We went on a quantumaniacal hunt for Easter eggs in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania – here are the best references to the MCU, comic-books, and beyond that we found.
Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang has had a wild ride in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since his 2015 debut in the Peyton Reed-directed solo flick Ant-Man. Back then, he was an ex-con trying to make an honest living to support his daughter. But it wasn’t long before he got caught up in a burglary and found himself in possession of Hank’s Pym-Particle powered Ant-Man suit. Such is life.
And so began an incredible shrinking and embiggening journey that led Lang through Quantum Realm shenanigans via another solo movie; a battle against the big purple one (Thanos); and now a third “solo” instalment. With shared billing alongside Evangeline Lilly’s The Wasp aka Hope van Dyne, of course.
With Scott and Hope taking on multiversal threat Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) this time around, we pulled on our own conquering clogs (Is that a thing? It is now) to purposefully forage for the film’s hidden references and Easter eggs and present to you 11 of the best.
A word of warning – we’re headed into spoiler territory so if you haven’t yet seen Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and want to preserve its secrets, look away now.
Since Scott Lang learned close-up magic during his house arrest following his breaking of the Sokovia Accords, it’s become a recurring motif in the MCU between Lang and FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park).
We first saw Woo entranced by a card trick Lang performs in Ant-Man and the Wasp. This is when Woo investigates Lang’s house after the ankle monitor alarm is tripped. Following a procedural exchange, Woo asks Lang how he does the card trick.
Read more: Everything we know about Ant-Man 3
Presumably at some point, Lang gives him a quick demonstration. Then — as we see — he picks up practice himself through the Online Close-Up Magic University (during office hours, naturally), where Lang honed his own skills. The next time we see Woo In WandaVision, he’s nailed the card trick.
In Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Lang meets up with Woo, briefly, early in the film, and Lang does the trick again – this time with a credit card.
All eyes on Woo for the next time he performs it…
From Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, to Ms Marvel’s bangle, the rings in Eternals, and more, rings play a dominant role in the MCU.
In Loki, where the concept of Kang is first introduced and we begin to explore the Multiverse, it’s rings that illustrate the idea of multiple realities as He Who Remains explains how the Multiverse is universes on top of one another. In Quantumania, the Quantum Realm is a subatomic universe said to exist BELOW the Earth universe our heroes are from.
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We don’t know if the disparate sets of rings are connected plot-wise but there’s certainly a case to be made for the idea that, symbolically, the rings all represent the idea of the unending over the limits of, say, the traditional straight-line chronology or logic we’re used to.
Rings also have a history in fantasy for having magical and mystical properties, which it taps into. The Lord of the Rings anyone?
Heart of Forever
The energy core, or multiversal engine core, that powers Kang’s time ship and allows him to travel anywhere in time and space, is adjacent to a device called Heart of Forever in the comics, and does exactly this – though it isn’t named here.
The engine core also has elements of the Psyche Globe from the comics. When Immortus bested Kang, he did so using a Psyche Globe containing the collected thoughts of all the Kangs that had been taken out. Knowing that Kang would want to get his hands on this powerful artefact, Immortus tricked him into touching it. As the memories flooded Kang’s mind, he began to go mad, but using the powers of his helmet was quickly able to create two Variants between whom the thoughts were divided in an attempt to save his sanity.
Read more: Why was Phase 4 of the MCU so divisive?
When Janet first meets Kang in the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, we see a man who looks as though he’s been through the wringer – this tallies with at least some of this comic-book backstory.
As does the fact that the energy core in the film that kicks in to power Kang’s neuro-kinetic ship allows Janet to see Kang’s multiple harrowing memories when she touches it.
Bill Murray’s character Krylar
Bill Murray plays a character by the name of Krylar in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. He is the governor of Axia, a city in the Quantum Realm, whom Janet seeks out as someone who might be able to help them. She had known him during her time stuck down there – intimately, it seems.
They had been freedom fighters together, opposing Kang’s rule as he sought to establish his reign in the territory but it seems that upon her return he has now sided with the Conqueror. His reasoning? Kang is very persuasive and ultimately Krylar – now Lord Krylar – thought it better to be with him than against him.
Oh, and he’s also fond of a drink containing a live creature that seems to elicit a high. In the comics, Krylar was the leader of a group of assassins and mercenaries on the micro-world of K’ai.
Kang, in trying to work out if he has killed Ant-Man before, asks if he’s the one with the Hammer.
“They all blur together after a while,” says Kang. “That’s Thor,” says Scott. “We get confused a lot. Similar body type.”
This exchange is not only funny (because Scott doesn’t have the same body type as the Asgardian god) but it’s also a nod to Kang’s comic-book history which has seen the Conqueror entangle with Thor and the Avengers – and other opponents like the Fantastic Four – on occasions across timelines and universes.
In the film, after learning of Janet’s Quantum Realm dalliances with Bill Murray’s Krylar during her 30-year residence in the subatomic landscape, Hank makes a startling confession.
He too had a love affair – well, there was a woman he “did it with” a few times – and he names her as Linda. There’s one notable Linda from the comics – Linda Carter. No, not that Linda Carter but she was a Wonder Woman nevertheless, taking on the secret identity of Night Nurse.
As Night Nurse, Linda offered medical services to the superhero community.
In the comics, Linda Carter had a discreet private clinic in Manhattan and even had a relationship with Doctor Strange. It might be a stretch to think a New York-based nurse could have a fling with a San Francisco-based boffin, but stranger things have happened. Quantum Realm anyone?
And while we’re on the subject of Hank Pym’s romantic affairs, comic-book Hank had a first wife named Maria. Interestingly, Maria was brought back to life by AIM after she was killed by the Red Room, and transformed into a MODOK-like hybrid called SODAM (Specialized Organism Designed for Aggressive Maneuvers), which later became MODAM (Mental Organism Designed for Aggressive Maneuvers). MODOK, of course, features in the film.
Veb aka the little pink squid guy
Veb doesn’t have a comic-book parallel but he is voiced by none other than David Dastmalchian, who plays Scott’s hacker friend Kurt Goreshter in the Ant-Man franchise.
Veb is the funny little see-through pink chap whose ooze Scott and Cassie drink to allow them to understand what the Quantum people are saying. He was amazed by the idea that Scott has seven holes in his body as an entity that has none.
He becomes very excited when, during the final battle, Kang’s troops fire guns at him riddling him with holes, which he then uses to swallow his foes.
There’s no evidence that Veb is a Quantum Realm Variant of Kurt but it’s a nice idea.
Did you catch that cheeky little shot of MODOK’s peachy derriere? This eagle-eyed writer did. And it instantly recalled the moment in Thor: Ragnarok when we caught sight of The Hulk nude from behind.
A sight many of us will never forget – and something that director Taika Waititi wasn’t sure would work initially. Peyton Reed must have taken inspiration from this moment, and contrasting the Hulk’s muscular rearview with MODOK’s spindly bottom half is a heckuva funny deep cut.
If you look carefully on one of the shelves in the City Lights bookstore near the beginning of the film where Scott Lang is reading his book, you might glimpse the name of an author on one of the covers behind him.
The name is Karl McMillan – and he’s the Production Supervisor on Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and also Eternals.
While there aren’t any obvious direct references to the Star Wars universe in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, there are several elements that recall George Lucas’s space saga, and which make us wonder if Disney could be paving the way for a crossover (*salivates*).
When Janet, Hank, and Hope first meet the band of freedom fighters, the landscape is rugged and desert-like, resembling Tatooine. The freedom fighters are dressed in Tattooine-style clothing too with some channelling Tuskan Raider chic.
As Scott and Cassie are first in the company of the freedom fighters, these people initially seem hostile. They become part of an Ewok-style ritual with echoes of the scene where Han, Luke, and Chewbacca are captured on Endor.
Then there’s the face that some of the beings in the Quantum Realm have clear similarities with some of Star Wars’ alien creatures, including one or two that resemble Mon Calamari. Not to mention the fact that Kang’s army of lookalike soldiers recall the clone troopers or stormtroopers.
Krylar’s chaser drink containing the creature that’s suggested as giving a high recalls the squig drinks they sup in Mon Mothma’s circle in Andor.
And while in the comics Kang is able to project a huge hologram of himself, and he does it in this film to give a speech, it’s also a key element of Andor when B2EMO projects Marva’s larger-than-life posthumous hologram to the people of Ferrix. When Cassie hijacks the hologram in Quantumania, it has strong parallels with this moment as she begins to deliver her own rousing speech.
Hank points out a character who looks like broccoli. The character even has a line in the film. But if you thought his inclusion was just a joke, there is actually a history of Broccoli men in the comics. They didn’t look much like the Broccoli man we see in Ant-Man, though, although they are described as an army of plant-human freaks.
There’s also a character known as Green Vegetable who looks a lot more like the broccoli man we see in the film, and who once had a brush with She-Hulk.
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is out on Disney+ now.