Does a city in the depths of the Quantum Realm hold the key to the new villains of Avengers: Endgame? Marvel Studios is carefully avoiding giving away any major spoilers about Avengers: Endgame, to the extent that Kevin Feige has suggested all footage used in trailers and TV spots could well be from the film’s first 15-20 minutes. For all that’s the case, though, details are still beginning to get into the public domain courtesy of official merchandise – and they suggest there may be quite a few major plot twists.
One leaked toy box hinted that Thanos won’t be the only villain in the film. The description included in the tie-in merchandise reads: “The Asgardian Thor wields the mighty Stormbreaker in his battle against new foes,” and “Rocket teams up with a new crew to guard the galaxy from an even greater threat.” Significantly, these two action figures were models of the two heroes in new white costumes that are commonly believed to be Quantum Realm environmental suits. So it’s entirely possible these dangerous new enemies originate from the Quantum Realm.
That’s where Ant-Man & the Wasp may come in. In one scene, Hank Pym and Scott Lang flew out of the Quantum Realm – right past a mysterious city, covered by a dome. It was only on the screen for a split-second, almost hidden by the psychedelic special effects of the Quantum Realm, but it was definitely there – confirming that the Quantum Realm is indeed inhabited. This could well be where the new threat comes from; the Avengers are expected to head into the Quantum Realm in order to travel in time and rewrite history, and they could unwittingly come into contact with the inhabitants of that city. But what city is it, who lives there, and what could these new foes be?
- This Page: Is Ant-Man & The Wasp’s Hidden Quantum Realm City Chronopolis?
- Page 2: What Role Could Immortus Play In Avengers: Endgame?
Is Ant-Man & The Wasp’s Hidden Quantum Realm City Chronopolis?
In order to answer this question, it’s logical to turn to the comics themselves, which serve as the loose inspiration for the Marvel movies. Unfortunately, it’s actually quite difficult to find a city in the comics that parallels the one glimpsed in Ant-Man & the Wasp. You’re looking for a clearly advanced city, one that exists in some sort of other dimension or higher plane of reality, and that’s covered by a protective dome. Surprisingly enough, in over 65 years of Marvel comic books, there only appears to be one location that fits with this checklist; Chronopolis.
In the comics, Chronopolis is the stronghold of classic Avengers villain Kang the Conqueror, although it’s also been associated with other time-travelers like Immortus as well. It sits outside of time in a realm called Limbo, and can allow access to all the various time-periods Kang has conquered. Each block of Chronopolis extends to the ends of the Earth in the time-period it exists in; unless you find the hidden portals connecting the different blocks, it’s possible to get lost in Chronopolis forever. The more primitive time-periods are on the outskirts, the more advanced towards the center, and Chronopolis is dominated by Kang’s Citadel. Very few comics have ever shown Chronopolis from the outside – the focus is usually on the Citadel itself – but the few that have done so have shown a city that appears to match with Ant-Man & the Wasp.
It’s important to note that Kang is very much unlikely to appear in Avengers: Endgame. Kang has strong ties to the Fantastic Four, and as such it’s known that his film rights sit with Fox. Although Marvel is expected to regain them later this year, should the Disney/Fox acquisition be approved by international regulators, that will be far too late to introduce Kang in Endgame. But as noted, other time-travelers like Immortus have their own ties to Chronopolis. It’s certainly not inconceivable the MCU could switch things up by placing a character like Immortus on the throne instead of Kang.
Is The Quantum Realm Also The MCU’s Limbo?
There are several realms referred to as Limbo in the comics, but the one tied to Kang and Immortus is probably the most interesting. It’s a unique dimension that exists outside the time-stream and thus possesses no time. Reality is comprised of a single, ever-changing moment in which everything that ever was, is, and could coexists. Any time-traveler in Marvel Comics passes through Limbo, using it to jump from one point in history to another.
At first glance, this seems slightly different to the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man & the Wasp. After all, if there’s no time in the Quantum Realm, then Janet Van Dyne shouldn’t have aged while she was trapped there. However, Kevin Feige himself has explained that the relationship between time and the Quantum Realm is a little bit more complicated. Feige pointed out that the movie hints at there being “various levels” to the Quantum Realm; Janet, for example, asks to be rescued from “the Wastelands beyond the Void.” Presumably it works like a sort of series of concentric circles: the deeper you get into the Quantum Realm, the more the laws of reality – laws like time and gravity – cease to apply. So the MCU’s Limbo analogue could be at the very heart of the Quantum Realm.
There are two major points in favor of this idea. Firstly, Samuel L. Jackson has revealed that Captain Marvel can travel through time under her own power, and it’s long been known that the Quantum Realm will feature in Captain Marvel in some way. If the Quantum Realm does indeed contain the MCU’s version of Limbo, then Carol Danvers would pass through it when traveling in time. Meanwhile, it’s generally believed that the Avengers will enter the Quantum Realm in Avengers: Endgame in order to use it to time travel. If that is the case, according to Feige’s explanation they should really be expected to head to the very center of the Quantum Realm – a Limbo-like reality.
Page 2 of 2: What Role Could Immortus Play In Avengers: Endgame?
Chronopolis In Avengers: Forever
One final detail is worthy of note. Chronopolis actually appears in 1998’s Avengers: Forever miniseries, where the Avengers even visited it briefly. This was a crazy time travel story in which Kang and Immortus wound up on the opposite sides of a temporal war, with the Avengers caught in the middle of it. Avengers: Forever revealed that Immortus served the Time-Keepers, who saw themselves as custodians of the time-stream and who directed Immortus to destroy or break up the Avengers in order to preserve the timeline. Interestingly, there’s some evidence the Russo brothers may be aware of this story, so elements from it could well be relevant to the plot of Avengers: Endgame.
Chronopolis And Limbo In Avengers: Endgame
It’s important to remember that there’s supposed to be a straight narrative throughline between Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man & the Wasp, Captain Marvel, and Avengers: Endgame. Given that’s the case, elements of both Ant-Man & the Wasp and Captain Marvel are expected to set up the fourth Avengers blockbuster. Some of that setup may be explicit, such as the focus on the Quantum Realm, but it would hardly be a surprise if some of it was a little more subtle. Thus the city briefly glimpsed in Ant-Man & the Wasp could well turn out to be key.
Assuming that the Quantum Realm is indeed the MCU’s version of Limbo, then the Avengers won’t just need to enter the Quantum Realm in order to travel through time; they’ll need to go to the heart of it, where the laws of time and space break down completely, and where history can be rewritten. Unfortunately, that would also be the site of Chronopolis, where Immortus dwells as guardian of the time-stream. Doctor Strange has already confirmed that the time-space continuum is fragile; Wong warned Stephen Strange he was breaking it when he used the Time Stone to experiment upon an apple. No doubt Thanos’ use of the Time Stone in Avengers: Infinity War caused a lot of damage, when he literally reversed the destruction of an Infinity Stone and then used the Infinity Gauntlet to erase half the life in the universe. Would Immortus really approve of the Avengers’ attempts to further change the past, risking causing more problems? It’s worth remembering the first synopsis for Avengers: Endgame. “Our beloved heroes will truly understand how fragile this reality is,” the synopsis cautions, “and the sacrifices that must be made to uphold it.“
In the comics, Immortus is served by Phantoms, wraith-like beings who have stayed too long in Limbo and have become his servants. Some of them are quite formidable; in fact, during an event in the ’90s called “The Crossing” one of them tore through a team of experienced Avengers like they were rank amateurs. If Immortus is opposed to the Avengers’ agenda, then they will be faced with some very dangerous foes indeed. In fact, on occasion Immortus’ Phantoms have been known to the Avengers; they have included a future version of Quicksilver and Crystal’s daughter, Luna. Could that even explain why Marvel cast Emma Fuhrmann as an older Cassie Lang, Ant-Man’s daughter? Has a future Cassie gotten stranded in Limbo, and become one of Immortus’ pawns?
Is Immortus In Avengers: Endgame?
So far, of course, this is all just a theory – one that’s predicated on a single assumption, that the Quantum Realm city in Ant-Man & the Wasp has a comic book precedent. But the Russos have insisted that they believe Avengers: Endgame is a brand new story, one that’s designed to celebrate the last decade’s worth of Marvel movies rather than specifically to honor a comic book run. Asked about recommended reading, Joe Russo insisted he couldn’t think of any. “I don’t think there are any comics that correlate to it,” he observed. “I think we’re in pretty fresh territory with Avengers 4. If anything, I think it’s interesting after to go back and look at some of the Marvel films and view them through a different lens. But I can’t think of any comics in particular that would have value.” So it’s entirely possible this is all something of a red herring.
And yet, the interesting thing is that this fits well with everything that’s already been established. Visually, Chronopolis is indeed reminiscent of the Quantum Realm city; it’s not difficult to work out how to tie Limbo and the Quantum Realm together; and it would make perfect sense to have Immortus play an important role in a time travel film. It wouldn’t be particularly surprising if this theory turned out to be correct.