Just how does the Quantum Realm fit into Captain Marvel? Introduced in 2015's Ant-Man, the Quantum Realm is a mysterious dimension that's outside the normal laws of time and space. "It won't be apparent for years," Kevin Feige noted while promoting Ant-Man, "but the whole notion of the Quantum Realm and the whole notion of going to places that are so out there, they are almost mind-bendingly hard to fathom. It all plays into Phase Three."
Hank Pym discovered the Quantum Realm while experimenting with the Pym Particles, and initially believed that anyone who entered this dimension would be lost forever. Ant-Man revealed that he was wrong, though, with Scott Lang showing was possible to survive in the Quantum Realm; thus the sequel, Ant-Man & the Wasp, focused on Pym's attempts to rescue his long-lost wife from it. The film also introduced us to Ghost, a woman whose body had been exposed to Quantum energy and who was slightly out of phase with our reality. The post-credits scene saw Scott Lang stranded in the Quantum Realm after Thanos snapped his fingers and half the life in the universe was erased from existence - including everybody who knew where Scott was.
It's generally believed that the Quantum Realm will be particularly important to the plot of Avengers 4. The most popular theory is that Scott will escape, perhaps via a time vortex, and make his way to the Avengers; Stark will hit upon the idea of using the Quantum Realm to travel through time, rewriting history in order to avert the snap. If this mysterious plane of reality really is so important to the future of the MCU, though, shouldn't we also expect it to crop up in Captain Marvel?
- This Page: Do Captain Marvel's Powers Come From The Quantum Realm?
- Page 2: The Quantum Realm's Connection To The Kree - And Thanos
Captain Marvel Will Be Linked to the Quantum Realm
The Quantum Realm is essentially the brainchild of Dr. Spiros Michalakis, a quantum physicist recruited by Marvel back in 2014. As he reflected in a blog post, Michalakis was brought in as a consultant to help the studio work out the pseudo-science behind Ant-Man. According to quantum mechanics, if you shrink beyond a certain point then the laws of time and space break down, and that's where the Quantum Realm comes in; by accessing this plane of existence, in theory, you'd be able to rewrite the scientific laws of the universe and even travel through time. In fact, Michalakis was even the one who came up with the name; Marvel couldn't use the term "Microverse" for legal reasons, and asked him for ideas.
Back in 2017, Michalakis conducted a follow-up interview in which he talked about the story potential of the Quantum Realm. Crucially, the scientist hinted that the Quantum Realm would indeed be important to Captain Marvel. "This is exciting for the future," he explained. "There are different ways that some of these ideas appear on-screen in a few years. Not just for Ant-Man, but also for Captain Marvel and all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe."
But how exactly will the Quantum Realm figure into this film? Until the release of the first Captain Marvel trailer, there was simply no way to know. Now, though, a theory is coming together; perhaps, in the MCU, the Quantum Realm is the source of Carol Danvers' powers.
Captain Marvel's Powers Could Come from the Quantum Realm
The Captain Marvel trailer shows a brief glimpse of the hero's origin. It looks as though Air Force pilot Carol Danvers gains her powers after being exposed to unknown energy when a device explodes in her proximity. That's a similar origin to the comics, where Carol was transformed when she was stood next to the Kree Psyche-Magnetron when it went critical. But, while the broad-brush approach may be the same, this may not be a Psyche-Magnetron. Instead, it must be noted that the energy flare in the trailer looks very familiar indeed; it's just like the Quantum Realm explosions we saw in Ant-Man & the Wasp. Another scene in the trailer appears to show the aftermath of this explosion, with Carol's hand generating the same kind of energy.
Ant-Man & the Wasp revealed that exposure to energy from the Quantum Realm can grant superpowers; both Janet Van Dyne and Ghost were transformed due to Quantum energies. It's possible that Carol has stumbled upon some sort of Kree Quantum technology, perhaps damaged after a crash; when she investigates, she gets too close and is caught up in the blast.
According to Kevin Feige, Captain Marvel will be the strongest hero introduced into the MCU to date. Perhaps that's because she taps into the almost-unlimited power of the Quantum Realm itself. Significantly, in the comics, Carol has the ability to go "Binary," drawing energy through an inter-dimensional breach known as a "White Hole." The Captain Marvel trailer ended with a scene in which Carol appears to do just that, but it's possible that, in the MCU, Carol is the inter-dimensional breach - drawing upon the energies of the Quantum Realm.