Ant-Man and the Wasp was originally going to tie much more explicitly into the ending of Avengers: Infinity War. In the theatrical cut of Ant-Man and the Wasp the after-credits scene is set at the exact same time as the finale of the huge Avengers crossover. While Scott Lang, otherwise known as Ant-Man, is traveling in the Quantum Realm the entire Van Dyne family - Hope, Hank and Janet - are victims of Thanos’ infamous snap. They are killed in Thanos' purge of half of the universe's population.
Yet for those who didn’t watch Avengers: Infinity War the after-credits scene of Ant-Man and the Wasp doesn’t make much sense. Hope, Hank and Janet's deaths aren’t shown on-screen. Instead they suddenly disappear leaving nothing but dust clouds in their wake. According to Wasp actress Evangeline Lilly, though, the Van Dyne’s dusting was filmed but was cut for creative reasons.
In anticipation of Ant-Man and the Wasp’s home release Lilly talked to Screen Rant about the film’s after-credit sequence. The actress who plays Hope Van Dyne explained that the scene was much more robust during filming. However it was completed well in advance of Avengers: Infinity War’s release. This lack of foreknowledge is the main reason the sequence was cut. Lilly elaborating saying:
We shot the Snappening. We shot ourselves being dissolved. There was actually a-- They just took it out in the end. It was more dramatic, I think. He just cut back to floating ash and empty space. Then cutting back to watching us react to becoming dust. And I have to tell you, I'm so grateful that they did cut that out. Because at that point I have not seen Avengers: Infinity War. So, I had really no idea what a dusting looked like, or felt like, or what's supposed to be, and I don't think Peyton [Reed] really did either. … Once I watched Avengers: Infinity War, I realized I dusted terribly. I did a really bad job of that. I had no idea really what was happening. And I'm so glad that they cut it out because I don't think I would have been convincing at all. I think I made it look much more like an ascension to heaven than a torturous end.
Ant-Man and the Wasp’s after-credits sequence might’ve confused the casual MCU fan but if Lilly’s recollection is correct, it seems like the movie made the right decision in cutting the dusting. Any effort Ant-Man and the Wasp took to tie into the MCU would’ve been undone if the characters’ ends didn’t match up with the rest of Thanos’ victims. There are variety of death reactions in Infinity War from Spider-Man’s traumatic fear to Nick Fury’s exasperated anger. Across the board, none of Thanos’ victims enjoyed their demise. Yet according to Lilly, Hope Van Dyne not only accepted her dusting but found it pleasurable.
Perhaps what’s more interesting about Lilly’s explanation isn't what was originally intended for the movie. Rather it's that none of the Ant-Man and the Wasp cast and crew knew about the details of Infinity War's ending during filming. Obviously there was some forethought that the Van Dynes would die due to Thanos’ actions. Yet it’s bizarre that there was evidently no discussion between Ant-Man and the Wasp director Peyton Reed and Infinity War directors the Russo brothers about how the characters should respond to the dusting. The MCU is notoriously spoiler-phobic but this is overkill.
On the other hand, part of the appeal of Ant-Man and the Wasp (and the Ant-Man series so far) is that it feels radically different from the rest of the MCU. Ant-Man has always felt like it’s taken place in its own special corner of the cinematic universe and Reed has been left alone to make that happen. So perhaps it’s not surprising there wasn’t much discussion about Infinity War’s end. However with Paul Rudd and Lilly both confirmed to appear in Avengers 4, the cross-pollination between Ant-Man and the rest of the MCU could become much more obvious.
- 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 02, 2019