Family has always been a recurring theme in the Ant-Man film franchise. Everything Scott has done was done for his daughter. And we see how the Pym family relationship is repaired after years of keeping secrets from each other. By exploring the layers of this theme through the superhero lens, we see how committed Marvel is to tell the story of a simple everyday man and devoted father who happens to be an Avenger.
But after two standalone films acting as a connective tissue to subsequent MCU ensembles, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania now lays out the groundwork for the rest of the Multiverse Saga in an epic way while still staying true to what the Ant-Man films have been about.
The Nerds of Color had the chance to join their fellow journalists for the Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania press conference where they learned about how the theme of family was the beating heart of the Ant-Man film franchise.
“The Ant-Man movies have always been about family. It is a generational story about a family of heroes,” Reed said. Scott, who was sucked into this world by Hank Pym to provide more for his daughter Cassie, and Hope, the legacy daughter of two superheroes. And now it’s Cassie Lang, one of Scott’s most significant motivating factors.
Scott wants to spend more time with her to make up for the time that he lost as a convict in a penitentiary and imprisoned in the Quantum Realm. But the celebrity status of being Ant-Man and a father starts to weigh down on Scott. “It’s really about work-life balance and finding time with his daughter,” Reed said.
And leading with one’s heart runs in the Lang family. Cassie, she wants to do the right thing. Even if that means she lands in jail. “Even though she’s really smart, I don’t think she thinks too much about what she’s doing. She just wants to do the right thing. And it makes her really impatient and a lot like me. And that makes her kind of a mess and makes mistakes, but she just wants to be like her dad,” Newton said. “You know, she thinks her dad’s the greatest. But she will never tell him that. Honestly, so it was great to try and exercise both of those, and my favorite thing is that she’s a regular person, just like her dad. She’s still figuring it out, just like me.”
Now that Cassie is older, she is in line to continue the family legacy of size-changing heroes. And Quantumania is an opportunity to explore the new family dynamics while expanding upon the MCU. “I think in Quantumania, one of the things we’ve done is really broaden that story and start talking about the secrets the family members keep from each other, the things they don’t tell each other,” Reed continued. These secrets affect the relationships between the two families, with Janet not telling the entire truth about the Quantum Realm to Hank and Hope. And Cassie is not revealing that she’s been working on a device that allows her to communicate with those in the Quantum Realm.
“So everyone’s keeping secret from Scott at the beginning of the movie. And then suddenly, they’re thrust into the quantum realm, and they have to kind of work out these family dynamics while being in this bizarro whacked-out world,” he continued.
And even though we see how some relationships have been repaired through familial reunification, some of the traumas of that separation still linger, especially for the Pym family.
“Well, Hope started the first Ant-Man film, a very cold, detached, very isolated woman,” Evangeline Lilly said. “And over the course of these three films, I’ve had this incredible arc to be able to play where she has, in that time, repaired her relationship with her father, she’s reunited with her long lost mother, she’s fallen madly in love with Scott, and she’s become a stepmom to Cassie.”
“So her life is just full of relationships, and it’s full of love,” Lilly continued. “She is really like a blossomed version of the woman that we met. And you see that in the work that she’s doing in the world. She’s thriving and taking that love and spreading it around by trying to do right in the world and fix issues that are massive.” Though she has her mother back, Janet still won’t speak about what happened to her in the Quantum Realm to her family. And part of Hope wishes she could have that relationship she once had with her mom. “She had always fantasized about her mum coming home one day. And I think because that fantasy started when she was eight years old, it was like, ‘we’re going to be best friends. And she’s going to tell me everything, and we’re just going to be so close,’ she said. ‘And then she really keeps Hope on the outside. And, that’s a wound that is festering at the beginning of the film.”
And we see how Quantumania takes much of its inspiration from films like The Wizard of Oz by uprooting an entire family to a bizarre world like the Quantum Realm. “We talked about parallels to The Wizard of Oz a lot in terms of taking and meeting a family down there,” Feige said.
The Quantum Realm family is a group of freedom fighters who have been battling Kang for quite some time. In a way, their inclusion helps expand the MCU in more ways than one. “It was a really fun opportunity to introduce new characters into this franchise going forward,” Stephen Broussard said. While these revolutionists do all they can to fight back, they also provide a few laughs. “They are very serious about defending their territory down there, winning back their freedom, and pushing back against everything they find themselves in. But it’s absolutely some of the biggest laughs in the movie and the most fun in the movie, I think, for sure, and people are gonna really enjoy meeting them.”
While Phase Four introduced many new characters and heroes, Phase Five starts off epically with one of the MCU’s more underestimated heroes. And Feige talked about utilizing the Langs and Pyms in a way that would honor that story while having them fight against a powerful villain in dangerous and unfamiliar territory. “We’ve talked about the family that goes along with vulnerability and relatability,” he said. “And who better to face off against one of if not the biggest villains the MCU has ever faced than this family who, you might think, could not handle it.”
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania opens in theaters on February 17, 2023.