Warning! MAJOR SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War ahead!
That isn't to say these films won't have any be clues as to what might happen when Phase 3 officially comes to a close with Avengers 4, but they are not direct continuations of the MCU's timeline following Thanos' devastating finger snap. Instead, Ant-Man & The Wasp will more fully explore the fallout from Captain America: Civil War (and specifically as it relates to Paul Rudd's Scott Lang) and Captain Marvel is expected to be a deep-dive into the history of the MCU, taking place years before Tony Stark announced "I am Iron Man."
Audiences might think it strange to release these films out of order, but it's likely that information revealed in both Ant-Man & The Wasp and Captain Marvel has an important role to play in Avengers 4 - possibly even revealing how the devastation Thanos wrought in Infinity War can be reversed.
Ant-Man & The Wasp: After Civil War But Before Infinity War
In Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man's absence is explained as him having cut a deal with the U.S. Government following his arrest in Captain America: Civil War. Citing family hardship, both Scott Lang and Clint Barton agree to serve out the remainder of their sentences on house arrest. And while this is the reason given in the film for why Ant-Man isn't available when the greatest threat the universe has ever faced is at Earth's front door, it may also not be the whole truth.
Ant-Man & The Wasp is expected to focus heavily on the search for Janet van Dyne, which means that Ant-Man and Wasp's absence from Infinity War may be more closely tied to their adventures in the Quantum Realm - a subatomic reality where "all concepts of time and space become irrelevant" - than it is Scott's house arrest. Whether they, too, become trapped in this strange realm is unclear, but seeing as the Quantum Realm doesn't adhere to normal physics, there's no telling what they might discover. And with Ant-Man & The Wasp being touted as the film most connected to Infinity War, it's possible that the secrets of the Quantum Realm may reveal how Thanos' eradication of half the universe can be undone.
Captain Marvel: Set Before Most of the MCU
In Avengers: Infinity War's post-credit scene, the MCU sets the stage for Captain Marvel's entrance to the MCU, hinting at her being a last line of defense were the Earth to come under attack. This raises some pretty big questions, though, like where has she been? And where is she now?
It's no secret that Carol Danvers is heading all the way back to the 1990s for her MCU origin, but what may not be as well known is that her film will also revisit the Quantum Realm. It isn't known exactly how the Quantum Realm will be used in Captain Marvel, but it's been confirmed that it will provide us with a "better understanding of Carol Danvers and her place in the MCU." This seems to imply that the subatomic reality plays a role in either bringing Carol from the past to the present day or, as one theory suggests, bringing her from an alternate reality into that of the MCU.
However Captain Marvel connects with the rest of the MCU, she's expected to take part in the action of Avengers 4. And with time travel already a real possibility for that film, it may just be that the Quantum Realm isn't only key to restoring the universe, but in allowing Captain Marvel to answer Nick Fury's distress call.
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 release date: