Time and space become irrelevant. Sounds like the perfect solution.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and The Wasp.
One the biggest questions heading into both Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel is how they tie into Avengers: Infinity War. Will these films offer any hints into how the heroes will be saved? What new powers or abilities will these new superheroes bring into the battle against Thanos? There is no question that these heroes will be returning that much has been spoiled. All that remains is the how.
Enter Ant-Man. The original film was thought of as a light follow-up to the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Filled with comic mischief and backbreaking puns, Ant-Man had a tone that was far different from the usually serious Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Beyond the humor, was the foundation for something that could change the Marvel Universe forever. The Quantum Realm.
Quantum Realm Origin:
What is the Quantum Realm? Known in Marvel Comics as a Microverse, put simply, it is a gateway to another universe. Pym has said it is an unexplored dimension, and that the concepts of time and space become irrelevant. For the MCU, it is accessed by subatomic shrinking caused by Pym Particles.
The first appearance of the Microverse in Marvel comics was in 1963’s Fantastic Four #16. Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby introduced the concept with Doctor Doom surviving death by shrinking and becoming ruler of the Micro-World. The Fantastic Four were aided by Ant-Man (Hank Pym) with a shrinking formula that would help them battle Doctor Doom in the Micro-World.
In 1976’s Marvel Preview #4, the origin of the Microverse was really explored. Featuring the storyline known as the “Sword in the Star,” the comic detailed the plight of Prince Wayfinder and his people. Wayfinder was creating a civilization for his people millions of years B.C., but that just wasn’t to be. He needed to escape along with his allies Agni, Kali, Mara, and Yama. Wayfinder asked the Sword for safe passage, but instead, the Sword created the Microverse. Inside of the Microverse was countless lifeforms and species of unknown origin. Wayfinder became the first Time-Traveler.
The Microverse becomes a recurring theme in 1979’s Micronaunts comics written by Bill Mantlo. The Micronaunts weren’t characters that originated from Marvel, but rather a toy line from Mego Corporation. According to Innerspaceonline, Mantlo was inspired to write a story for these would-be superheroes and convinced then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter to get a comicbook license for the toys. It is with this series that the background of the Microverse was truly explored.
This is where Scott Lang and Dr. Hank Pym come into the picture. Unlike the comic book origin, Scott Lang now inhabits the Ant-Man suit. We are introduced to an older Hank Pym who has lost his wife, Janet van Dyne, in the Quantum Realm. The original Ant-Man movie depicts it as a forbidden place that Scott Lang is never supposed to visit. Of course, the original Ant-Man movie has Lang travel there to save his daughter.
That causes Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne to continue the research regarding the Quantum Realm: The impetus of Ant-Man and the Wasp, saving Janet van Dyne. We learn more about this alternate dimension. It has effects on individuals who have been exposed for too long. Similar to Earth, it can be beautiful and vicious in equal effects. There are also some efforts made to enter to the Quantum Realm easier as they make it accessible through the back of a van.
There is also the expectation that the Quantum Realm will further tie-in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the upcoming Captain Marvel feature. We know from the comics that Captain Marvel travels throughout the galaxy and many of her powers are otherworldly. Perhaps Captain Marvel will showcase her meeting up with Scott Lang in the Quantum Realm and saving The Avengers.
The Quantum Realm never appeared in early drafts of the original Ant-Man. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Director Peyton Reed said as much. He got the idea that “in a movie that had a lot of shrinking, it’d be great to figure out a thing in the third act that for the purposes of that story was almost a cautionary tale of if you turn off the regulator.” He added, “it was never a mandate (from Marvel Producer Kevin Feige], but it was, ‘this would be really cool.’” Perhaps Kevin Feige saw what the Quantum Realm could open up for the MCU and made alternate plans.
Infinity War Theories:
While Ant-Man introduced the idea of the Quantum Realm, it was Doctor Strange that showcased the concept of manipulating time. Strange mentions in Infinity War about there being one possibility to come out alive. Without the time stone in his possession, the only likely candidate is to use the Quantum Realm to rewind time. If time and space fail to matter then it is as simple as rewinding time to before Thanos even got the Infinity Stones.
Another possibility of the Quantum Realm is entering the world of the Soul Stone itself. In the Infinity Gauntlet comic series, Thanos absorbed heroes into the Gem, similar to how Gamora was used to assemble the Gem in the movie. The souls were trapped within, but heroes including Adam Warlock were able to escape back into reality. Scott Lang could possibly use the Quantum Realm and help the souls escape by traveling through space and time. There is no doubt that the Quantum Realm opens up limitless opportunities.
There have been other theories about how The Avengers will be saved after the events of Infinity War. Some of them include the return of Gamora, the introduction of the character of Death that appears in the comics, and even Captain Marvel who we see Nick Fury contact in the post-credit sequence of Infinity War. The most likely solution is Scott Lang and the Quantum Realm. With Lang being alive at the end of Infinity War and with access to the Quantum Realm at his fingertips, the world’s smallest superhero might be its most important.
There is a reason that the Quantum Realm has become so vital to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Frankly, it makes Ant-Man a more interesting story, but beyond that, its power to manipulate a story and allow our superheroes to get out of a tough situation makes it a no-brainer. Just when you think the writers have written themselves into a corner, they are building a way out. It goes to show that even the tiniest hero can save the universe.