Why Marvel Studios Has to Call the Microverse the Quantum Realm


At the end of the first Ant-Man film, Scott Lang was forced to alter his suit's size regulator to shrink to such a small size that he entered into the Quantum Realm, a sort of microscopic universe that is outside of time and space. Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, lost his wife, Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp, to the Quantum Realm when she had to alter her suit's size regulator to defuse a nuclear missile. Pym assumed that she had died when she entered the realm, but when Scott was able to return to the normal, microscopic world after his quick sojourn to the Quantum Realm, Pym realized that Janet might still be alive.

Therefore, the upcoming Ant-Man sequel, Ant-Man and The Wasp, will likely deal with an attempt to bring Janet back from the Quantum Realm. This, of course, brings up the question of what exactly is the Quantum Realm. Is it something from the comic books or is it new to the movies? As it turns out, it is something that has had a long history in the comics, but under a different name. Here, we will give you the comic book history of the Quantum Realm, under its comic book name, the Microverse!

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Technically speaking, if you look into the entire history of the Marvel Universe, the idea of the Microverse was introduced in a 1943 issue of Captain America Comics, where acclaimed science fiction pulp writer Ray Cummings adapted his 1919 story about a microverse (then described as a world within an atom), "The Girl in the Golden Atom," into a two-part Captain America Comics story called "The Princess in the Atom," where Captain America and Bucky end up traveling to a sub-atomic world known as Mita.

This is mostly interesting because it is rare that a comic book of the era to do a knock off of a science fiction story and actually be written by the writer who they were knocking off. So that's an interesting little piece of comic book history there.

Seriously speaking, though, the Microverse really showed up in the Marvel Universe in Fantastic Four #16 (by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers). You see, in Fantastic Four #10 (by Lee, Kirby and Ayers), Doctor Doom tried to kill the Fantastic Four by using a shrink ray on them that would reduce them to, well, nothingness. He accidentally got blasted by the ray himself, though, and seemingly dies...

Six issues later, though, we see that he just shrunk down into a Micro-World, which he quickly conquered (this is Doctor Doom here, after all)...

With the idea established, Lee and Kirby soon would re-visit the Microverse repeatedly, including introducing a new villain in Fantastic Four Annual #5 (by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott), the Psycho-Man, who hailed from the Microverse (note that the term "Microverse" had not yet been coined, so they just used stuff like "Micro-Galaxy", "Micro-World, etc.) ...

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The Silver Surfer also once hid in the Microverse when Galactus returned to Earth to try to get his old herald back.

Famously, the Hulk also visited a sub-atomic world (that existed on the Hulk's pants) and fell in love with a princess there named Jarella...

The Microverse was visited a few more times over the years, but it was not until 1979 that it was really defined in a new Marvel comic book series that is the reason why Marvel can't call the Microverse the Microverse in the films...

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