Infinity War has come and gone, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe rolls on. Next up to bat, Ant-Man and the Wasp, coming only a scant few months after Infinity War. With everyone still a bit traumatized after Thanos did his thing, it'll be nice to get a lighter, more comedic movie. Fortunately for everyone involved, Ant-Man and the Wasp is confirmed to take place before Infinity War, removing the possibility of Death by Thanos... for now, anyway. It's somewhat reasonable to expect that the movie will explain just where Ant-Man and the Wasp were during Infinity War.
But naturally, since this is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans are cooking up a storm of theories to get ready for the release. A large number of theories surrounding the movie before Infinity War involved just how it would be tied to the Avengers franchise. Perhaps the most popular theory involved the Soul Stone appearing. Obviously, those theories went out the window with the Soul Stone's appearance in Infinity War. In turn, castings, posters and a brand new trailer have sparked a whole slew of rumors and theories surrounding the movie. And since we here at CBR love you dearly, we put together a list of some of the best!
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS INFINITY WAR SPOILERS
15 TEENAGED CASSIE IS A SUPERHERO IN AVENGERS 4
We're off to a good start, with a theory that isn't even about Ant-Man and the Wasp. In the comics, Ant-Man Scott Lang's daughter is the teenaged superhero Stature. Unlike her father and Hank Pym, her growth and shrinking powers are inherent due to exposure to Pym Particles. After her father's death in Avengers Disassembled, she joins the Young Avengers, along with other copies of classic Avengers templates. She later dies in battle with Doctor Doom, and is later still resurrected by a morally-inverted Doom. Although she is depowered and de-aged, she still wants to fight crime alongside her father.
In the MCU, Cassie is considerably younger than her comics counterpart., but several rumors point to the untitled Infinity War followup taking place at least partially in the future.
Robert Downey, Jr. has been spotted in leaked set photos in aging makeup, complete with greying hair. But most notable is the casting of newish talent Emma Fuhrman as a teenaged Cassie Lang. Fans immediately jumped to theorizing that she would become a superhero after the Thanos-fueled demise of so many heroes in Infinity War. Further speculation included theories that the rest of the Young Avengers, notably Wiccan, Speed, and Patriot, would also appear in Avengers 4.
14 SOMEONE'S GETTING SNAPPED
Hey, here are those Infinity War spoilers for you! If you haven't seen it by now, you'd best get on it because we're not stopping. At the end of Infinity War, Thanos wins. He collects the sixth and final Infinity Stone, snaps his fingers, and instantly wipes out half of all life in the universe. Audiences across the globe were heartbroken to see some of their favorite characters disappear before their eyes (we're missing Mantis the most). "But wait," we hear you say, "Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place before Infinity War! Surely my beloved Scott and Hope are safe from the Snappening!"
To that we respond, MAYBE. Ant-Man and the Wasp does take place before Infinity War, but not so far before that the possibility of a crossover is completely unfounded. After all, a post-credits scene could easily bring us up to date with the characters and what they were up to. Fortunately, we've seen leaked set photos of Avengers 4 with Ant-Man. But since the Wasp was absent, this sent fans into a spiral, theorizing everyone besides Scott Lang would be dusted. Most theories center around Hope being killed, although others point to Hank and a freshly-rescued Janet van Dyne.
13 SCOTT AND HOPE RESCUE JANET FROM THE QUANTUM REALM
Speaking of Janet van Dyne, did you know Michelle Pfeiffer has been cast as Janet van Dyne, the original Wasp? She even shows up on a poster, and possibly in the second trailer. From the trailers, we've seen Scott return the Quantum Realm, which you may remember is where Janet shrank down into in Ant-Man. With Pfeiffer's casting, fans began to speculate that some portion of Ant-Man and the Wasp would involve rescuing Janet from the Quantum Realm.
Reuniting the Pym-van Dyne family could be exactly the kind of uplifting moment the MCU needs after Infinity War.
Trailers seemed to confirm this, first showing Ant-Man in the Quantum Realm once again. Later in the trailer, we see a sort of Fantastic Voyage-type ship. This started to spark theories that both Scott and Hope would travel to the Quantum Realm, possibly even with Hank in tow. After all, the movie is called Ant-Man and the Wasp. While obviously it refers to Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne, there could also be an additional layer of meaning. After all, Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne were also Ant-Man and the Wasp. Reuniting the Pym-van Dyne family could be exactly the kind of uplifting moment the MCU needs after Infinity War. On the other hand, it could just end up being constructing an even higher ledge to knock us down from when one or more of the Ant-Crew gets dusted.
12 THERE'S A TIMESKIP AFTER LEAVING THE QUANTUM REALM
One interesting part of the possible Quantum Realm plotline comes from the first Ant-Man. In it, Hank Pym explains that laws of physics don't work as we understand them there, including time. Firstly, this might explain the 14-year age gap between Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer. More importantly, it brings up a particularly interesting possibility to explain Ant-Man and the Wasp's whereabouts during Infinity War. There's the very real possibility that they were in the Quantum Realm for a seemingly normal amount of time, only to return having missed Thanos' attack entirely.
It could also possibly protect the Ant-Crew from the Snappening, as Thanos was very clearly only covering this universe. The Quantum Realm is essentially the movie counterpart to the comics' Microverse, an entire universe hidden away at subatomic size. It's possibly that the Infinity Stones and Gauntlet don't cover separate universes, as Thanos' goal is quite clearly only to cover THE universe, not the myriad multiverses Ant-Man and Doctor Strange have been dipping their toes in. While it would be a sigh of relief to not see these characters turn to dust, it would also still be a bit of a gutpunch to see them discover half the universe has been deleted in their absence.
11 INTRODUCES THE REAL MICROVERSE
In the comics, the Quantum Realm's equivalent is the Microverse. An entire universe hidden away at subatomic size, it has large populations of intelligent beings, forming full-fledged civilizations, complete with advanced technology. Tracing its origins back to World War II-era Captain America comics, it became a regular destination for the Fantastic Four in the Silver Age. Surprisingly, the various Pym Particle powered heroes don't interact with it that frequently. Hank Pym went there occasionally, but Scott Lang only rarely shrinks down to that size, and Eric O'Grady almost never does.
The Quantum Realm is a little more central to the movie versions of Pym and Lang.
After all, Pym's wife is lost in there, and Scott shrank down that far to escape the Yellowjacket in Ant-Man. With Ant-Man and the Wasp trailers teasing a return to the Quantum Realm, fans began speculating that the actual, populated Microverse would make an appearance. Possibly as a place hidden within the Quantum Realm, possibly on a level even smaller than the Quantum Realm. Some fans even speculated that Janet would actually be in the Microverse, living out a life. The introduction of the real Microverse could play into the steadily growing MCU multiverse, first introduced in Doctor Strange.
10 INTRODUCES THE REAL MULTIVERSE
One of the greatest strengths, and one of the greatest weaknesses, of shared superhero comics universes, is the vast and sprawling multiverse. With it, an infinite number of stories can be told, without regard to mainline continuity. DC plays the concept to the hilt, creating some of the greatest comics of all time within their multiverse: The Dark Knight Returns. Multiversity. Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew. Marvel, on the other hand, devoted an entire line of comics to an alternate universe, with Ultimate Comics. Although Ultimate Comics is gone, and the Ultimate universe with it, Marvel's multiverse is still infinitely vast. Even the Marvel Cinematic Universe is an official Earth within the multiverse.
Meanwhile, Wasp actress Evangeline Lilly revealed that the Quantum Realm adventures in Ant-Man and the Wasp could introduce the MCU to an entire new multiverse. Although Ant-Man dipped its toe in with the initial appearance of the Quantum Realm, and Doctor Strange entered the Dark Dimension to confront Dormammu, neither dealt with the multiverse, at least as comics fans are familiar with it. Fans speculated that Ant-Man and the Wasp would introduce a traditional multiverse, complete with alternate versions of characters. This might even tie in with Avengers 4's possible time travel plot.
9 DOCTOR STRANGE WILL APPEAR
How many entries can one list have about the Quantum Realm? A lot, apparently. While 2015's Ant-Man introduced the Quantum Realm, it was 2016's Doctor Strange that started dimension hopping; first with the Mirror Dimension, then with Dormammu's Dark Dimension. Because Strange is so tied to alternate universe shenanigans (complete with viewing alternate timelines), fans began speculating that Strange would appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp, to lend his multidimensional expertise to the main heroes. With Thor: Ragnarok, it's already established that Strange is keeping an eye on magical and interdimensional threats to the world, so seeing him appear to assist in an interdimensional journey seems obvious.
Furthermore, it would slightly ease the pain of Infinity War to see at least one character alive and well, even if their forthcoming death by Snappening looms.
There is also, in fact, precedent for dusted characters appearing in the two intervening movies. After all, a younger Nick Fury is set to appear in Captain Marvel, to set up their connection that Fury calls in the Infinity War stinger. So the possibility of an appearance by Strange certainly isn't off the table, and it makes sense, given the possible nature of the story.
8 FLASHBACK TO HANK AND JANET'S COLD WAR ADVENTURES
Let's take a break from Quantum Realm theories -- don't worry, we'll be looping back around. A key part of Ant-Man's backstory involves Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne working for S.H.I.E.L.D. during the Cold War as the Ant-Man and the Wasp. The Wasp is tragically lost to the Quantum Realm disarming a Soviet nuclear missile. This causes Hank to withdraw into himself, neglecting his daughter and eventually quitting S.H.I.E.L.D. With the release of the second trailer, fans caught a glimpse of Janet's Wasp suit, kicking names and taking butts. This brought up the possibility that we'll see more and larger-scale flashbacks to Hank and Janet's superhero days.
With Captain Marvel, the MCU is starting to fill in the gaps between Captain America: The First Avenger and Iron Man. It's very possible Ant-Man and the Wasp will also shoulder some of that burden. Even further, it's possible that this flashback will set up some important time travel settings for Avengers 4. But most importantly, expanding the MCU into new time periods could very well breathe new life into the universe, especially after massive shakeups that will likely follow Avengers 4. Plus, any chance to see T'Chaka's Black Panther costume again is 100% worth taking.
7 BLACK GOLIATH IS THE REAL VILLAIN
In the comics, Hank Pym has regularly passed on his many, many hero names and mantles to others; not just to Scott Lang, but also to Eric O'Grady, Clint Barton, and Bill Foster, Black Goliath. Foster, one of Pym's former lab assistants, gets his hands on some Pym Particles and becomes a hero in his own right. He carries on as a minor league Avenger for several decades, before dying tragically in Civil War. In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Bill Foster makes his MCU debut, played by Lawrence Fishburne. He maintains the comics origin, but, like Hank Pym, is aged and well past his heroing days.
The theory is reminiscent of the rumored plot of Edgar Wright's original Ant-Man script, which saw Hank Pym as the true villain.
With the reveal of Ant-Man and the Wasp's villain the Ghost, fans began speculating. In the comics, Ghost is more of a thief and paranoid conspiracy theorist, not a world-ending threat the trailers have thus far made her out to be. Applying some mild racism, fans began theorizing that the (black) Ghost was in fact Goliath's daughter. Going further, speculation then turned to Goliath pulling his supposed daughter's strings, acting as the true villain and mastermind behind the plot. The theory is reminiscent of the rumored plot of Edgar Wright's original Ant-Man script, which saw Hank Pym as the true villain.
6 JANET IS THE FINAL VILLAIN
Back to the Quantum Realm! In the first Ant-Man, Hank Pym gives Scott several ominous and dire warnings about the Quantum Realm. While the low likelihood of escape tops the list, he also mentions that entering such an entirely alien environment would drive someone mad. As you may remember, Janet has been lost in the Quantum Realm for decades. If one of the main plots is a rescue mission to save Janet, it seems likely she won't come out of the Quantum Realm the same way she went in, at least mentally. There is also the very real possibility that Ghost is a red herring/first act villain.
Some fans put forward that Janet would be driven mad by her time in the Quantum Realm, and come out a villain in some way. Most theories hewed in the direction of simply wanting to kill Hank, but others theorized she might enact some world-ending plan. These theories mostly seem to spring from wanting another take on the growing/shrinking Yellowjacket/Ant-Man fight in Ant-Man. If there's one thing these movies have proven, it's that normally small things made big are funny. Hopefully Janet maintained her sanity in the Quantum Realm, and Ghost is the true and honest villain for the whole movie.
5 CAROL DANVERS IS ALSO TRAPPED IN THE QUANTUM REALM
After the announcement that Captain Marvel would take place in the 1990s, one of the biggest questions on people's minds was "where was she in Infinity War and the rest of the MCU?" After all, she's apparently very powerful, and a space-based hero. Why was she unaware not only of Thanos' attack on Earth, but also the Chitauri invasion from the first Avengers? An interview with quantum physicist and Marvel consultant Dr. Spiros Michalakis teased that the Quantum Realm may have a role in Captain Marvel. Fans pounced on this tease, theorizing that Captain Marvel may also be trapped in the Quantum Realm after her solo movie.
Perhaps the Janet rescue mission isn't a Janet rescue mission at all, but rather an attempt to save Captain Marvel before Thanos arrives in earnest.
It would make sense, if indeed time flows differently in the Quantum Realm -- it would certainly explain transporting Brie Larsen from Captain Marvel's 1990s to Avengers 4's present day un-aged. It could also tie in to the Janet rescue mission. Perhaps the Janet rescue mission isn't a Janet rescue mission at all, but rather an attempt to save Captain Marvel before Thanos arrives in earnest. Or maybe finding Captain Marvel in the Quantum Realm is entirely accidental, or something left for a post-credits stinger. Regardless, it seems likely Ant-Man and the Wasp will connect to Captain Marvel in some way, even if it's just a post-credits scene.
4 TAKES PLACE RIGHT AFTER CIVIL WAR
One of the biggest questions surrounding Ant-Man and the Wasp involved the specific time frame. After all, the MCU (mostly) takes place in real time, and Ant-Man and the Wasp will be its first foray into flashback since Captain America: The First Avenger. The trailers reveal that Scott Lang is under house arrest after giving aid to Captain America in Captain America: Civil War, and Hank and Hope are on the run because of his actions. This seems to imply the movie takes place almost immediately after Civil War, but fans also theorize the movie is meant to fill the gap between Civil War and Infinity War.
After all, the last time we saw Earth for more than 10 minutes was in Doctor Strange, and he had bigger things to worry about than the street-level heroes. With Captain Marvel taking place 20 years before the present day, Ant-Man and the Wasp is perfectly positioned to catch us up on the state of the superhero world after Civil War up until Infinity War. It's also possible the movie takes us all the way up to and past Infinity War. At the very least, it will likely answer the question of just where the heck Scott and Hope were during Thanos' invasion.
3 HANK INVENTS TIME TRAVEL
Another theory has less to with Ant-Man and the Wasp and more to do with Avengers 4. Although, this could very well happen in Ant-Man and the Wasp to set up for Avengers 4. In leaked set photos for Avengers 4, we've seen scenes and character interactions that strongly imply a time travel plot of sorts. An aging Tony Stark in a SHIELD uniform, with a modern-looking Ant-Man, and a Captain America in his Avengers costume. Because Ant-Man is central to those leaked scenes, fans began theorizing that Hank Pym would be responsible for the time travel that allows the Avengers to hop back and forth through time in an effort to stop Thanos.
It would certainly make sense within the context of the Quantum Realm. As Hank has stated, time runs differently there.
It's possible he harnesses the Quantum Realm somehow. And, digging a bit deeper, it would serve as the perfect one-up to Stark, creating the technology that leads to Thanos' defeat. It would also open up the true multiverse, as Evangeline Lilly teased, as a large number of universes are essentially alternate timelines, both past and future. In essence, Hank Pym's "time travel" would in reality be a universe-hopper, similar to entering the Quantum Realm.
2 HANK PYM WAS ALWAYS IN THE MCU, BUT SMALL
Ok, we swear we're finally done with the Quantum Realm theories. As you should probably be very well aware of by now, Ant-Man's powers include shrinking down very small; so small he almost can't be seen with the naked eye. Naturally, this inspired some slightly tongue-in-cheek fan theories. The most popular of these was that Ant-Man and the Wasp would show Hank Pym, as Ant-Man appearing in every single Earth-based Marvel Cinematic Universe film to date. The theory was inspired by The Lion King 1 1/2, which showed what Timon and Pumbaa were up to when not on screen during The Lion King.
It would certainly fit with Ant-Man's brand of humor, and a grand summary of the MCU to date (narrated by Luis, naturally) that zooms in to reveal Ant-Man's appearance in each film is exactly what most fans were hoping for prior to Infinity War. It would also serve to tie the MCU back together. in the wake of Infinity War, getting everyone up to speed, while delivering some much-needed levity along the way. Since Ant-Man and the Wasp is likely serving to bridge the gap between Infinity War and Avengers 4, getting a recap on the MCU before we get into alternate universes and time travel would be greatly appreciated.
1 SCOTT AND HOPE WERE IN INFINITY WAR, BUT SMALL
Like Hank Pym, Scott and Hope, as you've probably gathered by now, can shrink down very small. Hopping off the theories that Hank was secretly in all the MCU movies, fans began theorizing that Scott and Hope were also secretly in Infinity War. After all, there are probably ants in Wakanda. This theory does raise the question of why they didn't reveal themselves to Cap and the Avengers, but it also answers the question of where they were. The answer being, "right there, if you look hard enough." Wasp certainly wouldn't have been missed in the fight against Proxima Midnight, at least.
Seeing an Outrider get decked by an unseen Ant-Man and/or Wasp would bring a little spark of joy.
This theory is less likely to be true... at least, less likely than Hank in all the MCU movies. It's also less likely than all the other theories on this list. While it would be funny to see initially, it would also be a bit of a Band-Aid rip to relive the Battle of Wakanda all over again, knowing what comes at the end. Also, it raises more questions than it answers. At least the other theories about where they were take them out of the action completely. Still, seeing an Outrider get decked by an unseen Ant-Man and/or Wasp would bring a little spark of joy.