How 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Designed the Quantum Realm

Ant-Man and the Wasp is set to enter uncharted Marvel Cinematic Universe territory with the Quantum Realm, which the creative team took a very careful approach in crafting.

Director Peyton Reed opened up about how his team designed the Quantum Realm, which was touched upon in the first Ant-Man movie, will be heavily featured in Ant-Man and The Wasp, and could tie the upcoming Avengers and Captain Marvel movies together.

"When we started talking about the quantum realm, it’s problematic in terms of the fact that it’s essentially infinite," Reed said. "It can be whatever you want it to be and so we needed to decide sort of what the Quantum Realm wants to be for our story and then what it is in, in sort of the larger sense of things. I knew one thing about it; there had to be a device with which they enter the Quantum Realm. In the first movie, Scott goes down, he adjusts the regulator and, and goes down just freefall. Here it needed to be bigger.

"It needed to be something that was not a game time decision and not accidental, but something very, very constructed and, and uh, and purposeful and one of the things that I went back and looked at as inspiration was Erwin Allen’s The Time Tunnel. I was really little when that, I’m sure I saw it reruns and my older brother saw it, but there was a design for that thing which was literally a tunnel and I liked the idea of, amidst all this stuff, that there was a physical thing that you could look at."

This was the starting point for Reed and his team to begin crafting the Quantum Realm as it would not only be accessed by characters but how it would look on screen. It was important to Reed that the actors and crew had a real experience in bringing it to life.

"Something that physically sort of without any action happening, you could look at and say, 'Okay, I get a sense of what that thing does and so Shepherd forwarded the design and refined it in a way that’s fantastic and I think that’s another thing that I’m really psyched about with this movie. A lot of times with these movies in the digital age, it’s actors acting against a green screen and I was insistent because I still feel from the first movie and even more so in this movie that there’s a really tactile quality to the Ant-Man and Wasp universe.

The set of the Quantum Realm "is really the biggest set that’s ever been constructed for a Marvel movie in terms of just being a tactile set," Reed said. "You’ll see on the side, there’s some green screen extensions that we’re doing top and bottom and whatever. It pays big dividends when you have the actors in there and they can react to something physical and sort of the first time we bought, brought Paul [Rudd], Evangeline [Lilly] and Michael [Douglas] onto the set, you know, we hadn’t showed them anything.

"We brought them on with the thing finished and to see their reactions and see the joy of like, 'Here’s a set that we can really move around in and you’re limited, we’ve designed it, obviously, to shoot, but you’re still limited by physical space and the camera can do certain things and they have to move around things and it lends this whole air of reality to it. I’m a big believer in, you know, these movies just by their nature have a lot of visual effects, but the more you could have tactile stuff. Part of the set you’ll see is, is the quantum vehicle. The pod that they go down in.

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"And that was another thing that felt like, you know, if I’m a kid, I want to play with this thing. I want it to be, it’s got to be functional and you look at this thing and you’ll be able to sort of scrutinize it down there, but you really see this is a, you know, designed by Shepherd and, and constructed with, Dan Sudick, our special effects guy, but it really feels like 'Oh, okay, I could get in that thing and, and head down there,' so the, the tactile quality was really important."

Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now. It will be followed by Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6, 2018, Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.