Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for Ant-Man and the wasp: Quantumania.
With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Marvel Studios decided to raise the stakes for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe just as Phase 5 begins. The movie introduces Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton) to the superhero life, the main attraction of Quantumania is undoubtedly Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), the villain of the next big MCU crossover, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. While it might sound strange that a villain that’ll fight every Marvel hero at the same time has become the antagonist of Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man and Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp for Quantumania, the movie underlines how Kang is a force of nature. And by the time the credits roll, it’s clear the heroes only achieved their victory due to incredible luck and the arrival of unexpected allies. With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania now on Disney+, let’s break down the final battle and discuss all the forces at play in Quantumania‘s big showdown.
How Kang Got to the Quantum Realm
To understand the central conflict of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, we must go back to the time Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) was trapped inside the Quantum Realm. At first, Janet thought she was alone in the desolate place. However, one day a strange man arrived in a high-tech ship. The man told Janet he was a scientist that ended up inside the Quantum Realm, but if she helped him fix the Multiverse Core of his ship, they could return to their respective homes. Janet and Kang become friends, working together to fix the core. When they finally manage to do the impossible, and Kang’s ship is restored, Kang’s neurotech is powered up again, giving him control of his combat armor.
Since the ship is connected to Kang’s brain, Janet inadvertently reads the villain’s mind when touching the vessel. It’s then that Janet becomes aware of Kang as the Conqueror, a man who destroyed countless worlds and timelines. Janet also realizes Kang didn’t end in the Quantum Realm by accident. Instead, he was exiled to this place outside time and space, where he would remain trapped forever.
As much as Janet wishes to go back to her family, she cannot allow Kang to escape and return to his conquering ways. That’s why she tries to steal the Multiverse Core and run away. When Kang proves too powerful, Janet uses the Pym particles to explode the core, making it gigantic and impossible to use. In the decades that followed this fateful encounter, Janet becomes a freedom fighter, leading the native people of the Quantum Realm against Kang. Meanwhile, Kang, still in control of his combat armor, has built an empire for himself in the Quantum Realm, waiting for the right time to get his Multiverse Core back and finally wage war against other versions of himself.
The Multiverse Core
When Cassie builds a satellite to explore the Quantum Realm, she sends a signal that’s received by MODOK, The Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, who is actually Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), the Yellowjacket, and the villain in the first Ant-Man movie. After being defeated in the first movie, Darren is sucked into the Quantum Realm and deformed to become a giant head with tiny limbs. Kang finds Darren and turns him into a perfect weapon, using him to track down his enemies. Willing to please Kang, MODOK brings the entire Ant-Man family into the Quantum Realm, knowing they are the key to recovering the Multiverse Core.
Since Kang threatens to kill Cassie, Scott agrees to help Kang retrieve the core. To do this impressive feat, Scott needs to shrink down and reach the center of the power source, walking through a probability field. At first, the task seems impossible since the probability field creates competing Variants of Scott, one for each possible outcome. However, since every version of Scott is motivated by his love for Cassie, they end up working together to reach the center of the Multiverse Core. Hope also comes to Scott’s help at the very last second, and together they manage to reshrink the Multiverse Core, fixing it and allowing Kang to use it to escape the Quantum Realm.
As soon as Scott gets his hands on the core, he’s attacked by Kang, who steals back the power source and kidnaps Janet. Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) ship is also destroyed by MODOK. As for Cassie, she remains trapped in Kang’s citadel. All hope seems lost, but our heroes decide to fight back with the help of Hank’s ants that got sucked into the Quantum Realm. Due to a temporal distortion, the ants lived through thousands of years in a single instance, achieving unimaginable technological advancement. And with the help of Hank’s Pym particle expertise, Scott can grow bigger than he ever has, turning his body into a battering ram.
Quantumania’s Revolution Begins
In the third arc of Quantumania, Scott attacks Kang’s citadel with Hope by his side. On the inside, Cassie manages to escape captivity and releases the freedom fighters who are being kept locked in prison. Cassie also sends a message to the entire Quantum Realm, asking people to join their fight against tyranny. Soon, ships and warriors from every corner of the Quantum Realm converge in the citadel, attacking Kang’s forces and taking their lands back.
While Cassie’s plan works, she also becomes a target for MODOK, who Kang orders to hunt down and kill her. But after being defeated by Cassie, MODOK reflects on his past actions and has a change of heart. MODOK decides he doesn’t want to be a dick anymore, which will come in handy during the final fight against Kang.
At first, Kang uses all his energy to ignite the citadel, which he transforms into a giant ship to take himself and his army out of the Quantum Realm. However, with the help of the revolutionaries, Scott manages to destroy the citadel’s ring, preventing Kang from escaping. Enraged by the resistance, Kang suits up and decides to fight the revolutionaries himself. And fight he does, wiping out the rebellion forces without breaking a sweat.
Once again, all hope seems lost. However, Hank arrives with an army of superpowerful ants, which turn the tides in favor of the heroes. The ants are so mighty that Kang can do nothing but sustain an energy field to protect himself from harm. It’s then that MODOK throws himself against Kang, using his body to disrupt the energy field, allowing the ants to rip off the villain’s armor and drag him away. MODOK is killed in the process, but he goes down as a hero.
A Lose-Lose Situation
After the fight is over, Janet uses the Multiverse Core to open a gateway back to Earth. The whole family crosses it. Well, almost, as Kang emerges from the wreckage of his citadel and uses the last blast of his armor to stop Scott from returning too. Kang tries to jump through the portal himself, in an attempt to finally regain his freedom, but Scott stays back to fight the villain and stop him from getting out of the Quantum Realm.
It’s clear that Kang is the better warrior as he wipes the floor out with Scott. Scott, however, is not concerned about winning. He only wants them both to lose. And once Hope returns to the Quantum Realm to help with the fight, they manage to destroy the Multiverse Core by throwing Pym particles at it. Kang is sucked into the probability field of the energy source, supposedly dying, and the portal back to Earth is closed.
It seems like Scott and Hope are trapped inside the Quantum Realm, a heavy price to pay for their victory. But Cassie manages to track her father down with her Quantum radar and reopens the portal, saving everyone. The Ant-Man family is back on Earth, Kang is defeated, and the revolutionaries have taken their kingdom back. All seems well, but the post-credit scenes underline Kang is still a threat to everyone.
One Kang Down, Hundreds to Go
The first end credits scenes of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania presents the people who exiled Kang to the Quantum Realm. They are all Variants of Kang, united in a temporal council to decide the fate of the Multiverse. In the end-credits scene, hundreds of Kangs are summoned to discuss how the Avengers of Earth-616 are messing with the Multiverse and might prove dangerous to their plans. We don’t know their goals, but if every Kang across the timeline decides to attack a single Earth, not even Earth’s Mightiest Defenders could stop them. The council of Kangs controls time itself, and you cannot just punch a concept. It’s time to start counting the days before The Kang Dynasty release.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is now on Disney+