Quantumania Filmmakers on the Ending, Kang’s Future, and Ant-Man’s New Secret

Eric Goldman
Movies Comics
Movies Comics Marvel MCU

Note: FULL SPOILERS for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania follow. 

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has hit theaters, bringing with it another big opening weekend for the MCU – and the biggest by far for an Ant-Man movie, as the first in the series to break $100 million in its opening weekend – though also plenty of debate about the notable swings made in the film.

Read on for what writer the creative team behind the film had to say about how Quantumania ended and if darker conclusions were considered, the mid-credit scene and the many characters it introduced, a certain giant-headed villain, and Kang’s story continuing into the next Avengers movie.


Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Quantumania has a pretty happy ending, albeit with an asterisk. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) defeat Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) and though it briefly seems like they might be trapped in the Quantum Realm together, the portal is re-opened and they return home. Life seems good for Scott Lang and his family again, but there is some lingering self-doubt for Scott when he thinks back on the dire consequences Kang warned him would occur if the Conqueror didn’t succeed in escaping the Quantum Realm – the very thing Scott stopped him from doing.

Going into the film, many fans thought this Ant-Man might delve into territory the others had not by killing off one of the main characters. Asked if that was a consideration, director Peyton Reed replied, “We develop the script over months and months, sometimes years, and all of these things are on the table. ‘Are there characters we take off the table? What do you do?’”

That being said, Reed remarked, “At the end of the day, we have a tone with the Ant-Man movies and they’re comedic. This one definitely turns more serious and gets darker as it goes along. And with Kang, we liked the idea that they defeat him but there’s this lingering doubt that Scott has. ‘…Did we?’ We play off the idea that the rules in the Marvel Universe, with the Multiverse, they’re a little complicated now. And even one of the Avengers might not fully be able to understand it and say, ‘Oh, we prevented him from getting out. That’s great. It’s safe. But wait, he said if he didn’t get out, something bad was gonna happen. Oh, my God, have I just doomed… Have I killed everybody?’ Scott’s confused and he’s tamping it down. So you leave this lingering doubt as to whether did we take Kang off the table? Did we not? Is Kang the Conqueror coming back? Is he gone and it’s his variants who are coming back? What is that mystery that will be answered later?”


(L-R): Kathryn Newton as Cassandra "Cassie" Lang and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Producer Stephen Broussard said he was well aware some fans hypothesized, based on the trailers, that Scott himself might actually die in the film, but noted, “I don’t know if we ever really discussed that. What we discussed more was about separation. Do some people stay back [in the Quantum Realm]? Is there more separation between him and his daughter? Or is it vice versa; does she stay down there? So a lot of that got kicked around.”

Ultimately, Broussard said, “I think these characters will live on, but looking at it as a trilogy capper, it was like, man, can’t this guy just be around his daughter? It’s a bummer, right, to separate them again, so how can you have that happy ending? Ant-Man films have had that happy ending, with the dinner table in Part 1, the drive-in in Part 2, and the birthday scene at the end of this, but now with a little bit of that ominous [feeling]. There’s thunder rumbling in the horizon, which is exciting too.”

The film has received some criticisms that the ending doesn’t have enough impact or direct consequences for the heroes and that perhaps it would have felt like more sacrifice was made to defeat Kang if Scott and Hope were indeed trapped together in the Quantum Realm. For his part though, writer Jeff Loveness said, “I kind of love the ending that we landed on. I hear what people are saying but I feel if you just strand Ant-Man in the Quantum Realm again, that is exactly what happened at the end of the second movie, and the way out of it is exactly what happens in Endgame.”

(L-R): Director Peyton Reed and Paul Rudd on the set of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Said Reed, of where the film begins and ends, “Personally, for our heroes, I like the idea that at the beginning of the movie, Scott is literally an open book. He’s told his story to the world through his book. And it’s the other members of the family that are keeping secrets from him. Janet is keeping secrets about the Quantum Realm and what her life was like down there. Hope and Hank are keeping secrets from Scott about what they’ve been working on with Cassie in the basement. Cassie has been keeping secrets from her dad about ‘Oh, you were in jail before? What?’ So everyone’s keeping secrets from Scott and then you wind up at the end of the movie and everybody’s secrets are out. Except now Scott has a secret. And it’s this self doubt about whether he’s actually vanquished Kang. That seemed like a cool structure.”

In terms of where we leave off with Scott and his his dread that the danger Kang warned of isn’t over, Loveness said, “He is basically going to be the Paul Revere of the next phase of the MCU, which feels kind of cool – to have him be the frontman of what’s coming.”


Jonathan Majors as Kang The Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

The film’s mid-credits scene features Jonathan Majors, Jonathan Majors, Jonathan Majors, and a whole bunch of additional Jonathan Majors’, as we see the entire Council of Kangs, comprised of seemingly limitless multiversal variations of Kang, gathered together.

This group is right out of the comics and Loveness explained, “The Council of Kings was always in the cards and we had to keep it a big secret. We had to kind of breadcrumb it through the movie, but it seems like people are really digging it. So yeah, more of that to come.”

Three members of the Council are most prominent in the scene and seemingly in charge, two of whom are more obviously the MCU incarnations of notable Kang identities Rama-Tut and Immortus. The third isn’t quite as obvious at a glance but Broussard said that they had referred to him as Centurion, a nod to the Scarlet Centurion identity Kang used in the comics.

Explained Reed, of the Kang variants, “There were a lot of discussions about which ones we were specifically going to show and how much but the key was to really give the audience a taste of there are an almost infinite number of Kangs out there. Each one is in a different timeline, a different universe in the multiverse. To touch on these different characters, for Jonathan, it’s an actor’s dream, to be able to play all these different roles. But in a very short period of time, we wanted to introduce this sort of triumvirate of Kangs and suggest that there’s another power structure out there with the Kangs. Somebody exiled Kang the Conqueror into the Quantum Realm outside of space and time where he could not access his powers. And suddenly you realize, oh, maybe there’s this sort of Mafia-esque, kind of Godfather-esque, hierarchy at play. That seemed interesting and we had to do that all very, very quickly. And of course, I wanted to get to that Council of Kangs image that’s such an iconic comic panel with them up in the rafters. The guys in the cheap seats cheering up there, I loved it.”

The comic book version of the Council of Kangs


Rama-Tut is an especially notable incarnation of Kang, both because of his distinct look compared to the others (as someone who travels back in time to become an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh) and because technically, he was the first version of Kang introduced in the comics – in Fantastic Four #19 — even though it would be years before later stories explained that the Avengers villain Kang and the Fantastic Four foe Rama-Tut, plus the character Immortus, were in fact all the same person at different points of his life.

Said Loveness, “I just love the way Rama-Tut’s introduced in comic books. I mean, that’s how Kang is first introduced! That was also a big inspiration behind the story too. You can meet Kang out of order in his life, because like in the movie, he doesn’t live in a straight line. So we’re meeting Kang the Conqueror and, in a way, it’s like Julius Caesar just got exiled or assassinated by 50 Other Julius Caesars and it turns out they might be worse than him. To me, the fun of Kang is that he’s kind of a Russian nesting doll of a character and he’s been through many lives and there are many versions of him.”

The film also has a post-credit scene set sometime in the early 1900s, in which a variant of Kang known as Victor Timely speaks to an audience that includes Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson). While Broussard confirmed that scene is taken directly from the upcoming Loki Season 2, he wouldn’t reveal who directed it yet, explaining, “I don’t want to say it, because if I would, it would tell you where it falls in the season and that’s kind of itself a spoiler. But it was not directed by Peyton, it was directed by a member of the Loki team.”

Mechanized Organism Designed
Only for Kookiness

Corey Stoll as M.O.D.O.K. in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

A very notable element of Quanatumania is the introduction of M.O.D.O.K. into the MCU. The villain has always been known for his bizarre appearance, complete with his massive head, tiny arms and legs, and floating harness, which all remain intact onscreen. However, the movie does a major revamp on his origins and alter ego, with the first Ant-Man film’s Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) returning, having been transformed into M.O.D.O.K. by Kang, rather than the comics’ George Tarleton and his A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) connections.

When it came to merging together Darren Cross and M.O.D.O.K., Loveness said, “I think that was Peyton Reed’s idea, which I think is just a brilliant idea. It makes a ton of sense and it gave us a chance to put our own sort of Ant-Man MCU stamp on M.O.D.O.K., because A.I.M. had already kind of been played out in Iron Man 3 and the Hulu M.O.D.O.K. show did a brilliant job of the more straight up George Tarleton version of him. So I thought it was a real fun chance to take a big swing with M.O.D.O.K..”

(L-R): Kathryn Newton and Screenwriter Jeff Loveness on the set of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

M.O.D.O.K. has become a polarizing aspect of Quantumania, with some arguing the character doesn’t work visually onscreen or wishing he’d been made more menacing in general, while others find him a purposely outlandish highlight. For his part, Loveness had no regrets, remarking, “Look, man, I’m gonna go to the mat for M.O.D.O.K. I love him!”

The character has a very funny death scene, in which he makes some rather grandiose statements, including that he is dying an Avenger, and Loveness added, “That final scene with him is maybe my favorite thing I’ve written in a long time and hearing the audience be confused and shocked and disgusted and then on his side and laughing… M.O.D.O.K., next to writing Kang, is the thrill of the movie for me.”


Loveness is not only continuing with the MCU following Quantumania, he is specifically sticking with Kang, writing what is obviously a very big deal for Marvel Studios via the fifth Avengers movie, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, scheduled to open in 2025.

The screenwriter said he was particularly excited to continue to develop Kang with Majors, saying, “Jonathan is the best actor of his generation, I think. I really wanted to see that character’s story through and I think he’s got the potential to be the great performance of the MCU, which is no small feat. But I think Jonathan’s got it.”

Loveness is a longtime Marvel comics fan (and has written Marvel comics himself, including Nova and Groot) and said that when it came to guiding Kang’s story, “I saw the potential for this character and what he can do from the comics and how he can fit into the MCU. I’m just thrilled I got the chance and I’m excited for people to see what’s coming up. I can’t say too much about it but we’re taking some big swings.”

The Core of Kang

Jonathan Majors as Kang The Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Majors has now had a healthy amount of screen time as both He Who Remains in Loki Season 1 and as Kang the Conqueror in Quantumania and got to introduce quick snippets of several other incarnations in the mid-credit scene. So just how different are all these guys from one another? Does the Multiverse mean they can be 100% different with zero similar traits beyond their appearance (and, so far, brilliance)? Or is there something that’s more a part of their core personality, regardless of variant?

Said Loveness, “That’s a very good question that Jonathan and I are kind of talking about right now. He’s mentioned that in interviews – like, what is the throughline of his character? I think Jonathan said ‘What is the gene of Kang that passes through?’ It’s too early to say right now, but for me, I think Kang is like a question you can never quite answer. It’s how many lives can a man have? If Thanos was such a monolith, and such a titan, Kang is a postmodern villain. He can be anything. And that’s what he says to Janet. He almost doesn’t want to be Kang. When you see a secret come out in the movie, and she says, ‘Who is Kang?’, he says ‘Who I need to be.’ He’s trapped in this. I can’t say too much but Kang can be whatever he needs to be and he has limitless opportunity and nothing but time. So how do you use it? He’s got kind of a Highlander problem, so we’ll see how it shapes out.”

It’s clear Janet and Kang spent quite a bit of time together before she learns about his conquering ways and the name Kang, but we never learn what name he went by with her before that. The most obvious answer would be Nathaniel Richards, his real name in the comics, which is notable itself because of its nod to his family relation in the source material — though they were born centuries apart — to the Fantastic Four‘s Reed Richards.

Asked what name Janet was calling Kang while they worked to repair his ship’s core, Loveness replied, “I can’t say too much,” joking, “Let’s just say the four-hour Loveness cut would have would have answered that.”

He added, “I would say Kang is a title, not even a name, and that is a mask that he wears. Certainly he was and is a human being with a name. For the sake of pacing, things get chopped out or cut down, but I think we’ll be seeing what this guy’s name is pretty soon and who he relates to and what’s going on.”

Eric Goldman
Eric Goldman is Managing Editor for Fandom. He's a bit obsessed with Star Wars, Marvel, Disney, theme parks, and horror movies... and a few other things. Too many, TBH.