Back in 2015, while producer Kevin Feige was on the promotional tour for the first Ant-Man movie, he teased, “It won’t be apparent for years, 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.”
As we’ve seen from Ant-Man and the Wasp’s puzzling and seemingly pivotal post-credits scene, the Quantum Realm will play a huge role in the plot to defeat Thanos once and for all in Avengers: Endgame. So, here are 10 Questions About The Quantum Realm, Answered.
At the end of Ant-Man, after his climactic battle with Yellowjacket, Scott Lang finds himself stranded in the Quantum Realm. It seems like he won’t make it out, since Hank Pym previously told him that if he did find himself there, his days would be numbered.
But then he alters his own suit, switching out the shrinking device for an enlarging device, and that’s what allows him to get himself out of there and continue his burgeoning career as a superhero. This also helped to further Pym’s understanding of the realm, leading him closer to saving his wife in the sequel.
When the first trailer for Avengers: Endgame was released, we saw a number of surprising revelations about the characters, post-Infinity War: Shuri was confirmed to be dead, Tony Stark was preparing to die alone in outer space, and Thanos was living a peaceful life as a farmer. But perhaps the biggest revelation was that Scott Lang had somehow gotten out of the Quantum Realm.
After the events of Ant-Man and the Wasp, we saw him stranded there while Thanos snapped his fingers. Everyone who could get him out turned to dust. Somehow, he has escaped the Quantum Realm and taken Luis’ van to Avengers HQ. How? Well, most fans believe he’s not really Scott Lang, but rather a Skrull (or Loki) disguised as Scott Lang to win the trust of the Avengers.
Any fan who saw Captain Marvel would be forgiven for thinking she could do pretty much anything, because she pretty much can. She has basically every superpower in the book and can absorb the energy from the powers she doesn’t have.
But can she enter the Quantum Realm? Dr. Spiros Michalakis, the quantum physicist who devised the realm for Marvel, seems to have hinted at it: “This is exciting for the future. 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.”
Ant-Man and the Wasp might as well have been called Quantum Realm: The Movie, because it served as a feature-length lecture on the science of the mysterious realm ahead of Avengers: Endgame, whose plot will likely revolve heavily around traveling in and out of it to defeat Thanos.
One of Ant-Man and the Wasp’s villains was Ava Starr, better known as Ghost, who skipped in and out of Earthly existence to trick her foes. This is partly down to the Quantum Realm. When she was a little girl, her father’s attempt at a Quantum Tunnel exploded and she was imbued with quantum energy that gave her the power of “Quantum Phasing.”
The design of the Quantum Realm was actually inspired by the similarly surreal visuals of the Disneyland ride Adventure Thru Inner Space. The futuristic sci-fi ride could be found in the park’s Tomorrowland section.
Peyton Reed, the director of both Ant-Man movies, has actually expressed interest in either retooling the ride or developing a new one to immerse fans in the Quantum Realm: “I would love to do an Ant-Man thing [at a Disney theme park] where you put the audience down on that level.” He said that he would want the potential ride to be “experiential” for the audience.
After Peyton Reed promised fans that Ant-Man and the Wasp’s Quantum Realm sequences would be full of Easter eggs, they all went poring through every frame of those scenes to see what they could detect. One fan discovered a city confined to a bubble somewhere in the background of a Quantum Realm scene.
This seems to suggest that the Quantum Realm is a vast, mostly unexplored parallel dimension – so vast that it contains an entire subatomic city in a bubble. Some fans have theorized that the Black Knight is living in that city. It’s a stretch, but he has to be introduced into the MCU somehow.
In Ant-Man and the Wasp, before Scott Lang enters the Quantum Realm, Janet Van Dyne tells him, “Don’t get sucked into a time vortex – we won’t be able to save you.” What the heck is a time vortex? Well, it’s actually way too sinister for Janet to be this blasé about it.
Time vortexes are swirling masses of time (as in, the concept of time) that can suck you in and spit you out somewhere else in the timeline. The reason why people who get sucked into time vortexes can’t be saved is that their rescuers wouldn’t know where or when to start looking for them – they could’ve been catapulted into the distant past or the distant future for all they know.
Yes, he can, and he has. In Doctor Strange, the Ancient One tells the Sorcerer Supreme, “You think that this material universe is all there is? What is real? What mysteries lie beyond the reach of your senses? At the root of existence, mind and matter meet. Thoughts shape reality. This universe is only one of an infinite number. Worlds without end. Some benevolent and life-giving, others filled with malice and hunger. Dark places, where powers older than time lie. Ravenous, and waiting.”
Then she sends Strange to a bunch of different dimensions and realms, one of which is the Quantum Realm, according to Scott Derrickson’s DVD commentary: “This image here is obviously a nod to Ant-Man and the Quantum Realm, acknowledging that as one of the mysterious realms of existence.”
The Quantum Realm does appear in the comics, but it’s not called the Quantum Realm. It’s called the Microverse. It’s the exact same thing – a tiny dimension packed between every alternate reality that can only be accessed by mystical teleportation or subatomic shrinking – but it just goes by a different name in the comics.
The reason for this is that Marvel Studios doesn’t own the rights to the word “Microverse.” Paramount Pictures got that word in its film rights to the Micronauts franchise, so Marvel had to make up a new name for it and they chose “the Quantum Realm.”
While the Quantum Realm is very real in the MCU, it’s pretty difficult to get into. There are two ways to enter the realm. You can get in via magical teleportation if you happen to have a Sling Ring like Doctor Strange, or you can get in by shrinking down so small that you’re smaller than atoms themselves.
This can only be done using Hank Pym’s Pym Particles technology, which is how Janet Van Dyne got stranded in there and how Scott Lang gets in and out of it in Ant-Man and the Wasp. This may be what the Avenger’s new white suits are for.