‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’: What That Post-Credits Scene Means for ‘Avengers 4’

The Quantum Realm

The Quantum Realm | Marvel Studios

Now that Ant-Man and the Wasp has officially been released in theaters, we absolutely have to talk about that mind-blowing post-credits scene and what it means for Avengers 4.

The vast majority of Marvel’s latest film actually takes place prior to Avengers: Infinity War‘s ending, meaning fans don’t get any answers to the questions posed by that massive cliffhanger. At least, not until the first post-credits scene, which clearly sets an Avengers 4 storyline into motion.

Hope, Janet and Hank transport Scott into the Quantum Realm using the device that Hank developed. The plan is for them to get Scott out of there as soon as he has finished collecting particles for Ghost. But then, moments after Scott has gone subatomic, we see that Hank, Janet, and Hope have all disappeared as a result of Thanos’ snap. Scott, however, survived, and now he has no way of getting out of the Quantum Realm. The scene ends with him screaming for help.

So what are the implications of this? What does it mean for Avengers 4?

The theory

Here’s what we think is going to happen: while he’s in the Quantum Realm, Scott is going to discover the ability to travel through time. He’s then going to use time travel in order to get himself back into the real world.

Once he sees that Earth has gone to hell and 50 percent of the population has disappeared, Scott is going to share his time travel discovery with the Avengers, particularly Tony Stark.

They will all proceed to go back in time and collect the Infinity Stones, hoping to build an Infinity Gauntlet of their own to defeat Thanos and bring everyone who disappeared back to life.

Now, that’s a lot of speculation, so let’s dive into the evidence for each piece of our theory.

The evidence

First of all, we know that Ant-Man is a part of Avengers 4. Leaked promo art shows him as a member of the Avengers lineup, and we’ve seen plenty of photos of Paul Rudd on set. So it doesn’t seem as if he’s sidelined for a lot of the movie or is a relatively minor player.

It also appears extremely likely that Avengers 4 involves time travel. Last fall, some photos leaked from the set, and they show Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, and Scott Lang at the Battle of New York from The Avengers. This definitely isn’t a regular flashback because Ant-Man is there and Tony looks a lot different than he did during that 2012 film.

Avengers 4 set scene

The Avengers 4 set photo in question | Wochit Entertainment via YouTube

An alternate theory about those photos is that Tony and the gang will use his B.A.R.F. technology in order to revisit the events of the Battle of New York just like Tony revisited his last conversation with his parents in Captain America: Civil War.

That’s technically possible, but it doesn’t explain why everyone in the pictures is wearing some sort of mysterious device on their wrists. Tony didn’t have to wear anything like that during the Civil War B.A.R.F. scene. Instead, what if that device is what’s allowing them to travel through time?

Speaking of those devices, everyone in the scene has them physically strapped to their wrists, but Scott Lang actually seems to have his built into his suit, another sign that he’s an integral player in the time travel shenanigans that go on. Outside of that photo, there’s been more evidence that Avengers 4 is about time travel, including Chris Evans filming a scene that’s clearly supposed to take place in the 1940s.

If there’s time travel in the movie, then what are the Avengers trying to accomplish, exactly? Based on that set photo, their plan is obviously more complicated than going back in time to kill Thanos as a baby.

Instead, they’re at the Battle of New York, which would be a great place to go if you were looking for the Infinity Stones. After all, not one but two of the stones were there during that battle: the Mind Stone was in Loki’s Scepter, and the Space Stone was in the Tesseract. If the present-day Avengers get all the stones, it just so happens that Thor knows a guy who can make an Infinity Gauntlet.

But okay, what’s the evidence that the Quantum Realm is going to open the doorway to time travel?

One crucial line in the Ant-Man and the Wasp post-credits scene you might have overlooked is that Janet warns Scott not to get sucked into a time vortex while he’s gone subatomic. Maybe, then, after realizing that there’s no other way out of the Quantum Realm, Scott does exactly what Janet warned him not to do by going into the vortex and therefore traveling in time.

It had already sort of been hinted that there might be a way to time travel via the Quantum Realm. In the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym describes the Quantum Realm as a reality “where all concepts of time and space become irrelevant.”

The Quantum Realm in Ant-Man

The Quantum Realm in Ant-Man | Marvel Studios

If Scott is going to travel through time, where is he going to end up? Well, what if Avengers 4 begins with him emerging several years into the future? This would fit with the evidence suggesting that there will be a time jump between movies. For one, 16-year-old actress Emma Fuhrmann has reportedly been cast as Cassie Lang, Scott’s daughter, in Avengers 4. The actress who plays Scott’s daughter in Ant-Man and the Wasp is 10-year-old Abby Ryder Fortson, so could we be looking at a six-year time jump?

Another piece of evidence is the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow seemed to give away in an interview that Tony and Pepper are married and have a child in Avengers 4. This would imply there’s a time jump since they’re neither married nor do they have a child in Infinity War (although it’s technically possible she means their wedding takes place at the very end of the movie).

An alternate theory

One different view on all of this is that Avengers 4 will not involve time travel but instead travel to alternate dimensions.

Perhaps in that set photo, the Avengers are actually at an alternate universe version of the Battle of New York. And maybe the plan is still to build an Infinity Gauntlet, but the Avengers have to get the Infinity Stones from various dimensions.

That would make sense, but in that case, why throw in the line about a time vortex into the Ant-Man and the Wasp post-credits scene?

If time travel is going to be what occurs, some fans also have a theory that Scott will end up back in the 1990s, and he’ll run into Captain Marvel, with the two immediately jumping forward into the future to help the Avengers. This would explain why Marvel chose to release Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel before Avengers 4, and it could also explain why Carol Danvers wasn’t around for any of the MCU movies so far; perhaps she skipped over all of that time, and she decides to stay in the future at the end of Avengers 4.

What it all means

All of this adds up to the strong likelihood that Avengers 4 is going to be a time travel adventure about rescuing the fallen heroes, and the Ant-Man and the Wasp credits scene just set the stage for that.

By the end of Avengers 4, the heroes can use their newly assembled gauntlet to kill Thanos and bring everyone back who died, either by freeing them from Soul World or by using the gauntlet to reverse time, similar to the way Thanos rewound time before he killed Vision in Infinity War. 

We already know that everyone who died in the Infinity War snap is definitely coming back, so it’s really just a matter of how at this point. This would also mean that the time-jump doesn’t have to be permanent. Things could reset back to 2018 at the end so that the Marvel movies don’t always have to be set six years in the future from now on.

We’ll get a much better sense of how accurate our theory is when the Avengers 4 trailer finally makes it debut sometime this fall.

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