By Zach Johnson
Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania finds Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) enjoying life as a couple who also happen to be Super Heroes. For the first time forever, Scott’s daughter, Cassie (Kathryn Newton), and Hope’s parents, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), are part of their day-to-day lives. While Cassie shares her family’s passion for science and technology, her curiosity sucks them into a vast subatomic world: the Quantum Realm! With Scott and Cassie pulled in one direction, and Hope, Janet, and Hank in another, they are lost in a world at war with no idea how or if they’ll ever find their way home again. Before it opens in theaters on Friday, February 17, producer Stephen Broussard answers D23’s import-ANT questions about the movie that will kick off Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
D23: Scott wrote a memoir, Look Out for the Little Guy!, and thanks to Ms. Marvel, we learned he was a guest on a podcast, This Powered Life, where he talked about the events of Avengers: Endgame. What makes him their spokesperson? Does this indicate he is going to take a more prominent leadership role within the Avengers?
Stephen Broussard (SB): I think what makes him the authority—and what’s been unique about Scott Lang and the MCU—is that he’s the everyman. He not a Norse god or an elite billionaire or a scientist. He’s had this man-on-the-street point of view. The backstory we worked out for how his memoir came together and why he should be the official stenographer is that an everyman should be the one to tell the masses: “This is what you should know about what happened during the events of Infinity War and Endgame.” In a lot of ways, it’s the public record of it and why the larger universe is aware of this—why people like Kamala Khan [Ms. Marvel’s Iman Vellani] even know what happened. We’re actually publishing the entire book, coming out in September, that expands on that idea and on the wisdom that Scott conveys through his years of being a Super Hero. It will offer an even deeper dive for those who want to know about what Scott has to say about his time as Ant-Man.
D23: Since Scott is an everyman, why pit him against Kang the Conqueror, the most powerful being in the Multiverse? Considering he takes a more down-to-earth approach to being a Super Hero, what led to creating that juxtaposition between him and Kang?
SB: You’re putting your finger on something that we talked about very early on, and that’s what was appealing to us—the unexpected nature of it. The Ant-Man movies have been essentially stories about dysfunctional families. They’ve been smaller-stakes, smaller-scale San Francisco crime movies—and they’re awesome! I’m so proud of those first two movies. For this, we liked the idea of uprooting that dynamic and making it a completely different kind of movie, where the people you might least expect to go up against Kang suddenly find themselves as the only people who are going up against Kang. That’s in addition to all the family problems they have, plus the things left unsaid that get them to the Quantum Realm in the first place. They’re dealing with all this internal struggle while facing the greatest threat currently in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is embodied to perfection by Jonathan Majors, who is a force of nature. He is genuinely frightening, and the gravitas he brings to this version… [is] very different from the character we saw in Loki. What’s so exciting about Jonathan is seeing how many layers he can pull out.
D23: Fans got a glimpse of what one version of Kang was like in Loki with He Who Remains. But this Kang is very different. He feels threatening from the get-go, which you don’t always get with the villain. How did you make him feel different?
SB: I was also an executive producer on Loki, so I was around when the earliest conversations about casting Jonathan were happening, and I straddled both projects. One of the exciting things about this particular villain that seems to stand apart, that feels very fresh, is that there are multiple versions of him. You may not necessarily know which version you’re going to get. If you’re going to do that, you need an actor with incredible range and incredible ability. We knew we would be getting an actor like that in Jonathan. He played He Who Remains as a person who maybe lost his marbles a little bit, being by himself at the end of time, who was pulling the strings of the known universe by himself. He was a little bit more out there—a little bit more flamboyant and in your face. This version of Kang is different. Jonathan used this phrase in early conversations: “No moves wasted.” That’s what he kept saying. There was a confidence, an assuredness to everything he does, because he knows he’s the strongest, the baddest, and the smartest. He’s five steps ahead of you. He could crush you with one flick of his fingers. It’s embodied in how he moves. There’s a stillness and a certainty to his performance. That, to me, is way more frightening than if someone is screaming or jumping off the walls, because that confidence has to come from somewhere. What’s he capable of? I, for one, am excited to see what he does next.
D23: You touched on the family dynamics that will be explored in this film. How are Cassie and Scott making up for lost time after he was stuck in the Quantum Realm?
SB: Our characters have been through a lot over the course of these movies, and certain characters in this family are ready for a breather—and they’ve probably earned it. Scott helped save the world in the events of Endgame with the Avengers. He’s made some choices in his life, like being stuck in the Quantum Realm, that separated him from his daughter. At the beginning of the film, when he’s promoting this memoir, there’s a sense that he wants to kick back, enjoy life, and be there for his family—not rush to the next crisis. The complication is that this moment is coinciding with his daughter coming of age. She’s not a little girl anymore. She’s a young woman with her own ideas about the world and how it should work and what justice looks like. In a lot of ways, that echoes feelings Scott has and who Scott was and the choices he made that got him taken away from her in the first place. There’s a deep understanding of where this inclination is coming from with her, but with a sense of protection; no father wants to see his daughter get in trouble or go to jail. So, maybe Scott still sees Cassie as his 12-year-old daughter—but she’s not anymore.
D23: With Janet back for the first time in 30 years, her family has a lot to unpack...
SB: Hope and Hank—they finally got her back! She was gone for all those years, so there’s a feeling of, “Let’s take the win. Let’s be a family together.” But Janet has secrets she’s never shared, and those chickens will come home to roost. All these external factors complicate the notion that the race is won, that the fight is over. Because one of the themes of the film is: “That’s life.” We all have to keep going. It’s never over. The fight’s never done. Growth never stops. I like being able to zoom in on these themes, like family and growth, among this weirdo Quantum Realm adventure involving aliens, Kang, warships... and creatures without holes!
D23: How does Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania set up the rest of Phase 5?
SB: The obvious answer to that is Kang. Kang Dynasty is the title of the next Avengers film [opening in theaters on May 2, 2025], and he is taking center stage. He is going to reshape the narrative and the events of the MCU going forward, which is very exciting to us. The Ant-Man movies have always been smaller stories; they’ve been called “palate cleansers” before, which is a term that I understand and we sometimes bristle at a little bit, in a good-natured way. But one of the things we asked ourselves is: “What if he is more than that? What if he is absolutely central to the entire MCU going forward?” The MCU turns on the events of this film. It’s exciting for Ant-Man to take center stage after being a huge part of the storytelling so far, with the events in Endgame and Civil War. He’s always been there; he’s been in every major event. Looking back, it makes all the sense in the world that he’s the pivot point for where it’s heading next. I’m excited for people to see where that is.