The stars and creators of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania discussed the Quantum Realm, bringing Kang into the MCU and much more during a recent press junket for the film.
The press junket included Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, director Peyton Reed, producer Stephen Broussand and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.
Rudd, who of course stars as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, discussed what his character has been through in the MCU and where he is at the start of this film.
“I mean, this is a guy who, like, started off, he had a regular job. He was, you know, brought into this group and has no innate super abilities, but then he went up and fought Thanos,” Rudd said. “So he’s experienced a thing or two, and he’s accepted who he is.
He also took the chance to plug his, I mean, Scott Lang’s upcoming book.
“Well, I think, you know, when we start this movie, when you see this movie, it’s kind of been present day. The events of Endgame, everything has already transpired. I wouldn’t say he’s taking a victory lap, but others might say that. And he’s written a book, you know, a memoir, ‘Look Out for the Little Guy,’ and he’s explained everything that’s been going on in life and his experiences with the Avengers, but now he is ready to have some time, be a normal dad.”
And speaking of Lang being a “normal dad,” Newton becomes the latest actress to portray Cassie Lang in this film. She shared her thoughts on what it was like to join the MCU.
“Since the first time I saw a Marvel movie, I always wanted to be a Marvel superhero, and anyone who knows me from, like, high school, it was probably like my superlative in the yearbook. So, I really wanted to be part of this, because it made me dream,” Newton said. “I went with my dad to the theaters, and I just wanted to be a superhero. And it’s funny, because I told myself that I always wanted to be the biggest Marvel superhero of all time. And I think it’s ironic that Cassie Lang grows 40 feet. So I’m proof that your dreams come true, cause mine did.”
Newton went on to share her thoughts on her character and her relationship with her father.
“She has a really good heart and that’s my favorite thing about Cassie. She definitely leads with her heart. And even though she’s really smart, I don’t think she thinks too much about what she’s doing. She just wants to do the right thing. And it makes her really impatient and a lot like me,” Newton said. “And that makes her kind of a mess and make mistakes. But she just, she wants to be like her dad, you know? She thinks her dad’s the greatest. But she will never tell him that, obviously. So, it was great to try and exercise both of those. And my favorite thing is that she’s a regular person just like her dad. She’s still figuring it out, just like me.”
As for the other titular character, Lilly discussed Hope’s progression over the last two movies and what her relationship is like with her mother in this new film.
“I’ve had this incredible arc to be able to play where she has, in that time, repaired her relationship with her father. She’s reunited with her long-lost mother. She’s fallen madly in love with Scott, and she’s become a stepmom to Cassie. And so her life is just full of relationship, and it’s full of love, and she is really like a blossomed version of the woman that we met, and you see that in the work that she’s doing in the world. She’s thriving and taking that love and spreading it around by trying to do right in the world and fix issues that are massive like global warming and housing crises, and she’s doing it with success,” Lilly said. “And there’s this little hiccup. There’s this little missing piece, which is that she had always fantasized about her mom coming home one day. And I think ‘cause that fantasy started when she was 8 years old, it was, like, we’re gonna be best friends, and she’s gonna tell me everything, and we’re just gonna be so close. And then she really keeps Hope on the outside, and that’s a wound that is festering at the beginning of the film.”
And speaking of Hope’s mother, Pfeiffer gave fans a little tease in regards to what Jan Van Dyne had been up to during her 30 years in the Quantum Realm.
“…After finally being rescued from the Quantum Realm after 30 years and reunited with her lovely husband Hank and daughter Hope, you know, she is just savoring this time together and quite, decidedly so, secretive about her time down there,” Pfeiffer said. “And not really wanting to get into that until, of course, we all find ourselves down in the parallel universe and parallel world. And she is forced to come forth with the truth and in a place where she had hoped she would never see again. And, you know, 30 years is a long time. People have needs. And let’s not be judgmental. And so, I think there are a lot of surprises for the family.“
Douglas, who stars as Hank Pym, expanded on that concept of family a bit and pointed out that this has been the focus of the previous two Ant-Man films.
“I think the Ant-Man pictures we refer to family a lot, brings a vulnerability to these super-power characters that we see in a lot of Marvel films. There’s a certain vulnerability. And a sense of humor that exists that I think is really a pleasure,” Douglas said. “This is very joyful for me as I’m learning more today about the whole experience than I’ve known, but I think it’s that sort of fun element about it. Certainly there’s the danger but it seems to relate to all different ages. Someone like myself who’s mostly reference to R-Rated movies, this has really been a pleasure to have younger kids coming up and enjoying it and seeing what’s going on.”
But of course, the character everyone is talking about is the new villain of the MCU: Kang. Majors opened up a bit about the character while also giving Marvel fans a little tease for the future.
“Who is Kang? I think that is a question that we will all be answering for a very long time. I think the quick answer to that is Kang is a time traveling super villain. Who is also a nexus being. Which leads to this idea of variants. There’s multiple versions of Kang. Versions being variants. They occupy different universes, multi-verses, they have different intentions,” Majors said. “They are all different beings, and yet something that we’re still and I’m still working on and continue to refine and refine and refine to something as a throughline between them. And that, to me, is the Kang gene. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s what I got. Kang the Conqueror is stuck in the Quantum Realm. And he has some issues with some guys, some variants. And he’s not happy about it.”
As for what it was like for him to step into such a big role in the MCU, Majors had nothing but positive things to say.
“The MCU has established itself as not just a national pillar, but a international pillar of culture and education and entertainment,” Majors said. “And so, to be Kang, you know, to come in with that, you realize it can only get that far because it’s been pushed that far with so much strength, power, support. And that’s what I feel. I feel the support of it, you know?”
Of course, much of this film is spent in the Quantum Realm, another dimension we’ve briefly visited in past films. Reed shared the inspirations of the breath-taking visual design of the Quantum Realm.
“For the Quantum Realm we really drew from a lot of stuff. You know, Flash Gordon, Barbarella. I mean, all these sort of whacked out things. I mean, really looking at the covers of old science fiction paperbacks from the '60s and '70s and into the '80s,” Reed said. “There are a lot of great artists who would paint the covers for these things and, you know, they would be in a newsstand and that cover had to grab you. And a lot of them were creating these really strange worlds, that if you were looking at paperbacks, oh, that one would pull you in. You may not even know what the story is, but that visual. So, I looked at a lot of those artists.”
We also meet several other new characters in this film. The citizens of the Quantum Realm are locked in a war and Broussard shared some details about that situation.
“So when we arrive in the Quantum Realm, we kinda get thrust mid-story into an ongoing battle there because Kang the Conqueror is risen to power here in the Quantum Realm. And we meet a group of freedom fighters, of locals, essentially, down there that are at the tip of the spear fighting back,” Broussard explained. “And it was a really fun opportunity to introduce new characters into this franchise going forward. So we meet their leader named Jentorra played by the wonderful Katy O'Brian. We meet a very fun character named Quaz played by William Jackson Harper. And David Dastmalchian returning to the franchise in another role playing an alien named Veb. And they are very serious about defending their territory down there and winning back their freedom and pushing back against everything they find themselves in. But it's absolutely some of the biggest laughs in the movie, and the most fun in the movie I think for sure. And people are gonna really enjoy meeting them.”
And finally, another character fans are going to be very excited about is M.O.D.O.K., a popular villain in Marvel Comics and other media. Both Reed and Broussard opened up a bit about introducing the character.
“I was a kid who spent a lot of my childhood alone in a room reading Marvel comics. And M.O.D.O.K. was always this insane character. And he’s grotesque. He’s a giant head that has been turned into a mechanized organism designed only for killing. That was intriguing,” Reed said. “So, we started talking about, is there a place in the MCU in the Ant-Man movies, for a live-action version of M.O.D.O.K.? And what would that look like and how would we go about it?”
While being careful not to say too much, Broussard went a little deeper on the process of bringing the character into the MCU.
“It’s a very odd character, to say the least. It’s kind of loomed large in our imagination of how and if we could pull that off,” Broussard said. “You know, it always felt like a challenge, like, going back years, here at Marvel. And we hit on an idea. And we think we had an idea that we were excited about. And I don’t wanna say too much here in this forum, but I think the time was right to bring MODOK to the big screen, finally.”
You can see Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in theaters on February 17th.