Ant-Man 3 is actually happening
I say the above line with pleasant, but genuine surprise. After Marvel’s big Phase 4 unveiling at Comic-Con left out any mention of the Ant-Man franchise and characters, reports emerged that certain legacy characters were being absorbed into Disney+ programs and other movies. Ant-Man fans, the reports argued, needed to prepare for the possibility that Scott, Hope, Hank, Janet, and Cassie may only appear again in something like a Young Avengers spin-off, or maybe, who knows, Cassie Lang pops up in Disney+’s Hawkeye on as a best friend to Clint Barton’s daughter. (If Darcy from Thor can be in WandaVision, anything’s possible.)
As one of the seemingly few who prefer the Ant-Man branch of the MCU over just about everything else, I was disappointed to read this but hardly surprised. These films have always been the lower-budget, lower-grossing, family-friendly corner of the Marvel world, and by the close of Endgame you could argue the Ant-Man story had reached a natural stopping point: Scott and Hope are finally partners, both romantically and professionally. Janet Van Dyne is back to enjoy her retirement years with Hank. Scott’s business with Luis and the gang was last seen turning a big corner, though that was before the Infinity War blip.
Are there stories left to tell? Sure. The quantum realm – so crucial to both Ant-Man movies and Endgame – is still a massive story generator with decades of comic book material to draw on. Cassie being aged up into her teenage years means the MCU is finally ready to tackle one of my personal favorite Ant-Man comic book storylines: what does Scott Lang do when his daughter decides to become a superhero?
Parenting has been central to the franchise thus far, meaning this superhero parenting dilemma is the natural next step. Scott is suddenly the father of a teenage girl, and Endgame never gets into what became of her life during his five-year absence. She might already be dabbling in vigilantism for all we know.
Plus, last we of saw them Laurence Fishbourne and Hannah John-Kamen’s quasi-villain characters from Ant-Man and the Wasp have the potential to become allies. It’s also been left hanging that Janet isn’t quite the same person anymore, not in just a “decades in isolation will do that to you” kind of you but also “there might be something physiologically different about her now.”
But if Endgame had been it for the Ant-Man clan, I could have coped. Hope and Scott have plenty of great moments during the battle with Thanos (love her calling Captain America “Cap” and sharing a look with Scott afterward), they gather with Cassie to watch the after-battle celebratory fireworks, and that final shot of the Ant-Man family gathered to pay their respects to Iron Man is a lovely grace note.
Luckily, that’s not the end for them. According to THR, Peyton Reed is coming back for an Ant-Man 3, which doesn’t yet have an official release date but is most likely on track for 2022. If so, that would push Ant-Man 3 into Phase 5, not Phase 4. Insert your best guess for what the MCU will look like by then. Even with far down the road that is, I’d be stunned if we aren’t heading for a baton-passing movie about Cassie Lang’s ascension into what would be the third generation of ant-themed superheroes in the Pym/Lang family.
Also, post-Endgame the Ant-Man characters might be dealing with a renewed interest in all things quantum realm – remember, with the help of Pym’s technology Tony Stark invented time travel! Also, are Ant-Man and Wasp Avengers now, that is if there are even Avengers at all anymore?
On the Ant-Man and the Wasp director’s commentary, Peyton Reed admitted he left behind some bread crumbs about what they might do in a third film. He designed Ant-Man and the Wasp to have a sense of finality because a third film wasn’t guaranteed, but he didn’t want to completely close himself off from a sequel. I’d say putting the following scene into Ant-Man and the Wasp certainly qualifies as something which works on its own, functions as an easter egg for comic book fans, AND foreshadows what we might expect from what was then just a hypothetical third film:
As a young girl, Cassie wanted to be her dad’s superhero partner. Exploring how she feels about that as a teenager is an obvious starting point for Ant-Man 3. (Or should we call it Ant-Man and the Wasp 2? Or Ant-Man and the Microverse? Or Ant-Man, Wasp and Stinger? Or Ant-Man and the Family Stone?)
Help me out here. What should they call the sequel? And what should it be about? Let me know in the comments.