During Collider’s recent IMAX screening of Ant-Man and the Wasp, our own Steven Weintraub had a chance to sit down with director Peyton Reed and participate in a Q&A, along with the lucky folks in attendance. In addition to revealing that Avengers: Infinity War directors Anthony and Joe Russo helped to craft the Ant-Man sequel’s post-credits scene, Reed also did a deep dive into the Marvel movie science surrounding the Quantum Realm. Spoilers follow for folks who haven’t seen either of these Marvel movies.
The crux of the plot in Ant-Man and the Wasp was, essentially, the rescue effort to find Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) who had been lost in the Quantum Realm decades earlier. It’s supposed to be a subatomic realm, a space existing between elementary particles. In other words, it’s a super tiny world that’s rife with imaginative potential for filmmakers seeking to bring it to life on screen. So of course the conversation with Reed turned to the Quantum Realm and how exactly it functions in the MCU.
First up, here’s just one source of Reed’s inspiration pulled from the Marvel universe:
“I was always fascinated with the various versions of the micro-verse in the Marvel Comics because I was a kid who grew up reading Marvel and was first introduced to it in Fantastic Four. There was an early Doctor Doom storyline where they all shrink down in the micro-verse and stuff…”
But as for some of the nuts and bolts of the Quantum Realm itself, Reed was a little more vague:
“I do know the rules as much as they pertain to our specific story. I also know what time and space can do down there and the seeming sort of infinite quality of the Quantum Realm. We talked a lot about what our movie’s internal logic was going to be for the Quantum Realm.”
What’s clear is that the Quantum Realm acts as a sort of hidden world within our own world, and a vast one at that if you think about the scale of it. However, surviving in that alien landscape requires some out-of-the-box thinking:
“Janet Van Dyne is clearly not wearing her Wasp suit down there. There are little vestiges and pieces of it she’s taken from her suit thirty years later, but she has this spear things and these other items that feel like it’s from some sort of culture. There’s something going down. It’s not just some wasteland.
The coordinates she gives for them to meet her are in this area called ‘The Wasteland’, which, let’s say you were to shrink down and go Quantum, you have to go past this Quantum Void, which is where Scott sort of reached in the first movie and blacked out. And in this Quantum Pod, Hank is sort of able to hit the thrusters and go further past the void and penetrate this membrane into the Quantum Realm. And that’s the highest level, and that’s where she’s agreed to meet him. There is definitely a shot as Hank and Janet are blasting out of the Quantum Realm where it appears there might be some sort of civilization down there.
There’s definitely a specific backstory to what Janet Van Dyne has been doing the past thirty years… There’s some great food down there, guys. The food scene in the Quantum Realm is not to be believed (laughs). For the breathing, Janet makes the point that her time down there has not just been adaptation. It’s also been evolution, and maybe she’s evolved as a being. So when she’s first down there, it’s easy to imagine she survived from her suit, but perhaps things have happened from her time down there where she’s adapted and possibly even evolved.”
While Avengers: Endgame is almost certainly going to spend some time in the Quantum Realm considering how both Ant-Man and the Wasp and Avengers: Infinity War ended, Reed wasn’t giving anything away on that account. The upcoming Marvel mega-movie’s latest trailer did reveal that Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) somehow made his way out of the Quantum Realm and back into the wider world that we’re more familiar with, so if/when we’ll see just how he did so remains to be seen. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!