Are you ready to enter Marvel Phase Five? Following last year's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) moves forward with the release of Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, the third (and possibly final?) movie in the Ant-Man series. Check out the new poster.
Paul Rudd's Scott Lang, the thief turned shrinking superhero with a heart of gold, must confront the time that he lost between the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. His mission this time is his most personal to date, and there are several important new MCU power players on the scene that allude to the future of the franchise.
The new Ant-Man trailer has been released and here's what we discovered from it.
1. It's all about Ant-Man making a dangerous pact
Remember when Scott was stranded in the Quantum Realm at the end of Ant-Man and The Wasp? That comes back to haunt him in this movie. Following the events of Thanos' (Josh Brolin) snap, 50% of all life in the universe was extinguished, but Scott managed to survive it, suspended as he was in a wondrous environment where time and space have no meaning.
Five years later, Scott was expelled from the realm and he emerged into a world that had changed beyond all recognition. Poignantly, his daughter Cassie had now grown into a teenager, meaning that he had missed several of her formative years. Even though Scott's unexpected arrival helped assist the Avengers in defeating Thanos, he's still haunted by all that's been lost.
This personal quest drives the plot of Quantumania as Scott seeks to reclaim those five years, returning to when Cassie (played as an adult by Kathryn Newton) was a kid. However, in classic Faustian fashion, every deal comes with a dark side. And the agent this time is the newly revealed Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) who agrees to restore all that lost time – for a price.
We don't exactly know what that price is yet. However, Scott proves as susceptible to the idea as Spider-Man (Tom Holland) was to Doctor Strange's (Benedict Cumberbatch) spell in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Who could possibly resist the opportunity to turn back the clock?
2. Kang the Conqueror is a force for good and bad (but mostly bad)
Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) is well-positioned to warn Scott of Kang's intentions. She was stranded in the Quantum Realm for several years and understands that he has the ability to split timelines and unwrite events with dangerous abandon.
It's unclear at this stage whether Janet and Kang have previous. Nevertheless, the Marvel super-villain is being set up to dominate the next two phases of the MCU. Although he plays on Scott's sympathies and promises to restore what has been lost, Kang is also evidently a deadly enemy with desires of his own.
Kang was created in 1964 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and his formidable influence stretches through to the modern day. In fact, a relatively recent comic book arc named The Kang Dynasty was published from 2001 to 2002. It detailed how the megalomaniacal Kang took over the Earth with help from his son, Marcus, so will the new Ant-Man movie allude to certain elements of this storyline?
Lovecraft Country's Jonathan Majors (soon to be seen in Creed III) was first introduced at the end of small screen show Loki as a variant of the all-powerful Kang the Conqueror. This was, however, a multiversal Kang variant named 'He Who Remains.'
The Kang that appears in Quantumania appears to be the full monty, capable of altering past, present and future and, in the process, the entire fabric of the MCU.
3. Kang's classic comic book appearance is honoured
In the original comics, Kang's skin was blue. Quantumania makes a neat adjustment by having his blue visor peel away to reveal the character's face. It's an upgrade, but one that shows a sufficient level of respect for the comic book heritage.
We are wondering about the facial scar though...
4. MODOK makes an appearance
Put simply, MODOK is a human-cyborg cross-over and his acronym can be read in several different ways, one of which is Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing.
With more than four decades of comic book history under his belt and multiple character iterations, MODOK has a strong pedigree as a popular and powerful antagonist.
5. It sets up the events of Marvel Phase 6
Phase Five and Phase Six of the MCU are all mapped out. The former comprises Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, The Marvels, Captain America: New World Order, Thunderbolts, Deadpool 3 (which features the return of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine) and Blade.
As far as Kang is concerned, his pernicious influence will be felt most keenly in Phase Six, which kicks off at the start of 2025 with the rebooted Fantastic Four movie. That will be followed later in 2025 by a new Avengers film titled Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, and the name alone cements Kang's influence and power.
We wonder what kind of dynasty the film's title refers to. Will the events of Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania help set it up? The trailer implies that Kang will rewrite everything Scott knows and loves, and in the process, this will surely have ramifications for the rest of the characters in the MCU.
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty will be followed by Avengers: Secret Wars in 2026 and at this stage, we're assuming that Kang will play an important part.
Secret Wars was a 12-issue comics event that first debuted in 1984 and was reworked again in 2015. The story sees the most powerful Marvel superheroes face off against the most powerful villains in an epic fight that takes place on a planet called Battleworld. The original 1984 comic arc was labelled a crossover event, designed as a collaboration between Marvel and toy designer Mattel.
Our heroes were dispatched by a villain named The Beyonder to a distant planet where many of their abilities and backstories were altered. (For instance, Spider-Man gets his black symbiotic costume that later attaches itself to Eddie Brock to become Venom.)
The 2015 revival arc dealt with the attempted destruction of the multiverse by The Beyonders. They attempted to do so via means of a deadly incursion, the very term invoked by Charlize Theron's Clea at the end of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
There's not too much mention of Kang in that description but given the weight that Marvel is throwing behind the character, he's sure to be a main player as Phase Six rolls to its conclusion.
Marvel Studios' Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is released at Cineworld on February 17 and you can book your tickets here.
Don't forget to tweet us your trailer discoveries @Cineworld.