Ant-Man & The Wasp ended with Scott trapped in the Quantum Realm at the exact moment Thanos snapped his fingers in Wakanda, successfully wiping out half of life in the universe, but since it appears the shrinking hero was unaffected by the catastrophic snap, does that mean that being subatomic saved him from disintegrating into dust like the Pyms? The latest Marvel flick may be a lighthearted self-contained adventure for the most part, but in service of MCU's interconnected storytelling, it still had to somehow connect to the events of Avengers: Infinity War, hence, the tie-in post-credit scene.
With the original Wasp back, the Pyms, alongside a newly freed Scott, continue to explore the Quantum Realm via a miniature version of the Quantum Tunnel installed at the back of Luis' old van. Scott dove back into the unexplored dimension to harvest Quantum Energy to help Ghost's healing, confident that he'll get out with the help of his pseudo-family. But just when he's ready to make his return, there wasn't anybody on the opposite side to get him back out, as Hank, Hope, and Janet were part of the unfortunate half of the universe turned to dust after Thanos' universal murder.
So this begs the question: did being in the Quantum Realm spare Scott from suffering the same fate as the Pyms, or was he simply included in the half of life that was spared? Perhaps, he was really one of the lucky half whose lives were saved - an easy explanation that fits the narrative established in Avengers: Infinity War, but if that's not the case and entering a different dimension actually saved him from being dusted off, then things become a little more interesting. With that, not only is the Quantum Realm a possible means of time travel, it might ultimately be the key to saving people from Thanos' devious acts.
For context, the Quantum Realm is "a reality where all concepts of time and space become irrelevant as you shrink for all eternity," as established in the first Ant-Man. But while the Peyton Reed-directed films didn't explicitly say that it's basically an alternate dimension, a short but meaningful scene in Doctor Strange where the Ancient One sends Stephen Strange to several dimensions establishes that it could very well be its own reality. Aside from going sub-atomic, it's possible the Quantum Realm could also be accessed via a Sorcerer's sling ring, making it more akin to the Dark Dimension or Mirror Dimension.
Kevin Feige recently clarified that on top of human beings and extraterrestrials, the Mad Titan's devious act also killed half of the animals and plants in the whole galaxy, but he didn't confirm if it affected all life forms beyond this universe. And with the Quantum Realm supposedly being a different dimension, it may be a place where Thanos' snap doesn't have any impact. Should this be the case, it might mean that anyone who wasn't in the main dimension wasn't affected by Thanos catastrophic snap like Gamora, or even Captain Marvel. It was previously confirmed that Gamora was transported to the Soul Plane after her adopted father sacrificed her in exchange for the Soul Stone, while Captain Marvel could be in an entirely different dimension and not just simply in space, contrary to popular theories.
Poised to be a pivotal part of the MCU moving forward, there is still so much to learn about the Quantum Realm. Ant-Man & The Wasp barely scratched the surface with regard to how things truly work down there (although it's been established that time does function differently), and if anything, it left as many questions as it did answers. Perhaps things might be clearer when Captain Marvel tackles the alternate reality next year, giving fans a better picture of how it could factor into Avengers 4.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019