Avengers: Infinity War surprised us earlier this summer, being the first Marvel Studios movie since 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron to not include at least two post-credits sequences. Of course, some fans didn't love this, with many hungry to know as much as possible about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the good news is that Ant-Man And The Wasp doesn't scrimp in the same way. The 20th MCU feature once again has two end credits scenes -- a mid-credits and post-credits -- and it's those sequences we're here to discuss.
Marvel credits scenes have been key in teasing future blockbusters ever since Nick Fury broke into Tony Stark's Malibu home in 2008, and Ant-Man And The Wasp is no exception. In this piece we will not only break down the details of exactly what happens in the new movie's contributions to this franchise legacy, but also examine what they potentially mean for the future. So let's imitate Scott Lang entering the Quantum Realm and dive in, beginning with they extremely important mid-credits scene:
SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains massive spoilers for Ant-Man And The Wasp. If you have not yet seen the film, and don't wish to know major, important details about the ending, please bookmark this page and come back after your screening!
Picking up shortly after the end of the film, the mid-credits scene takes us to what appears to be the first real scientific mission on which Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), Hank (Michael Douglas), Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and Scott (Paul Rudd) have embarked together. Their collaboration has led to the creation of a smaller Quantum Tunnel -- one that fits in the back of Luis' old van -- and there is a plan in place to try and help their new friend, Ghost a.k.a. Ava Starr. They need to collect Quantum Realm energy to help the former-antagonist's phasing problem, and the idea is to have Scott go subatomic and collect some in a specialized canister.
Before diving in, Janet, who has more than a little experience in the Quantum Realm, offers Scott some last second advice: avoid the cute-but-deadly Tardigrades, and be wary of time vortexes. The tunnel boots up and Scott dives back to the microscopic realm he visited at the end of the first Ant-Man. At first it seems as though there might be a problem, as Hope's calls to him over their communicator go unanswered, but everyone is relieved when Scott hails them back.
In the Quantum Realm, Scott produces the canister, successfully activates it, and collects all of the energy needed to help Ghost -- basically a second's work. He then calls back to his teammates for retrieval, but he gets no response. The hero believes it to be childish revenge for the extra second he took on the coms earlier, but the audience learns that's definitely not the case. Instead, it's shown that Hope, Hank and Janet have all experienced the extreme consequences featured at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, with Thanos' snap reducing them to dust. Meanwhile, Scott is left stuck in the Quantum Realm with no visible means of escape.
With that, Ant-Man And The Wasp delivers what is unquestionably the most devastating end credits scene in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but as we get into on the next page, the movie does at least have audiences leaving the theater smiling...
The narrative of Ant-Man And The Wasp has insects taking on more than a few odd tasks, but certainly one of the funniest applications of them in the story is the giant ant sent to replicate Scott Lang's every day activities on house arrest. The FBI is watching Scott's every move via ankle bracelet after his team-up with Captain America in Germany, and so Hank and Hope devise a way to have them think nothing of the former criminal's behavior while they steal him for their mission. As a result, the aforementioned massive arthropod is assigned the duty of taking baths and banging on electronic drum kit in Scott's apartment.
This takes us to the post-credits scene in Ant-Man And The Wasp, which is seemingly the furthest in the future we've seen in the timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The streets of San Francisco are practically silent following Thanos' epic snap, and this leaves the dominating sound to be the Emergency Broadcast Signal blaring from Scott Lang's television. It's a terrifying vision... right up until we see that there is still some activity in the apartment. It would seem that Hank and Hope never told the giant ant to stop performing Scott's daily routine, and so he is left peacefully banging on the hero's electronic drum kit.
Like half of Marvel's end credits scenes, this one is really just meant as a gag, and will probably have zero impact on the future of the franchise. That being said, it is a funny sequence that reminds you of how funny the majority of Ant-Man And The Wasp is.
Like the end of Avengers: Infinity War, the mid-credits scene in Ant-Man And The Wasp is specifically meant to have audiences wonder if all of the characters killed by Thanos' snap will be resurrected in Avengers 4. This remains a question for which we have zero answers, but the sequence notably offers up a situation that is unique. As noted, it would seem that Scott Lang is trapped in the Quantum Realm with no means of escape.
Of all the heroes we know about who are still alive after Thanos' snap, Scott is left in the worst position of all. The Avengers in Wakanda know exactly what happened because they were there to witness it; and while Iron Man is on a distant planet, at least he has Nebula to get him on a spaceship and take him back to Earth. Scott, however, is basically just as stuck in the Quantum Realm as Janet van Dyne was for decades, with the key difference being that nobody in the world knows that he's there. It's an unquestionably horrific scenario, but there are a few approaches that come to mind when it comes to having him come back for Avengers 4.
The first possibility is that Scott will pull off a trick similar to what he accomplished in the third act of Ant-Man. As you may remember, his strategy to defeat Yellowjacket also left him stranded in the Quantum Realm, but he was able to escape because he placed a grow disc in his suit's regulator and was able to return to normal size. It won't be that simple this time around, as we learn during the events of Ant-Man And The Wasp that Hank's new designs have eliminated archaic regulars -- but that doesn't mean Scott won't be able to find some other clever way to get out (let's not forget that he is an expert electronics technician).
Option number two is a touch less optimistic. Rather than being able to rescue himself, Scott may need to wait to be rescued... and that may take a while. Assuming that Scott's family doesn't know the intimate details of his work with fugitives Hank, Hope, and Janet, the presumption at large among the living will probably be that he was killed by Thanos. It may only be by chance/coincidence that it's discovered that Scott is found to be alive, and by then he may be a very different person than who he was going in (much like Janet).
The third possibility ties into the advice that Janet gave to Scott just prior to his Quantum Realm expedition. No, not the Tardigrades -- the time vortexes. He may come to the realization that they could be his only means of escape, and so he tries to utilize him. Unfortunately, they are surely unpredictable, which means not only that he could be randomly thrown backwards or forwards in time, but also that his actions may cause serious damage to the time-space continuum.
The "Ant-Man And The Wasp Will Return" message at the very end of the movie is punctuated with a very important question mark -- but it's hard to imagine that this is the end for the titular heroes. What lies ahead we don't know, but surely we will get most of our answers next May when Avengers 4 arrives in theaters.
Coming after Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man And The Wasp was designed as a pallet cleanser -- leaning into the charm and comedic sensibilities of its ensemble to balance out the horror and devastation by Thanos earlier in the summer. That being said, audiences certainly expected some kind of reference to the larger world, and that arrived in the mid-credits. That in mind, it still makes one wonder if the events were ever going to be more tied together, and I recently got answers on that front from director Peyton Reed and producer/Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige.
I sat down with Peyton Reed about a week before the theatrical release of Ant-Man And The Wasp for a spoiler filled Hero Blend podcast interview, and it was at one point in our conversation that I steered things toward the end credits sequences. I asked about how they were both planned and executed in the wake of Avengers: Infinity War, and Reed explained that the big tie-in was always going to be a part of the mid-credits,
We knew at some point we were going to have to deal with the events of Infinity War, but we knew we wanted to do it in a way where it wasn't just like throughout our movie there's things going on on TV screens behind [the action]. We've seen that stuff, and it didn't seem that interesting. We knew however we were going to deal with it, it had to be in our very specific Ant-Man And The Wasp way, and it occurred to us finally when we landed on the structure that you saw in the movie, that it could be fun to resolve our all our storylines in our story in a too-neat bow, and then roll the credits, and then have another scene that sort of then addressed the events of Infinity War. That seemed fun to us. And it seemed like it would be fun to see how the audience reacts to that. [laughs]
Exactly like Avengers: Infinity War, the key reaction is devastation, with the added worry about Scott Lang's fate. Adding to his comments, he also noted that his movie also simply wasn't in the market for dramatic competition. He acknowledged that directors Joe and Anthony Russo delivered an unmatchable gut punch with their film, and it wasn't something he was interested in trying to replicate. Said Reed,
We also knew that we could not do what they did in Infinity War, because they did it, and it's never going to be as devastating - particularly with Peter Parker. We knew that we wanted to do our movies version of that, and that's where we landed with that.
As for Kevin Feige's thoughts on the matter, he explained that the Ant-Man And The Wasp end credits always featured the deaths of Hope, Hank, and Janet, and promised that we will get to see their stories followed-up next May:
It was always the plan; always the idea. Yeah. It's a standalone movie... until. And, of course, that will, for people following along, we will tie into Avengers 4 in a big way.
There are more than 40 weeks in between the releases of Ant-Man And The Wasp and Avengers 4, and we will be surely spending a lot of that time speculating and coming up with our own reasonable explanations. Thankfully Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's Captain Marvel will arrive in March to break up the wait, and will provide a couple end credits scenes of its own that will add more pieces to the puzzle.