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In kicking off Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania marks the beginning of a new stage in the Multiverse Saga.
“This movie is the biggest of the three. We decided if we had a chance to make a third round, we wanted to go nuts,” director Peyton Reed (who also helmed the previous two Ant-Man films) told The Hollywood Reporter at the film’s Westwood premiere on Monday. “We wanted to beat Scott Lang up a little bit. It’s still comedic, but also it takes a very serious turn. We love the idea of putting the tiniest Avengers, and Avengers that maybe fans think are the least powerful Avengers, and [putting] them up against the most powerful villain in the multiverse.”
In Quantumania, Scott takes on his greatest challenge yet in Kang the Conqueror (played by Jonathan Majors) — the most powerful villain that the MCU has ever seen.
“It’s legit,” said Rudd on taking a punch from Majors, as seen in the film’s trailer. “It feels intense. He’s a great actor, and throughout the entire film, he really felt as if he was a formidable foe. He was also getting ready to go into Creed III, so anytime we’re doing any of that fight choreography, it was real. It was amazing.”
Since the “time heist” to save the world in Avengers: Endgame, Scott has enjoyed his life as an Avenger and more than anything, he wants to make up for the five years he missed out on with his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton). That is, until a quantum experiment gone wrong sends Scott, Cassie, Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and her parents Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) hurtling back into the Quantum Realm.
“We knew early on that we wanted to put Ant-Man and the Wasp against the big villain,” added Reed. “I loved Kang growing up as a comics reader. And we looked at a lot of Kangs, but I cast Jonathan because he had it all. He’s physically imposing. He is one of the most exciting actors I have ever met and worked with. He’s just a force of nature.”
Majors first appeared in the MCU in season one of Loki as He Who Remains, a variant of Kang the Conqueror who created the Time Variance Authority. In Quantumania, Kang holds the power to wipe out universes and destroy entire timelines within the multiverse.
“If you know the comics, you know he’s very important to them,” said producer Stephen Broussard of the villain. “And so it’s been kind of this crown jewel we know that we’ve had when there [was] an idea for it.”
While Quantumania kicks off the next phase of the MCU, it also begins to set the stage for the next Avengers film to be released in 2025 — Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, which is set to be written by Quantumania screenwriter Jeff Loveness.
“I love Jonathan Majors. He’s such a dynamic actor. I can’t be luckier, right?” said Loveness about the star of the upcoming Avengers project. “Best actor in the world with hopefully a villain that people are really going to connect [with], be terrified of, and hopefully be rooting for. I want to make my best Marvel movie [with Kang Dynasty] and that’s a huge challenge. They’ve made some great ones but I’m gonna try to swing big. Call me on that in about three years.”
Loveness confirmed that conversations with Marvel surrounding Kang Dynasty have already commenced, including collaboration with the film’s director Destin Daniel Cretton, who directed Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. “The Avengers are fighting,” Loveness said, unable to reveal anything more about the project. “That’s about where we’re at so far.”
Quantumania sees the return of Pfeiffer and Douglas, as Janet Van Dyne and Hank Pym, respectively — the original Ant-Man and the Wasp characters of the comics.
“Having the comfort factor of knowing each other, you don’t have to go through the formal introductions,” said Douglas on reuniting with the cast and crew for this film. “You all know each other. It makes it very comfortable, and Peyton Reed being the same director. It was a nice experience.”
Scott’s daughter Cassie, played by Newton, is also back; audiences first met Cassie, formerly played by Abby Ryder Fortson, as Scott’s 6-year-old daughter in the first Ant-Man film. Years later, Scott’s daughter is all grown up and ready to save the world, just like her dad. “We’re in a new phase of Cassie,” said Newton. “We’re seeing a new version and she’s changed. She’s an independent girl. She’s impatient, and she desperately wants to use her huge heart for good.”
“I feel like I couldn’t have asked for a better person to work with,” added Newton about collaborating with Rudd in the film. “It was a dream team and I keep saying it — nothing will ever top it. I don’t know what kind of projects I’m going to do, but every movie I did after this, I tried to be like Paul Rudd and bring that to the set.”
The film also introduces new MCU characters such as Bill Murray as Krylar, William Jackson Harper as Quaz and Katy M. O’Brian as Jentorra. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania premieres in theaters on Feb. 17.
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