Disney/Marvel

Here's Why An 'Ant-Man' Sequel Could Be Even Weirder Than 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'

Marvel laid the groundwork for some very big small ideas in 'Ant-Man.'

Did you think "Guardians of the Galaxy" was a stretch for Marvel? Well, Marvel just stretched even further, thanks to "Ant-Man."

On the surface, there's no question about which of the two most recent non-"Avengers" Marvel movies wins out in sheer weirdness. Yes, Scott Lang and Hank Pym spend their time hanging out with and talking to ants. Scott shrinks down to ant-size and beats the crap out of the bad guy with a Thomas the Tank Engine. It's weird. But it's nowhere near as weird as realizing that Iron Man exists in the same universe as bounty-hunting raccoons and trees, green-skinned alien assassins, and a wisecracking duck who dwells in a small post-credits slice of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

When you look at the two movies that way, it's no question that "Guardians of the Galaxy" is a weirder movie than "Ant-Man." And it is. But "Ant-Man" introduces a concept to the MCU that could make "Ant-Man 2," should it come to pass, a far stranger sight than anything glimpsed in "Guardians," or any other Marvel movie for that matter.

  • To get the full picture, you're going to need to shrink down to the right size.
    Marvel Studios
  • You're going to need to be smaller than a bullet.
    Marvel
  • You're going to need to be smaller than an ant.
    Marvel
  • You're going to need to go subatomic.
    Marvel
  • All set? Cool. Welcome to the Microverse.
    Marvel

    Described by Marvel.com as a place that's "only accessible by the energies released when shrinking beyond the sub-atomic level." It was discovered and settled by humans from thousands of years into the future who were forced to leave behind an uninhabitable Earth, initially bringing them back to the prehistoric ages of Earth, before a man named Prince Wayfinder used a mystical weapon called the Sword in the Star to create the Microverse.

  • Allow Doctor Doom to tell you a little more.
    Marvel

    See? I told you things were going to get weird. And that's just Sub-Atomica, first appearing in "Fantastic Four" #16. It's one of the many different micro-worlds in the Microverse. In fact, the Microverse is misleading, as there are multiple Microverses in Marvel. It's a really, really, really big place — and it exists several sub-atomic sizes under our very noses.

  • "Ant-Man" doesn't exactly explore the Microverse…
    Marvel

    …at least not fully. But it's alluded to multiple times throughout the movie -- and eventually called the Quantum Realm -- with Hank Pym worrying about how shrinking down to subatomic levels will leave you lost forever, dead and gone. Scott proves Hank wrong in the climax of the movie, when he goes subatomic to stop Yellowjacket, forcing him to suffer a surreal trip ala "2001: A Space Odyssey." He comes back from it, giving Hank renewed hope that his wife, Janet van Dyne — the superhero formerly known as Wasp, presumed killed when she herself shrunk down to subatomic size — might be alive after all.

  • So… are we going to the Microverse?
    Marvel

    Kind of feels like we have to, right? Hank thinks Janet might still be alive, and that's going to cause him — or Scott, or Hope, or SOMEBODY — to shrink down to size and go poking around. It's a perfect way to bring Janet into the modern MCU. And besides, it's on the radar of several Marvel characters, from the big bad Thanos to the Guardians themselves. (Bug, a key Guardian in the comics, hails from the Microverse. An Ant-Man and Bug team-up is begging to happen on screen.) Even if the Microverse isn't explored in an actual "Ant-Man 2," it wasn't introduced without a reason.

  • The real question is, WHEN are we going to the Microverse?
    Marvel

    It could be fertile ground for "Avengers: Infinity War," not that the two-part movie doesn't already have a lot on its plate. It could also bear fruit in "Doctor Strange," seeing as the Master of the Mystic Arts has taken interest in the Microverse in the past. Maybe it's being set up early on here in "Ant-Man," and won't be explored until after "Infinity War" wraps up in 2019. After all, how can Phase Four possibly get bigger than Thanos bringing his cosmic wrath down upon Earth and its mightiest heroes? It can't — unless it goes smaller.

  • In other words…
    Marvel

    Even if we have to wait a while for "Ant-Man 2," or even if it doesn't come at all, the Microverse is here and ready for further exploration. It's a vast world with a vast history and a vast amount of weirdness. If you thought Marvel was weird already, it's only going to get weirder.