It’s very hard to tell from one trailer just how weird Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is going to get. What the movie’s first look does give us, however, is promising: a whole secret universe full of Star Wars-ass stuff that includes some of the weirdest ideas in Marvel Comics lore.
What’s fun about Quantumania is that, while the Quantum Realm has been featured several times at this point (first in Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp, obliquely in Doctor Strange, and as a means of time travel in Avengers: Endgame), what it actually is has been kind of a blank slate. Now that this movie is finally diving in, the implications are much cooler than what we’ve seen before, and what was once a kaleidoscopic wasteland is revealed as a whole other universe with cities that feel lifted right out of the Star Wars prequels.
Invented for the MCU movies, the Quantum Realm is an amalgamation of several Marvel Comics ideas: the Microverse, the Negative Zone, and to some degree, time travel. This means that there’s all sorts of potential for comic-lore surprises in Quantumania — with the first and biggest hint being the film’s villain, Kang (Jonathan Majors).
After setting up the wider scope of the Quantum Realm, the second goal of Quantumania’s trailer is establishing Kang as a mysterious and menacing presence in there. In the comics, Kang is very complicated, but two things remain pretty consistent: He is a time traveler, and he is very much not an Ant-Man villain.
The Disney Plus series Loki did a lot of work to set up the rules of time travel in the MCU while also introducing a version of Kang known as He Who Remains — a man driven a little bit mad by the amount of time traveling and tinkering he had done in his lifetime, who’s now stranded at the end of the universe. The man we see in the Quantumania trailer is different, both going by the name Kang and more closely resembling the Conqueror we’ve seen in the comics.
So what’s a time traveler doing in Ant-Man’s weird secret universe? That’s a big part of Quantumania’s intrigue, but given the flexible nature of the Quantum Realm, it could be a lot of things — including the means by which Marvel’s heroes and villains travel the multiverse to cause the serious trouble that will lead to Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars. Most importantly, it's a great way for Marvel’s brain trust to pull just about any remaining heroes off the bench and on screen, from the previously announced Fantastic Four to the studio’s very secretive plans for the X-Men.