This article contains spoilers for Marvel’s Loki
We still need to wait until 2023 before we get to see Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang and Evangeline Lilly’s Hope van Dyne back in action in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, but Marvel is giving Ant-Man fans reason to celebrate in June of 2022!
Marvel Comics has announced a special 4-issue miniseries to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Ant-Man’s first appearance in 1962’s Tales to Astonish #35. Written by Al Ewing (The Immortal Hulk) with art by Tom Reilly (The Thing), Ant-Man promises to dig into the hero’s legacy by looking at each of the men who have carried the title.
Accompanying the announcement is an intriguing poster that consists of four panels, each showing off the costume and helmet of a different Ant-Man. Three of the four panels show us a character we’ve seen before, including the first Ant-Man Hank Pym (“The Original”), his successor Scott Lang (“The Thief”), and fan-favorite Eric O’Grady (“The Irredeemable), who briefly donned the costume in 2006’s The Irredeemable Ant-Man, from The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and artist Phil Hester.
For fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the fourth panel holds the most allure. There, we see an all-new black and red Ant-Man costume, alongside a text block proclaiming, “The Future”!
You’d expect such language in a series devoted to celebrating a character’s history, and Marvel Comics are certainly no strangers to time travel, but time travel has now become an integral part of the MCU’s version of Ant-Man. In 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, we saw how Lang’s adventures in the Quantum Realm – the dimension he accesses by shrinking to sub-atomic size – allows him to visit the past.
More importantly, we know that the primary villain in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania will be the time-traveling tyrant Kang the Conquerer, played by Jonathan Majors. Even better, MCU chief Kevin Fiege has revealed that Kang will be big-bad for the next few phases of the franchise, filling a hole left by Josh Brolin’s Thanos.
We’ve already seen an aspect of Kang in the MCU, thanks to the Disney+ series Loki. In that show’s first season finale, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and the variant Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) discover that the meddlesome Time Variance Authority (TVA) is operated not by a godlike triumvirate called the Time-Keepers, but by a figure known only as He Who Remains, portrayed by Majors.
He Who Remains certainly wields a heavy hand over the multiverse, which is why Sylvie kills him in the final episode of Loki Season one, but he’s not the one to worry about. Before he dies at Sylvie’s hand, He Who Remains warns of his own Variants, one of whom will certainly be Kang the Conqueror.
While we probably won’t get to see the real Kang in the MCU until Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania releases on July 28th, 2023, this upcoming comic series promises to be a big deal for Marvel’s smallest hero. Could we also see this new futuristic Ant-Man costume appear in the MCU when the film arrives? Only time will tell.