Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Director Compares Bigger Scale to an Avengers Movie

An Avengers-level threat demands an Avengers-sized movie. After the small-scale Ant-Man followed the massive Avengers: Age of Ultron to close out Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2015, its sequel — 2018's smaller-stakes Ant-Man and the Wasp — was released just months after the weighty Avengers: Infinity War. But no longer is the Ant-Man franchise what trilogy director Peyton Reed calls a "palate cleanser." Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, in theaters February 17th, kicks off the MCU Phase 5 and introduces the overarching villain of the Multiverse Saga: Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors). 

"I was like, 'You know what? Being a palate cleanser is great. It's where you expect to be with an Ant-Man movie. But I don't want to be a palate cleanser, I want to be the big Avengers movie that someone else follows with a palate cleanser,'" Reed says in the latest print issue of Total Film Magazine. "And we all liked this idea. It felt like a natural organic growth to the Ant-Man movies... I really wanted to paint on a much larger canvas for this movie."

Paul Rudd, who reprises his role as comedic ex-con Scott Lang, wanted the next Ant-Man to undergo a third-movie reinvention like Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok, which broke down Chris Hemsworth's Asgardian God of Thunder before building him back up as a "redo" of the character he'd grown bored of playing.

"[We said] if we ever do another one of these — which at that time, we didn't know whether or not we would — it would be fun to take a big swing," Rudd said. "I always thought that was one of the really fun things about Ragnarok. It was the third Thor movie, and it was totally different than the other two. And that was kind of one of its strengths. And I was excited, as was Peyton and [producer] Stephen [Broussard] too, at the idea of trying to take a bigger swing with a third one."

Like Ragnarok, a drastically different interpretation from 2011's Thor and 2013's Thor: The Dark World, Rudd says Quantumania may be unrecognizable to audiences expecting another scaled-down adventure with little impact on the universe at large. In a post-Avengers: Endgame world — where Scott's daughter, Cassie (now played by Kathryn Newton), aged five years in the literal blink of an eye for Scott — it made sense to take Ant-Man in a darker direction.

"I think that we wanted to make a big old movie, and we wanted it to be visually striking and a huge story and a really serious villain," said Rudd. "And we wanted people to be overwhelmed, and walk out of there saying, 'Wow, I can't believe that was an Ant-Man movie.' That was a goal. And also I think that with everything that Scott has been through, everything that audiences have seen these characters go through, up until now, it called for something of this scale. I think that was the way to go."

Quantumania acts as a prequel of sorts to AvengersThe Kang Dynasty (out May 2nd, 2025) and Avengers: Secret Wars (May 1st, 2026), which will assemble a new team of Earth's mightiest heroes against the time lord Kang.

Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathryn Newton, Bill Murray, and Jonathan Major, Marvel Studios' Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is in theaters February 17th.