose track of all these timelines, multiverses, portals and now, a quantum realm.
What Is the Quantum Realm?
Jeff Loveness, a writer on the third installment of the Ant-Man trilogy, put it best when he told Marvel.com that the quantum realm is “like the basement of the Multiverse,” adding that it's this weird connecter between time and space. In short, that’s as concise of a description as there is. Deeper in its roots, the quantum realm can serve as the gateway to any one point in time. It’s an access point that can connect any timeline or universe. Think of it as a central train station where it’s the hub of many outgoing routes. In this case, those routes can be anywhere at any point in time. The quantum realm also is its own ecosystem with inhabitants and cities unique to itself, which will likely be explored further in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania when some of those creatures, including Krylar (Bill Murray) will make their MCU debut. Its comic origins are a bit more vague, namely because it’s referred to as the Microverse (it’s naming rights is owned by Paramount), but what was depicted of the Microverse were many fun inhabitants, like the Micronauts, and various heroes including Captain America and The Fantastic Four making trips to this world.
How Can the Quantum Realm Be Used?
When it comes to the Quanum Realm, the one thing the MCU has shown its viewers in its movies thus far is how powerful this dimension is when it's power is harnessed. The most famous example of this was in Avengers: Endgame when the remaining team created a portal capable of time travel through the Quantum Realm. Ant-Man and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) are then seen using Pym Particles to shrink down, retrieve the Infinity Stones and ultimately reverse Thano’s snap. Stern's Advanced Tech Suits were laced with Pym Particles, which was what allowed them to safely navigate through the portals.
Another layer of the Quantum Realm was discussed in Doctor Strange when it was shared that this world can be accessed by magic, in this case the Sling Ring used by the Masters of the Mystic Arts. In regards to how the Quantum Realm will directly impact the MCU on the grander scale, what it allows for is any Marvel property from the past, present and future to show up at any point in the story. This is how Spider-Man: No Way Home was able to happen with three Peter Parkers co-existing and it could serve as the entry point for future installments like The Fantstic Four and X-Men to eventually make their way into the MCU.
Why Is Kang in the Quantum Realm?
From what can be gathered as Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania gets set to begin Phase 5, Kang the Conqueror is stuck in this dimension. How one of the most powerful beings found himself stuck in this world remains to be seen and it makes it interesting to wonder who or what was capable of containing this variant. There's a chance that person was He Who Remains, who viewers know was the variant that outlasted the first multiversal war as explained in Loki or that there's a greater entity out there that hasn't been revealed yet.
Kang isn't the first person to find themselves trapped in the Quantum Realm in the MCU. In Avengers: Endgame, Scott Lang was stuck for what he thought was five hours - it was actually five years - before being freed by a rat who walked over a button to open up the portal. He previously was stuck and freed in Ant-Man following his fight with Yellowjacket, this time escaping through a combination of adjusting his shrinking and enlarging suit. Janet van Dyne was trapped in the Quantum Realm for more than 30 years before freed in Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Why Should We Care About the Quantum Realm?
In short, the Quantum Realm is going to be an essential player in the Multiverse Saga. What this dimension will allow for is bringing together all of our favorite heroes from every corner of the MCU and its properties. Phase 5 and Phase 6 will all center around this world and understanding all of its intricacies will be necessary to understand where the intertwining stories are going. Up to this point, the MCU has sprinkled in this complex arena but it's no coincidence that they're deciding to take its biggest exploration of the Quantum Realm with the phase opening Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. The Quantum Realm is upon us and will be here for the foreseeable future.