Marvel visionary Kevin Feige has teased the importance of the Quantum Realm to the future of the MCU; according to Feige, the Quantum Realm is "a whole other territory" in which Marvel can set their films - and there are countless adventures that could be set at that level.
The Quantum Realm was first introduced in 2015's Ant-Man, when Scott Lang shrank beyond subatomic size and found himself in a dimension where the laws of time and space were completely irrelevant. It's actually derived from real-world theories of quantum mechanics, which postulate that were you to shrink beyond a certain size, the laws of the universe would break down. It's since become clear that the Quantum Realm will play an important role in the future of the MCU. Ant-Man & the Wasp saw Hank Pym explore it for the first time, the Quantum Realm is confirmed to crop up in Captain Marvel, and a popular theory is that Earth's surviving heroes will use it to travel through time in Avengers 4.
In an interview published in Marvel Studios: The First 10 Years, Kevin Feige confirmed that the Quantum Realm will be a significant part of the MCU going forward.
"At the end of Ant-Man we followed Scott Lang into the Quantum Realm for the first time. We were beginning to peel back the onion that would later be completely peeled back in Doctor Strange as we go into the multiverse. So that was our little test into that.
But now the Quantum Realm is a whole other territory that we can play with to tell our stories. This Quantum Realm is much larger than we ever imagined, and there are all sorts of adventures to be had at that level, which perhaps we will explore in another film."
There are really two key takeaways from Feige's statement. The first is a potentially crucial note that, when Marvel Studios uses the word "multiverse," it's possible they're using the word in a different way to comic book readers. In the comics, the term "multiverse" is used to denote parallel timelines - say, alternate realities where Apocalypse rules the Earth, or where Tony Stark is a woman. In contrast, Marvel Studios appear to be consistently using the word to refer to other planes of reality that sit either above or below our own. That's the sense in which Doctor Strange properly introduced the concept of the multiverse to the MCU.
The second takeaway, of course, is just how important the Quantum Realm appears to be to the future of the film franchise. Certainly it appears that Marvel imagine the Quantum Realm as inhabited. A deleted scene for Ant-Man & the Wasp included a glimpse of alien civilizations living within it. Meanwhile, concept art for that film showed so many ideas that never made it to the big screen - including what Marvel called a "quantum memory palace," a Nexus at the heart of the Quantum Realm where people could access their own memories and actually change history. There really do seem to be an almost unlimited number of ideas that could be explored through the Quantum Realm.
Given the impending Disney/Fox acquisition, there's intense speculation among fans that the Quantum Realm will be used to introduce the Fantastic Four. Rather than explore outer space, they could instead shrink down beyond subatomic size and voyage into the Quantum Realm. Janet Van Dyne was said to have evolved due to her time in the Quantum Realm, so that could neatly explain how the Fantastic Four get their powers in the MCU.
- 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 05, 2019