‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ Set Visit: Everything We Learned about the Quantum Realm

     June 18, 2018

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Michelle Pfeiffer joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Janet van Dyne in Ant-Man and the Wasp. As we learned in the first Ant-Man movie, back in the day, Janet convinced Hank (Michael Douglas) to let her join him on his missions. That’s how she wound up becoming the original Wasp. But in 1987, while on a mission, Janet turned off her regulator and went subatomic in order to deactivate a bomb. That was the last he saw of her. That incident inspired Hank to learn everything he could about the quantum realm in an effort to bring her back. But that effort proved fruitless – until now.

While on the Atlanta set of Ant-Man and the Wasp, we were told that this new film will feature a rescue mission for Janet, and that means we’re going to journey into the quantum realm! (Or at least more so than before.) Here’s how executive producer Stephen Broussard explained Janet’s role in the story:

“We’ve announced Michelle Pfeiffer obviously, so we know that Janet and the search for her and in the quantum realm is a part of the story, and that’s obviously kind of the adventure that Scott gets swept on is they’re looking for her and they need his help for a very specific reason.”

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Image via Marvel Studios

During a roundtable interview with Douglas, he mentioned that they “get a signal that actually, through Scott …,”and stopped there. We also learned that there is some sort of communication device in Hank’s lab, so perhaps that has something to do with receiving this signal and, on top of that, Laurence Fishburne’s character might be involved as well because director Peyton Reed did describe his character, Bill Foster, and Hank Pym as “two scientists who are both geniuses in quantum physics and quantum mechanics, but maybe have a Mac, PC rivalry about what the approach to delving into the quantum realm might be.”

As for the quantum realm itself, Broussard called it “this really trippy, mind trippy place.” We only got a small dose of it in the first movie, but now they’re looking to answer questions like, what does that mean? How deep do you have to go? Does it change as you get deeper? Is it a landscape? Is it just a weird thing where your mind can’t handle it? Broussard further explained:

“So we’ve kind of dug into that a little bit more and tried to define it for what it needs to be for the film and for the story that Janet has experienced down there a little bit, because it’s such a huge part of it. Does time operate differently down there? All these sort of weird questions that are on the forefront of the actual science if you dig into it, which can be very dense. It’s kind of an open book. Obviously it’s the MCU version of what’s down there, but in a lot of ways we’re almost approaching it at like, interplanetary in a weird way. You know what I mean? As if you could go down there and experience another world for instance, you know? And that if you kept going maybe you’d find other things or if you came back up it would be completely different at this level. It’s a new frontier sort of, so to speak.”

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Image via Marvel Studios

A lot of those questions will have go unanswered until we see the final film, but for now, Broussard did offer up a few details regarding the look they’re trying to achieve for the quantum realm. It won’t be as “blacklight and bioluminescent” as the Dark Dimension featured in Doctor Strange. Broussard noted that one of the biggest challenges in establishing the quantum realm on screen is establishing scale.

“How do you make it feel microscopic with the camera treatments and the relationships of the horizon and stuff like that. Figuring all that out has been a bit of a head trip, but it’s pretty cool. It can’t just feel like, I don’t know, it’s not Lawrence of Arabia, it’s not a giant desert because that triggers scale cues in your head, but you still have to kind of feel that it would be scale appropriate if you were down there, and finding that balance between the small and the epic I guess has kind of been the challenge.”

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Image via Marvel Studios

Something quantum realm-related that might be a little easier to wrap your head around right now is the quantum realm vehicle. Production designer Shepherd Frankel told the group that the theory is, this is a vehicle Hank Pym created over the years, but it’s never worked. One of the fun features of Hank’s new lab is that in it, you’ll find a whole bunch of very familiar small items that Hank used to put the whole thing together – small. But then when he enlarges it, you see things like gigantic pieces from an erector set. That’s not the approach they’re taking with the vehicle however. Here’s how Frankel put it:

“… the idea is to not make it a branded toy per se, but to make it something that’s being worked on and comes from another time. And it’s part of a little bit of the technology that the first Ant-Man suit we’ve seen and loved, so it feels like it was built at another time.”

But while not branded, Frankel did note that the vehicle was inspired by a helicopter, “not unlike a Sikorsky helicopter.”

So that’s about it for now! What do you think of these details? And what about the notion of going deep into the quantum and then, “if you came back up it would be completely different at this level.” Could that maybe come into play to change the results of Avengers: Infinity War? Sound off in the comments section and for more from our Ant-Man and the Wasp set visit, check out the links below.

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