Warning: SPOILERS for Ant-Man & The Wasp
The long-awaited sequel has finally arrived, with Ant-Man & The Wasp giving equal billing to both of Marvel’s smallest heroes. They may be smaller than the other heavyweights in the MCU, but they’re just as entertaining – and the same goes for the Easter Eggs, inside jokes, and comic book references. As a far more light-hearted and comedic adventure than, say, Avengers: Infinity War, the filmmakers have even more chances to slide in winks to the audience, throwbacks to the 1960s origins of the superhero, and the kind of cameos MCU fans have come to expect.
But with a hero whose powers are based on the mysterious fabric of the universe and the Quantum Realm, clues and secrets of larger villains or events in Marvel’s universe are also on hand. Even if nobody in their right mind would ever actually look for them. Not that they need to, since Ant-Man & The Wasp may be just what’s needed as a palette-cleanser before Avengers 4 storms into theaters. In the meantime, fans should make sure to enjoy every cameo, overt nods to the extended comic mythology and movie franchises, and background gags. And we're here to make sure that no audience member misses a single one of them.
We've collected the very best Ant-Man & The Wasp Easter eggs, secret backstories, inside jokes, and clues to the future of the Marvel movie universe fans might have missed - and are breaking them all down here.
So with one final SPOILER warning, let's get started. Here are the 20 Things You Completely Missed In Ant-Man & The Wasp.
The world of Hank Pym’s history in experimental science and S.H.I.E.L.D. intrigue is expanded big time in the sequel, adding his former colleague Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) into the mix, as well. As the hero who once called himself Goliath, Bill is a little outmatched by Scott’s use of the same technology. But the original was still important enough to put Goliath on Tony Stark’s radar back in Iron Man 2.
Fans didn’t know to look for it at the time, but when Tony begins looking for a breakthrough to both cure his illness and make Iron Man more powerful than ever, he cites the Goliath Project.
He asks Jarvis, his A.I. assistant to "tap the Oracle grid. I need some things out of storage. Give me everything from Projects PEGASUS, EXODUS, and GOLIATH."
The first was the project handling the Tesseract up to The Avengers, and the jury is still out on what to expect from “Exodus.”
The struggle to find legitimate employment after being locked up as a thief is a major part of the story in the first Ant-Man, but the hero and his friends have turned the tables for the sequel. Sure, their workspace and vehicle may not be glamorous, but seeing Scott, Luis, Dave, and Kurt form their own security company is a nice surprise.
Especially for fans of the comics, where Scott decided to pursue a similar career by starting the fittingly-named “Ant-Man Security Solutions.” As an expert in stealing stuff, Scott reasoned, he was the best in the business to make it so one’s stuff couldn’t be stolen in the first place.
The movie tweaks the name to a more subtle, but no more attractive “X-CON Security Constultants.”
We would hope that Laurence Fishburne will take it as a compliment that no matter what roles he may play, and how many still lie ahead of him, he will always be "Morpheus" to more than one generation. The circumstances have significantly changed from The Matrix (1999) to Ant-Man & The Wasp, but he's still a brilliant teacher with knowledge of the world most everyday people would kill for.
The filmmakers can hardly be blamed for filling his chalkboard with mathematical equations, and an overt reference to "Matrix" clearly visible alongside them.
Sure, it's a math term, but... there's no way that it's a coincidence.
It wasn’t until Ant-Man was released on home video and in high-definition that fans could see, without a doubt, the silhouette of a superhero when Scott shrunk down to the Quantum Realm. Now, even Kevin Feige has confirmed Wasp’s cameo in Ant-Man, revealing that Hank’s presumed-dead wife had actually survived the process and survived in the subatomic realm of existence for decades. With the sequel, fans know to be on the lookout.
Thankfully, the filmmakers haven’t tried to keep their embedded clues a secret at all, confirming that the Quantum Realm is once again constructed with some plot threads and intriguing clues for the diehards to discover. Of course, they’ll have to get over the mind-bending combination of sprawling, limitless space… at a subatomic scale, to actually begin their hunt. Good luck.
The new supervillain Ghost turned heads in the film’s trailers, looking more like a character pulled out of the Destiny video game universe than the Marvel one. She’s got more to her than an awesome costume, though, eventually revealing herself to be Ava Starr, the quantumly-afflicted daughter of one of Hank Pym’s original colleagues. But her father, Dr. Elihas Starr, is no random scientist.
In the world of Marvel Comics, Dr. Starr was looking to turn his government-funded science into criminal profits, but was caught in the act.
An alliance with supervillains soon followed, and the newly-nicknamed “Egghead” was born. The regular villain to Ant-Man never reached the highest heights of the supervillain ranks, but it’s a nice nod all the same.
The first Ant-Man movie relied on special effects to turn Michael Douglas into a young Hank Pym, but for the sequel, the filmmakers took a different route. For the flashback showing the catastrophe witnessed by Bill Foster, and which helped to create the future Ghost, Laurence Fishburne didn’t undergo digital de-aging.
Instead, he called upon his son, actor Langston Fishburne to portray the character a few decades younger. It’s a small part, but it’s also the kind of family affair that filmmakers and film audiences tend to appreciate equally – provided the moviegoers actually know to look for the family resemblance.
There's no chance of Stan Lee not showing up for a blockbuster movie starring one of his own co-creations, and the second Ant-Man movie doesn't disappoint. After making a cameo in the first Ant-Man as a bartender in a long chain of friends-of-friends linking Sam Wilson to Scott, the veteran comic creator returns in the midst of the sequel’s biggest car chase (pun intended).
After witnessing the physics-defying shrinking powers harnessed by Ant-Man and Wasp, Lee’s character chalks it up to some pharmaceutical entertainment he took part in back in the 1960s (when the hero was created).
Since previous MCU movies confirm Stan Lee is actually working for the Watchers, we can only assume that this aside is due to that character’s own hallucinogenic history. But for fans, it’s a fantastic nod to the far-out style of fellow co-creator, artist Jack Kirby.
When Ant-Man’s daughter Cassie expresses her hopes of one day growing up to be a superhero, just like her father, it’s safe to say most viewers would share the same hope. But in Cassie’s story, she really is bound to become a full-fledged superhero, even if it is through… somewhat dangerous means. With her father recruited into the superhero community as a child, Cassie spent her life around the Avengers.
Determined to become one someday, she regularly exposed herself to Pym Particles, hoping they would imbue her with some form of superpower. It took the passing of Scott Lang to spark her transformation, but when she sought out the new Young Avengers, an argument soon caused her to grow enormous in size and strength, just like Ant-Man. Taking the name Stature, and later Stinger, Cassie Lang proved to be just as selfless a hero as any other Marvel legend.
Now, will the movies do the same, given rumors of a full-grown Cassie Lang in Avengers 4?
Thanks to the fallout from the Sokovia Accords and his criminal past, it isn’t S.H.I.E.L.D. that Scott Lang needs to worry about, but the good old-fashioned FBI. Thanks to his decision to answer Captain America’s call back in Civil War, Scott has wound up serving house arrest under the watchful eyes of the FBI – Agent Jimmy Woo, to be exact.
The role played by Randall Park is far more meaningful than most fans will realize.
Originally introduced back in 1956 as a secret agent on the hunt for “The Yellow Claw,” Asian stereotypes have informed the character from the start. But surprisingly, Woo himself was portrayed quite well, leading to a future introduction to Marvel’s comic universe alongside S.H.I.E.L.D. and later, Agents of Atlas.
As of 2013, Jimmy Woo had risen to the rank of Headmaster of the Pan-Asian School For The Unusually Gifted, a school for Asian teens with superhuman abilities. Like the Xavier School… in Mumbai.
While most superhero movie fans were enjoying the inventive action of Ant-Man & The Wasp’s first official trailer, some were paying closer attention to the music behind it all. The high-pitched guitar stings used throughout, in particular.
When one fan asked director Peyton Reed if the sounds were what they suspected, he confirmed it: the Ant-Man trailer music was an Easter Egg in itself.
The song from which those guitar stings are pulled is “Ants Invasion” by Adam & The Ants. They’re the first notes of the song, in fact. If that weren’t enough of a gag, the band’s song “Antmusic” is used in the actual movie.
Those fans who thought that Scott Lang was restricted to either his normal size, a miniaturized version, or an oversized "Giant" variation are in for a real shock. When the job requires Scott to infiltrate a school without raising suspicion, he splits the difference between his smallest and normal scale. Add in a baggy sweater, and he's an instant child.
What audiences are less likely to see is the writing on the chalkboard of the classroom, instructing students to modify a list of phrases to include plural possessive form. The sentences are only visible in full in the actual film, but one line referring to flowers "that my aunts grow" is on-brand to a clever degree rarely seen.
The set decorators deserve a real pat on the back for this easy-to-miss touch.
After all the heroes are put through in the course of the film, it’s a much-needed trip to the movies that punctuates the final scene (before the credits, at least). But if you think all the time spent pal-ing around with gigantic insects would sour one’s appetite, the choice of movie puts that theory to bed. In the improvised drive-in movie (being played on a laptop, thanks to Pym technology) the classic black-and-white horror movie features – you guessed it – giant ants, terrorizing innocent Americans.
From the looks of it,they watch the 1954 movie titled THEM!
One of the first films to tap into the nuclear paranoia of the 1950s, and the first of such films to focus on giant bugs, the movie doesn’t share much actual science with the Marvel movies… yet?
As the saying goes, size doesn’t matter. And that’s definitely one of the themes of the film – one that Hank Pym has taken to heart on a shockingly practical scale. Pym’s personal labs have always been impressive, but the sequel takes a step further into his size-agnostic mind, building the new Ant-Man headquarters out of over-sized trinkets and toys, and a wide range of objects modified to serve his purposes.
That means erector set pieces made giant to support the building, coils from cars or motorcycles sized up to reinforce, and countless other examples that fans will be able to spot on their own. The overall goal, according to the production team, is to have fans wondering if they’re watching big heroes made small, or small sets made big.
Only a handful of brilliant former superheroes would be smart enough to plan as far ahead as Hank Pym, counting on having to shrink and relocate an entire office building (and building in a convenient handle to make his future life easier). But that isn't the greatest detail for younger fans of miniaturized toys and trinkets. No, that honor goes to the way in which Hope and Hank keep their arsenal of vehicles ready at hand.
The answer, obvious to any toy fan from the 1950s onward, is a Hot Wheels storage case in the shape of a wheel and tire.
It looks like an original, too, meaning Hank kept one in his possession since its debut in the 1960s.
Granted, the ability to shrink full-sized cars to such scale and transport them wherever you want is reserved purely for Ant-Man. But we suppose brilliance has its benefits.
While the characters weren’t part of the action, Marvel had some fun pointing out that both Ant-Man and Wasp were no-shows for the Infinity War waged between Thanos and the Avengers. A battle that ultimately ended with the heroes losing, Thanos snapping, and half of all life in the universe being turned to dust in seconds. The heroes of this corner of the MCU can be forgiven for sitting it out, since the entire plot of Avengers 3 plays out over the course of mere hours. But the movie still ties into the fallout.
Fans hoping to see some larger link to the Infinity War are out of luck for now, since there’s no real way to tie the more upbeat, feel-good ending of Ant-Man & The Wasp to universal elimination. That’s what post-credits scenes are for!
In this case, Scott descends into the Quantum Realm to gather material needed to heal Ghost.
While he’s subatomic, the snap strikes, claiming the lives of Hank, Janet, and Hope, and leaving Scott completely stranded.
Now the only questions are 1) how important are those "Time Vortexes" Janet warns him about, and 2) how will his time in the Quantum Realm give the heroes an edge against Thanos in Avengers 4.
It's not every superhero movies that actually asks the audience to wonder if the FBI are the bad guys, or the good guys in opposing the superheroes. Sure, Ant-Man and Wasp have a reason to be heroes... but the Feds aren't exactly wrong to try to enforce Scott's sentence. Well, we can single out at least one agent in the FBI who falls into the "villain" category... but not for the reasons fans might think.
When Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) wants to put Scott and Hope in a bind, he reaches out to an agent at the FBI to let them know the heroes are breaking the Sokovia Accords. That agent doesn't play a role in the story, but his name - Geoffrey Ballard - sure does.
In the comics, Ballard took the name Centurion as an enemy of Iron Man, Goliath, and a few other heroes throughout his less-than-glamorous career as a supervillain.
But as a government agent who went against Marvel's heroes, it's a nice touch to include him here.
Scott puts his time on house arrest to use in a wide variety of ways, and his choice of entertainment isn't that much of a surprise. When he's "kidnapped" from home to help Hope and Hank, the audience gets a glimpse of the movie on in the background: National Lampoon's Animal House.
The scene being played involved Professor Dave Jennings, played by Donald Sutherland, engaging in some theorizing about the nature of the universe, wondering aloud if "our whole solar system could be, like, one tiny atom in the fingernail of some other giant being."
That line alone speaks to the larger figures of Marvel's cosmic universe, but Jennings' response that a single atom of our visible world "could be one little, tiny universe." A nice tease of the Quantum Realm revelations still to come in the movie's final act.
There were some who initially scoffed at the idea of superhero named "Ant-Man," but compared to naming a massive superhero "Giant-Man," the moniker is downright creative. Still, Scott ascending to over sixty feet tall is an impressive feat.
In the movie, it's deserving of a live video report on his ex-wife's TV (to the delight of their daughter, Cassie).
In the broadcast, he's officially identified as Giant-Man, making his first appearance since Captain America: Civil War.
Scott may not be adopting the superpower as a standalone superhero identity, like happened in the comics, but seeing him referred to as Giant-Man for the first time in the MCU is a historic moment. And since most of his regular heroics are done at the subatomic level, it's probably the public identity he'll be best known for.
The first Ant-Man showed Marvel fans that just about every MCU plot could be better delivered by Luis, Scott Lang's trusted friend (played by Michael Pena). The grand finale to the film even fell to his rapid style of recap, linking Scott to the Avengers (leading to his eventual recruitment by Cap).
But a short section of his dialogue took on all new meaning after the film released, with him claiming that in the world of Marvel movies, "we got everything nowadays. We got a guy who jumps. We got a guy who swings, we got a guy who crawls up the walls. You gotta be more specific."
Fans hoped that reference to a wall-crawler was a nod to Spider-Man joining the MCU. Official voices cited it only as a joke... before Spider-Man joined the MCU, retroactively making Luis a seer of things to come.
So now that Luis decided that "X-CON" was a perfect style of branding (and not "Ex-Con," which would make more sense), is it another case of the X marking the spot?
Here's hoping Ant-Man 3 sees Luis have to come up with a new name when they hear from the X-Men of Marvel's combined movie universe.
Those are all of the Ant-Man & the Wasp Easter eggs, subtle secrets, cameos, and movie references that we could spot. Did you notice any others? Let us know in the comments.