WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for Ant-Man and the Wasp.
The tease at the end of the Ant-Man and the Wasp credits makes Marvel Studios' secrecy around which heroes will return in Avengers 4 more confusing for movie fans. The cliffhanger ending of Avengers: Infinity War left half the Marvel Cinematic Universe dead, with Thanos' snap balancing the known universe by wiping out half its occupants. Since Infinity War premiered, those involved with Avengers 4 have remained adamant the heroes who were dusted aren't necessarily going to return (despite Tom Holland filming Spider-Man: Far From Home and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 stars confirming their involvement in the threequel).
Marvel Studios' "dead" hero gimmick gets all the more complicated with the recent release of Ant-Man and the Wasp. Much of the movie is set prior to the events of Infinity War and, in fact, deals more with the fallout of 2016's Captain America: Civil War. However, the Ant-Man and the Wasp post-credits scenes directly tie into Infinity War, revealing Hank Pym, Hope van Dyne and Janet van Dyne were dusted by Thanos' snap, leaving Scott Lang trapped in the Quantum Realm ahead of Avengers 4. Further, at the very end of the Ant-Man and the Wasp credits, there's a screen that reads, "Ant-Man and the Wasp will return," with a question mark appearing after a moment. So what does that mean for Avengers 4?
For casual MCU fans, the "will return" line may be more confusing than anything else, since viewers just saw both versions of the Wasp - Hope and Janet - disintegrate into dust. Of course, it's possible that a new version of the Wasp appears in Avengers 4 (or another future Marvel movie). Or, since time moves differently in the Quantum Realm, Scott could run into a previous version of the Wasp who will help him escape the microverse and team up with Earth's Mightiest Heroes. What keeps the "will return" card from directly confirming heroes dusted by Thanos' snap will return in Avengers 4 is the question mark that appears at the end of the line.
Those who follow news about the MCU's movies closely, especially news of upcoming releases, know it's unlikely all the characters who died in Avengers: Infinity War will stay dead. Thanos' snap left the original Avengers alive - with a handful of allies - while newer heroes bit the dust. But characters like Tom Holland's Spider-Man and Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther are expected to be the future of the MCU, meaning they'll somehow need to return. If they can return, why can't all the other characters who were dusted return as well? However, instead of allowing that some, if not all the heroes will return in Avengers 4, Marvel Studios has chosen to double down on the secrecy regarding the Phase 3 capper and Infinity War's "dead" heroes.
As a result, though Ant-Man and the Wasp's ending tease that both Ant-Man and the Wasp "will return?" was likely intended as a tongue-in-cheek nod to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, it makes the disconnect between Marvel Studios and Marvel fans even worse. Marvel wants fans to believe the heroes who died in Infinity War are really dead because that gives the movie's ending more weight, and will make their return that much more surprising. However, Marvel fans already know certain heroes will return - it's just a matter of how many and which characters will be revived.
In fact, we already know for certain that Hope van Dyne will be revived since Lilly confirmed her Wasp is in Avengers 4. So, Marvel Studios may be trying to keep Avengers 4 as secret as possible, and the Ant-Man and the Wasp ending tease ensures fans are still (mostly) in the dark - but that's not necessarily a good thing.
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Untitled Avengers Movie (2019) release date: May 03, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019