Thursday, July 23, 2015

What's Up with [Spoiler]?

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Warning:  This post contains some spoilers for Ant-Man.  If you have not yet seen the movie, click away from here to, find the next show time at your local movie theater, get in your car, go to the theater and watch Ant-Man (remember, it’s the one with the ants), then come home, read my spoiler review, and finally return here to read this article.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to one of the big questions we’ve been asking about that flashback scene with the nuke:  What’s up with Janet?

I mean, come on, did you see the suit she was wearing?  To me it basically looked like Ant-Man with boobs and wings!  Not that it needed to be as comic book-like as the suit Hank presented to Hope at the end of the movie, but I would have appreciated something a little more distinct from Ant-Man’s costume.  There is an argument to be made for her similar costume:  that way at a glance they look the same, so the enemy will think that there’s just one size-changer and be thrown off by the appearance of a second one.  But I still think something a little more distinctive would have been better.

Wait, you mean that’s not the question we’re here to discuss?  Right… we’re here to talk about what happened to her.

We know that on a mission in 1987 Janet and Hank were attempting to disarm a Soviet nuclear missile that separatists had hijacked and launched against the U.S.  Hank couldn’t cut through the shell and realized that they would have to shrink between the molecules.  He couldn’t do it because his regulator was damaged, so Janet did it and destroyed the missile.  However, she couldn’t return to normal size, so she shrank to subatomic size, entered the Quantum Realm, and was never heard from again.  After it happened, Hank spent the next 10 years trying to learn as much as possible about the Quantum Realm in hopes of bringing Janet back.  But up until now, he’s only learned that he doesn’t know anything about the Quantum Realm.

But now we know that it’s possible to not only survive in the Quantum Realm but even to return from it.  Scott managed to return in one of the trippiest moments of an already-kind-of-trippy movie.  He shrank between the molecules of the titanium plating protecting the Yellowjacket suit, destroyed the suit, and shrank into the Quantum Realm.  Then he somehow managed to grow his way out of the Quantum Realm by replacing his regulator with one of his growing discs.  Could Janet also find a way to return?  Or (more likely at this point), could the new Ant-Man and Wasp rescue her?  I think it is absolutely possible.

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Believe it or not, there is actually a precedent for this very storyline.  During the Secret Invasion, Janet Van Dyne was one of the heroes fighting against the Skrulls.  However, she had been given “new” Pym Particles by the Skrull Hank Pym, but the new Particles were actually engineered to turn her into a “bio-bomb.”  When the Skrull activated them they caused her to start growing out of control.  When Janet realized what was going on and that she would explode and kill her fellow Avengers, she ran at the Skrulls so that as many as possible would be taken out by the explosion.  However, before she could explode, Thor used a spatial warp to disperse Janet into nothingness in order to save the heroes and the city (which would all have been in the blast radius regardless of where she exploded).

However, Janet was not really killed during the Secret Invasion.  In reality, Thor had sent her into a Microverse at the spot where she “died,” and several years later she was able to send the Avengers a distress call.  Giant-Man, Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man went into the Microverse to find her, and helped her to defeat a tyrant who had taken over that Microverse before they all returned to normal size.

Could this—shrinking into the Quantum Realm and living there for decades—be what happened to Janet during that mission 28 years ago?  I would not be surprised to find that out.  Considering that Scott was in fact still alive at a subatomic level in the Quantum Realm, it would stand to reason that Janet also was/is still alive in the Quantum Realm.  And if that’s the case, then she can still be rescued, just as she was in the comics.

So this all begs the question:  how/when will Janet be rescued?

An Ant-Man sequel has yet to be announced (as of this writing… and I doubt it will be announced any time soon), so we can’t make any assumptions about it except that it is probably coming sooner or later.  However, I think an Ant-Man sequel would be the most likely place for this plot to be explored.  And if  it happens in Ant-Man 2, my guess is that Hank will figure out a way for Scott and Hope to shrink their way into the Quantum Realm and then expand themselves and Janet out of the Quantum Realm once they’ve found her.  It could even follow the comic book story I mentioned, in that Hope and Scott need to defeat some sort of Quantum Realm tyrant before they leave.  This would be a fun way to do something drastically different in the sequel than they did in the original, something which would set the Ant-Man franchise apart from something like Iron Man, which has a similar villain in every sequel.

The other option would be for the Quantum Realm to play a part in another Marvel movie such as Doctor Strange or Avengers: Infinity War.  The way Kevin Feige has been talking about the Quantum Realm lately, it is almost as though this could be another dimension—and we know that Doctor Strange is going to make extensive use of alternate dimensions.  Likewise, Avengers: Infinity War could make the Quantum Realm a vital part of the battle against Thanos, leading to Janet’s surprise return (along with Hope and Scott) at the crucial moment to turn the tide in the heroes’ favor.

Regardless of when it happens, I think it is only a matter of time before we get to see Janet Pym return from the Quantum Realm to reunite with the “Ant-Family” (Batman, eat your heart out!) and give Hope her blessing to take over the Wasp mantle.

When do you think Janet will return to the picture?  How big of a role do you think the Quantum Realm will play in the MCU going forward?  When do you want the next Wasp appearance (Hope or Janet) to come:  Ant-Man 2, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, or somewhere else?

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