This article contains giant-sized Ant-Man 3 spoilers
Despite the pint-sized stature of its characters, Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania tries to be one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest outings. Well, having to introduce Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror into the world’s highest-grossing franchise is no small feat.
While audiences and critics can’t decide whether it’s one of the MCU’s best or worse, Phase 5 is off to a rocky start. Alongside a maligned MODOK, and with some questioning how Evangeline Lilly’s minor role as Hope van Dyne can warrant the “and the Wasp” title, could an alternate ending have saved the Ant-Man threequel? Let’s shrink down and look at the supposed Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania that never happened.
What Happens at the End of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania?
It’s no secret that Quantumania underwent reshoots in January 2023. A Galactus-sized plot leak made its way online in October 2022, and now the credits have rolled, it’s clear that it was almost all the real deal. As well as nailing plot points like Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) being MODOK, there was Cassie (Kathryn Newton) and Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) going supersized in the Quantum Realm. However, the final fight was seemingly changed.
Quantumania ended with Scott blowing up Kang’s multiversal core and the blue-hued baddie being presumed dead. This briefly trapped Hope and Scott in the Quantum Realm, and as the pair looked out on their new home, it seemed like the perfect time for the credits to roll. Instead, we switched back to Cassie, who used her invention to pull Ant-Man and the Wasp back out. Scott and the Pym van Dynes celebrated Cassie’s fake birthday, while the first post-credit scene had the Council of Cross-Time Kangs assembling and one pronouncing Quantumania’s Kang dead (don’t count on it).
If you thought the transition between Hope and Scott in the Quantum Realm and Cassie’s rescue felt slightly abrupt, you aren’t alone. When Heavy Spoilers reported on the October leak, it was thought that Hope returned to the Quantum Realm but Kang managed to escape. This left the pair stranded, similar to how Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) left Kang there. Apparently, the original post-credits featured Cassie running multiple simulations on how to save Hope and Scott, with her eyes going wide when she spotted something mysterious on a screen… cut to black.
The birthday meal now looks like a last-minute inclusion. January set photos showed Rudd holding the Baskin-Robbins cake, and although it originally looked like this was from the opening montage, it’s clear that it’s actually from the restaurant ending. Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas are sporting their finale outfits for the reshoots, while others noted (via Twitter) that Lilly’s hair is its usual color during the escape from the Quantum Realm, not the darker pixie cut we saw throughout.
Would the Alternate Ending Make Quantumania Better?
If we were to take the leaks as gospel, Quantumania‘s original ending raised the stakes and left the Kang we’d just spent the last 150 minutes getting to know as a major threat. Having Hope and Scott trapped in the Quantum Realm for the proposed Ant-Man 4 would’ve given us another reason to visit there, and possibly bring back Bill Murray’s Krylar.
The “family reunited” ending, while Scott worries about the threat the Exiled One foreshadowed, is a rehash of the Loki season 1 finale, where He Who Remains (played by Majors) warned Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) that killing him would lead to worse versions rearing their heads. Having various characters know about Kang(s) as a looming threat could conceivably get a little dull if Phase 5 continues the trend of peppering variants in shows and movies.
On the other hand, Hope and Scott being lost to the Quantum Realm mirrors the latter being stuck down there at the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp. Also, the fact that a potential Ant-Man 4 will almost definitely release after Avengers: The Kang Dynasty – and because it’s hard to imagine Ant-Man and the Wasp not being part of it – means we would’ve had to spring them from the Quantum Realm anyway.
The only cliff-hanger we’re currently left with is the whereabouts of the Exiled One. While all Kangs are technically Kang, the one Janet betrayed was thought to be the de facto Prime Kang. There are theories that the Kang masquerading as Victor Timely in the 1800s is our Kang having escaped into the past, but we’ll presumably have to wait for Loki season 2 to clear that one up. If not, we’ll note that historically Marvel have been fairly transparent about major changes they’ve made to their movies during all steps of the process, so some post-release interviews may well clear up those rumors of an altered ending.
The harshest of critics could argue Quantumania was a pointless endeavour apart from introducing audiences to Kang. Reshot endings and general gripes with Quantumania aside, at least most can agree Majors is a welcome addition to the MCU and a suitable replacement for Thanos… no matter what iteration of Kang he’s playing. But for now, the big bad of Phase 5 and 6 has gone out with a whimper instead of a “Kang.”