By Jessica Benda
This Friday, Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne embark on a breathless adventure into the fantastical Quantum Realm, surrounded by family and foes alike. Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania will premiere in theaters on Friday, February 17, officially launching Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the third Ant-Man installment, Scott’s daughter Cassie shares her family’s passion for science and technology, but her curiosity lands them a one-way ticket to the Quantum Realm. With Scott and Cassie heading one direction and Hope and her parents, Janet and Hank, pulled in another, director Peyton Reed places family dynamics under an evocative, subatomic new lens.
Before delving into the mystifying Quantum Realm, brush up on the characters that will take you there.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)
In a vast understatement, Scott Lang has been busy since we first met him in 2015’s Ant-Man. He lived a normal life until he committed a well-intentioned crime, then joined the Avengers, travelled down to the Quantum Realm, and then saved the universe. You know, typical post-jail activities. Now, he’s riding high in San Francisco, promoting his new memoir Look Out for the Little Guy and making new memories with his family.
“One of the things that’s been fun about playing this part is that there’s nothing extraordinary about Scott,” Rudd said. “He doesn’t possess any real super abilities—he’s not a God of Thunder, he’s not big and green and strong, he can’t fly. He’s just an intuitive, smart guy. To play the part of a regular guy who didn’t really want this but is forced to be heroic is fun.”
Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly)
The Pym Van Dyne Foundation is led by none other than the brilliant Hope Van Dyne, who is utilizing the Pym Particle in new and innovative ways to advance humanitarian efforts. Her biggest life change was the return of her mother, Janet, who spent three decades lost to the Quantum Realm. In the newest installment, Hope wrestles with not knowing the secrets that Janet keeps about her time away. Nevertheless, Hope is thrilled at the trajectory of her new life.
“She’s repaired her relationship with her father, she has returned her mother from the Quantum Realm, she’s fallen madly in love with Scott Lang—they’re a dynamic duo, a Super Hero pair,” Lilly said. “And on top of that, she’s quasi-adopted his daughter, Cassie, and she’s revitalizing Pym Tech—using it to better the world.”
Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors)
Reed calls Kang the Conqueror the “most powerful being in the multiverse,” and for good reason. Known as He Who Remains in the Disney+ series Loki, this dangerous variant of Kang wields time as his weapon.
“Kang is able to experience past, present and future at the same time,” Reed said. “What does that look like? He conserves his energy. There’s not a wasted gesture or word, and if Kang says something, he means it.”
Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton)
Now 18, Cassie’s love of science is rivaled only by her love of improving the world, though often they go hand-in-hand. Like Scott, she’s headstrong, independent, loyal, and fights hard for her beliefs. However, as she matures, she must navigate an ever-evolving relationship with her dad as he grapples with the fact that she’s not a little girl anymore.
“I really wanted to explore that relationship between Scott and Cassie,” Reed said. “How does Scott relate to her now that she’s an adult? Cassie is an idealist—she wants to do good in the world, but she’s still trying to figure out what that means for her. She’s trying to find her voice as a young woman. She can be quite critical of her dad, so we had fun with some of the generational divide between father and daughter in this movie.”
Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfieffer)
After three decades trapped in the Quantum Realm, Janet is just relieved to be with her family once more. In a film focused on familial relationships, Janet and Hope bring a mother-daughter dynamic with unearthly tensions (literally). Janet holds her secrets close, but returning to the place she just escaped from brings them to the surface.
“Janet has unfinished business in her past, which has ramifications for the family,” Pfeiffer said. “This is an opportunity for them to finally get to know Janet and, like it or not, she is back in her element and needs to make amends for things that she thought were in her past.”
Hank Pym (Michael Douglas)
After handing the reins of the Pym Van Dyne Foundation to Hope, Hank is spending time with his family, including his honorary granddaughter, Cassie. Most of all, he’s making up for lost time with Janet.
“Their relationship extends to their marriage and their careers,” Douglas said. “Not many people are able to pull that off. It’s certainly an equitable relationship—they each have their strengths and weaknesses.”
Jentorra (Katy O’Brian)
The unrelenting warrior Jentorra is among the first Quantum Realm residents that moviegoers will meet, and she sets the bar high. Jentorra leads the Freedom Fighters, a group of displaced inhabitants in the Quantum Realm, and is waging a losing battle against Kang the Conqueror. As a Quantum Realm native, Jentorra is well-accustomed to the biomes and the beings that live in them.
“You’ll get to explore a lot of the different colonies and the different groups of people that we have here—broccoli man is my personal favorite,” O’Brian said. “We have characters that float, we have blobs, we have mind-readers—all kinds of zany creatures and humanoids and mysterious things.”
Lord Krylar (Bill Murray)
Lord Krylar is the governor of Axia, a cushy community within the Quantum Realm, and he loves the high status that comes with it. Krylar lives a life of exotic cocktails and top-notch transportation, but Janet’s return hints at an unknown history between them. “We liked the idea of kind of giving Hank and Janet this tension with Krylar,” Reed said. “That felt fun to us.”
M.O.D.O.K. (Corey Stoll)
M.O.D.O.K. stands for Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing, which should be fairly self-explanatory. M.O.D.O.K. is Kang’s ferocious right-hand man (though he’s more of a giant floating head stuffed into a tiny body, as Reed describes), using force and fear to solidify Kang’s hold on the Quantum Realm. “Of course, M.O.D.O.K. really has no choice, but he drank the Kool-Aid and is totally on board with Kang’s plan and being his literal killing machine,” Reed said.
Quaz (William Jackson Harper)
At Jentorra’s side, Quaz spurs on the fight to escape Kang’s grip on the Quantum Realm. Quaz is bioluminescent with a cerebrum that glows when his power is activated, so he knows who’s doubting him the moment it happens.