With heavy hitters like the Hulk still relegated to the status of supporting characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man was never the most obvious choice to lead a superhero film, let alone a whole trilogy from Marvel Studios. With "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," however, Paul Rudd's intermittently pint-sized protagonist, Scott Lang, is getting the threequel treatment, which puts him in fine company with the core Avengers: Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, all of whom have received three or more solo films now. As with the last movie, Evangeline Lilly's Wasp shares co-billing with Ant-Man, and of course, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer are also back as the first Ant-Man and Wasp, Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne.

The real kicker is the addition of Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror, a major Marvel Comics villain who looks to be the MCU's next Thanos in terms of his power level and the threat he poses. Ant-Man and Thanos have been known to inspire certain memes (which, in turn, have been known to inspire certain gross-out scenes in "The Boys"), but alas, the MCU is a PG-13 realm that's no place for any kind of shrinking, butt-spelunking shenanigans. Nevertheless, Stephen Broussard, who is co-producing the upcoming film with Kevin Feige, is positioning "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" as a movie that will, despite its unlikely and diminutive hero, be of the utmost importance to the MCU's future.

Broussard recently spoke with Total Film for its 2023 Preview issue, where he said, "Coming after the 'Avengers' movies, phrases like 'palate cleanser' had been thrown around about the 'Ant-Man' movies. [We felt] if we're getting a chance at part three, we want the film to be big and feel central to the future of the MCU."

'It's A Very Unexpected Notion Of A Battle Royale'

Broussard's comments echo those of "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" director Peyton Reed, who has also said the movie will have a "profound impact" on the MCU. Majors, of course, already made his MCU debut in "Loki" as He Who Remains, a different multiversal version or "variant" of the Kang character.

As for what audiences can expect from Kang in "Quantumania," Broussard said, "He is very powerful, very formidable, very strong, and will have, obviously, an ongoing presence, á la Thanos in the stories, going forward in ways that are different from Thanos and feel fresh to us." He continued by saying:

"Jonathan [Majors] talked a lot about this embodiment [of Kang]. He would use the phrase, 'No moves wasted.' That's how he saw this embodiment of someone so powerful. […] Having [Ant-Man] go up against a Thanos-level threat felt like an interesting combination. It's a very unexpected notion of a battle royale, battle of the century, between this unlikely hero for humanity, and the most powerful villain entering the MCU."

The first "Ant-Man" movie was originally supposed to be directed by Edgar Wright, and I remain fully convinced that once the ball got rolling, Marvel just had to commit to it, even after Wright left the project—taking its auteur cred with him and leaving Reed to step in as his journeyman replacement. I'm not sure Marvel ever intended to go this far with the Ant-Man character, let alone have his third movie (and counting) serve as the introduction of a big baddie like Kang. But at least "Quantumania" is self-aware enough to lean into Scott Lang's status as a C-lister, with even well-meaning shopkeepers confusing him for Spider-Man.

"Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" hits theaters on February 17, 2023.

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The post Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Won't Be A Small Movie; It's 'Central To The Future Of The MCU' appeared first on /Film.