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Entertainment News

Entertainment News

Paul Rudd as Ant-Man in 'Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania'

Now that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is out, Marvel fans are looking forward to the next MCU film. That would be the third Ant-Man film, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Ant-Man isn’t the most famous Marvel Comics character, but Paul Rudd’s portrayal of Scott Lang, a petty criminal looking for redemption, has won over audiences over the course of his story arc. We’re about to take a deep dive into his appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

First, a bit of comic book history: the original Ant-Man was Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas in the films. Co-created by Stan Lee, legendary artist Jack Kirby and writer Larry Lieber, Pym debuted in Tales To Astonish #27 in January of 1962, in what was supposed to be a one-off story. In that story, he didn’t have a super-hero name or costume; he only had the power to shrink to the size of an insect. Later that year, he returned in Tales To Astonish #35 as the Ant-Man. His future wife, Janet Van Dyne (played by Michelle Pfeiffer in the films) became the Wasp. She was able to shrink, grow wings (so she could fly) and shoot energy blasts (or “stings”) from her hands. She was co-created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and writer Ernie Hart, and debuted in Tales To Astonish #44 in June of 1963. Hank and Janet were founding members of the Avengers debuting in Avengers #1 in September of 1963.

Hank eventually altered his powers, gaining the ability to grow to be 12 feet tall and getting super strength; he changed his name to Goliath and Giant-Man. Later, he adopted a new identity as Yellowjacket. Pym also struggled with mental health issues (and this was well before comic books were comfortable with addressing that sort of topic); Janet divorced him and he ended up incarcerated. Janet, meanwhile, had an easier time as a hero, and balanced her life with a career as a fashion designer (appropriately, she often changed her costume design).

Scott Lang made his first appearance in Avengers #181 in 1978, and first appeared as Ant-Man in Marvel Premiere #47, later in 1978. Lang was a burglar who broke into Hank Pym’s house to steal his Ant-Man suit and shrinking gas for a heist and — similarly to the film — he ends up becoming Ant-Man. In the comic books, Hope Van Dyne (played by Evangeline Lilly in the films) inherits the mantle of the Wasp.

In case you aren’t a Marvel fanatic, here’s a guide to the movies and shows you need to see before Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hits theaters on February 17, 2023.

  • Ant-Man (2015)

    In 1989, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) resigns from S.H.I.E.L.D. when he learns that they are trying to reproduce his shrinking technology. The scene has cameos by Tony Stark’s father Howard Stark (played by John Slattery) and Peggy Carter (played by Hayley Atwell). Cut to the present, Pym’s resentful daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and his one-time protege, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) have pushed Pym out of his own company. Cross creates his own shrinking suit and becomes Yellowjacket. Meanwhile, Lang (Paul Rudd) gets out of prison and moves in with his former cellmate Luis (comedian Michael Pena, who steals every scene he’s in). Due to his record, he can’t get a job (not even at Baskin Robbins!) and needs to make money to be a good father to his daughter Cassie (played by Abby Ryder Fortson). She lives with Lang’s ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer) and her fiance, police officer Jim Paxton (played by Bobby Cannavale). Lang falls in with Luis’s crew, which includes Dave (played by T.I., aka Clifford Harris) and Kurt (played by David Dastmalchian). They rob Pym’s house, and Lang steals the Ant-Man suit. Then, when he tries to return it, he gets arrested. It turns out Pym was behind the whole thing, and gets Lang out of jail, convinces him to become the new Ant-Man, and a whole adventure ensues. He breaks into the Avengers HQ, where he fights Sam Wilson’s Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie), he battles and defeats Cross/Yellowjacket, who shrinks uncontrollably (maybe he’s in the quantum realm?). We also realize that Janet Pym, who was thought to be dead, may be alive in the quantum realm. Meanwhile, in a post-credit scene, we see that Captain America (Chris Evans) and the Falcon may have a need for the new Ant-Man.

  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)

    One of Marvel’s finest films, it introduced Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland), and it incorporated Ant-Man into the MCU’s bigger story. The short version: the Sokovia Accords were drafted to have enhanced people register with, and report to, the world’s leaders. Some of the Avengers – Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the Vison (Paul Bettany) agree. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) don’t, nor does Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) or Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). They recruit Lang to help them battle the other Avengers. During the battle, we learn that Lang can also become a giant, and he does so, nearly turning the tide of the battle. Eventually, Stark’s Avengers overpower them, and Rogers and his friend James “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan) escape. Sam, Wanda, Clint and Scott Lang are caught. In the end-credit scene, we see that Rogers breaks them out of prison.

  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

    Scott Lang clearly geeked out about teaming up with Captain America and his rogue Avengers in Civil War, but that move had consequences. Even though Cap freed Lang from prison, he now lives under house arrest, under the watch of FBI agent Jimmy Woo (played hilariously by Randall Park). Meanwhile, Hank and Hope are on the run: they’re now wanted due to Lang’s violation of the Sokovia Accords. And they’re also convinced that they can rescue Janet from the quantum realm. Pym reunites with his old rival Bill Foster (played by Laurence Fishburne); in the comics, Foster becomes Goliath, but that doesn’t happen here. He is a mentor of sorts to Ava Starr/Ghost (played by Hannah John-Kamen), who has molecular instability and can phase through objects (we’ll see her again in the upcoming film, Thunderbolts, due in 2024). They’re successful at rescuing Janet Pym (Michelle Pfeiffer). Ant-Man and the Wasp was released a few months after Avengers: Endgame and Ant-Man was one of the few characters not to appear in the film, along with Clint Barton (both of them were namedropped, though). In the end-credits scene, we learn what Ant-Man’s been doing while the Avegners were battling Thanos. .

  • Avengers: Endgame (2019)

    Lang returned to the quantum realm at the exact moment Thanos “blipped” half the population of the universe out of existence. Thanks to the meddling of a rat, Lang returned to our realm, five years later. But for him, only a few minutes had passed. His daughter Cassie (now played by Emma Cate Fuhrmann) is still alive, but many other people from his life are gone, including Hope. Lang crosses the country to go to the Avengers HQ where he explains to Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff that they could use the quantum realm to change the past. Lang, Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Tony Stark/Iron Man and Steve Rogers/Captain America go on a mission to New York in 2012, revisiting the events of the first Avengers film.

    As we see in the Quantumania trailer, Ant-Man is now seen as a hero, thanks to his actions in Endgame. And that pretty much takes us to the present. But you might want to check out some of Marvel’s Disney+ shows.

  • Wandavision (2021)

    The first Marvel Disney+ show demonstrated that the entire MCU was in play for future projects. In this (excellent) series, which took place just weeks after the events of Endgame, Agent Jimmy Woo is among the characters trying to figure out what is happening with Wanda and the Vision (who was supposed to be dead) in Westview, New Jersey. He teams up with Kat Dennings’ Dr. Darcy Lewis, who we’d met in the first two Thor films, to figure it out. We also meet Monica Rambeau (played by Teyonah Parris); we’d first met her character as a child in 2019’s Captain Marvel, which took place in the 1990s. Fans have since campaigned for a Jimmy Woo/Darcy Lewis series.

  • Loki (2021)

    This picks up moments after Loki (Tom Hiddleston) escaped from the Avengers in the 2012 scene in Endgame. It also is a big primer on the very confusing concept of variants and alternate universes, something that will likely be a big factor in upcoming Marvel films. It also introduces Jonathan Majors’ character (spoiler – it was a big surprise at the time) in the final episode. In Loki, he was called “He Who Remains.” But in Quantumania, he’ll be known as Kang. And we know that he’ll be a big factor in the MCU in the foreseeable future. The next Avengers film, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, is due out in the spring of 2025.

  • What If…? Episode 6 (2021)

    What If…? is Marvel’s animated anthology series. Each episode looks at what the Marvel universe would be like if you changed one detail. Here, we watch what would happen if Janet Pym brought back a zombie virus from the quantum realm. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly voice their characters in a rather bonkers alternate universe tale.

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