Theory: Ant-Man's Role in Thanos's Defeat is Time Travel
Ant-Man & the Wasp is a thrilling, upbeat story - at least until the mid-credits scene, which is set immediately after the "snap." In this scene, Ant-Man enters the Quantum Realm to collect mysterious "healing particles" to help Ghost remain in phase with reality. Unfortunately for Scott Lang, he's actually inside the Quantum Realm at the moment of the "snap." Everybody who knew he was in the Quantum Realm - Janet, Hope, and Hank - are killed by Thanos. As a result, Scott is stranded there.
According to Hank Pym, the Quantum Realm is "a reality where all concepts of time and space become irrelevant." So far, that hasn't been seen in many tangible ways, but the potential of the microverse is massive; Kevin Feige suggested that there are "various levels" to the Quantum Realm, and the laws of the universe apply in different ways at each level. That's why Janet was able to age while she was trapped; she didn't go deep enough into that mysterious dimension to prevent time from applying to her. Presumably, the Quantum Realm is best imagined like a series of concentric circles; the deeper you go, the more those laws of reality cease to apply. It may be possible to travel through time by diving into the very heart of the Quantum Realm. Alternatively, the mid-credits scene also saw Janet warn Scott not to get trapped in any "time vortexes." Should Scott unwittingly stumble into one of these time vortexes, he could conceivably be projected forwards in time.
There's abundant evidence that Avengers 4 will be a time-travel film of some kind, and as it stands Ant-Man - by being trapped in the Quantum Realm in the mid-credits scene - is perfectly positioned to uncover the secret of how it works. Indeed, it's important to note that Emma Fuhrmann has been cast in Avengers 4 as an older Cassie Lang, one about five or six years older than her current age as played by Abby Ryder Fortson. That suggests Avengers 4 will jump forwards in time by about five or six years. If this is when Scott emerges from the Quantum Realm into a post-snap world, then he's living proof of non-Time Stone travel, opening up the opportunity to try and undo Thanos' attack.
That's a key role, one that might have been foreseen...
Did Doctor Strange Enable Scott to be Trapped?
Based on our understanding of Avengers 4, Ant-Man is going to be an essential part of the attempt to defeat Thanos, and it all comes from a series of incredible coincidence. Had Doctor Strange surrendered the Time Stone to Thanos a few minutes earlier, then the "snap" would have happened before Ant-Man entered the Quantum Realm. If Strange delayed Thanos for even a minute more, Scott would have exited the Quantum Realm. The timing is remarkably precise, so much so that it raises the possibility that Doctor Strange orchestrated events to ensure Scott Lang was stranded in the Quantum Realm.
While it's been confirmed that Ant-Man didn't survive because of the Quantum Realm, his location at the time of the snap is essential. Sure, it could be a coincidence, but if the MCU is currently in its 1 in 14 million chance of Thanos being defeated, Doctor Strange's involvement seems more likely.
If this is correct, then Ant-Man & the Wasp is one of the most crucial parts of Doctor Strange's "endgame." Had Stephen Strange timed things even a little differently, Scott would never have been trapped within the Quantum Realm - and he'd consequently never have learned that time travel is possible. Without that knowledge, Thanos's triumph could have been truly complete.
- 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