Just how does the Quantum Realm fit into Captain Marvel? Introduced in 2015’s Ant-Man, the Quantum Realm is a mysterious dimension that’s outside the normal laws of time and space. “It won’t be apparent for years,” Kevin Feige noted while promoting Ant-Man, “but the whole notion of the Quantum Realm and the whole notion of going to places that are so out there, they are almost mind-bendingly hard to fathom. It all plays into Phase Three.“
Hank Pym discovered the Quantum Realm while experimenting with the Pym Particles, and initially believed that anyone who entered this dimension would be lost forever. Ant-Man revealed that he was wrong, though, with Scott Lang showing was possible to survive in the Quantum Realm; thus the sequel, Ant-Man & the Wasp, focused on Pym’s attempts to rescue his long-lost wife from it. The film also introduced us to Ghost, a woman whose body had been exposed to Quantum energy and who was slightly out of phase with our reality. The post-credits scene saw Scott Lang stranded in the Quantum Realm after Thanos snapped his fingers and half the life in the universe was erased from existence – including everybody who knew where Scott was.
It’s generally believed that the Quantum Realm will be particularly important to the plot of Avengers 4. The most popular theory is that Scott will escape, perhaps via a time vortex, and make his way to the Avengers; Stark will hit upon the idea of using the Quantum Realm to travel through time, rewriting history in order to avert the snap. If this mysterious plane of reality really is so important to the future of the MCU, though, shouldn’t we also expect it to crop up in Captain Marvel?
- This Page: Do Captain Marvel’s Powers Come From The Quantum Realm?
- Page 2: The Quantum Realm’s Connection To The Kree – And Thanos
Captain Marvel Will Be Linked to the Quantum Realm
The Quantum Realm is essentially the brainchild of Dr. Spiros Michalakis, a quantum physicist recruited by Marvel back in 2014. As he reflected in a blog post, Michalakis was brought in as a consultant to help the studio work out the pseudo-science behind Ant-Man. According to quantum mechanics, if you shrink beyond a certain point then the laws of time and space break down, and that’s where the Quantum Realm comes in; by accessing this plane of existence, in theory, you’d be able to rewrite the scientific laws of the universe and even travel through time. In fact, Michalakis was even the one who came up with the name; Marvel couldn’t use the term “Microverse” for legal reasons, and asked him for ideas.
Back in 2017, Michalakis conducted a follow-up interview in which he talked about the story potential of the Quantum Realm. Crucially, the scientist hinted that the Quantum Realm would indeed be important to Captain Marvel. “This is exciting for the future,” he explained. “There are different ways that some of these ideas appear on-screen in a few years. Not just for Ant-Man, but also for Captain Marvel and all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.“
But how exactly will the Quantum Realm figure into this film? Until the release of the first Captain Marvel trailer, there was simply no way to know. Now, though, a theory is coming together; perhaps, in the MCU, the Quantum Realm is the source of Carol Danvers’ powers.
Captain Marvel’s Powers Could Come from the Quantum Realm
The Captain Marvel trailer shows a brief glimpse of the hero’s origin. It looks as though Air Force pilot Carol Danvers gains her powers after being exposed to unknown energy when a device explodes in her proximity. That’s a similar origin to the comics, where Carol was transformed when she was stood next to the Kree Psyche-Magnetron when it went critical. But, while the broad-brush approach may be the same, this may not be a Psyche-Magnetron. Instead, it must be noted that the energy flare in the trailer looks very familiar indeed; it’s just like the Quantum Realm explosions we saw in Ant-Man & the Wasp. Another scene in the trailer appears to show the aftermath of this explosion, with Carol’s hand generating the same kind of energy.
Ant-Man & the Wasp revealed that exposure to energy from the Quantum Realm can grant superpowers; both Janet Van Dyne and Ghost were transformed due to Quantum energies. It’s possible that Carol has stumbled upon some sort of Kree Quantum technology, perhaps damaged after a crash; when she investigates, she gets too close and is caught up in the blast.
According to Kevin Feige, Captain Marvel will be the strongest hero introduced into the MCU to date. Perhaps that’s because she taps into the almost-unlimited power of the Quantum Realm itself. Significantly, in the comics, Carol has the ability to go “Binary,” drawing energy through an inter-dimensional breach known as a “White Hole.” The Captain Marvel trailer ended with a scene in which Carol appears to do just that, but it’s possible that, in the MCU, Carol is the inter-dimensional breach – drawing upon the energies of the Quantum Realm.
The Kree Could Be Experimenting With Quantum Realm Technology
In the comics, the Kree have researched this kind of interdimensional technology. They were fascinated by the powers of the superhero Quasar; he wields so-called “Quantum Bands” that allow him to draw upon the unlimited power of a dimension known as the Quantum Zone. In fact, the Kree even created their own versions, powerful objects they call Nega-Bands that likewise tap into the power of other planes of reality. It’s not much of a leap to suggest that the idea of the Quantum Zone has been absorbed into the MCU concept of the Quantum Realm.
This could explain the origin change. Perhaps Carol stumbles upon a Kree experiment that they hope will allow them to wield the powers of the Quantum Realm; when the device malfunctions, she’s transformed in a blast of Quantum energy.
If this theory is correct, the Kree would naturally be excited at seeing just what kind of power can be unlocked by accessing the Quantum Realm. They’d continue their experiments, perhaps even creating Nega-Bands to grant key operatives the same kind of abilities as Captain Marvel. That may well explain why Jude Law’s character has a slightly different costume to the rest of the Kree Starforce; his gauntlets are unusually distinctive. They could be the Kree version of Nega-Bands.
That would have a major effect on the movie’s story. The Captain Marvel trailer confirmed that Carol Danvers is suffering from amnesia, with artificial memories possibly implanted by her mysterious Kree commander. That would mean the Skrulls aren’t the only villains in the movie; Carol will ultimately wind up going up against the Kree as well. It would make sense for Marvel to arm one of the key Kree characters with weapons that can match Carol, allowing a final “boss fight” that pushes Captain Marvel to the limit.
What Does This Mean for Avengers 4?
If Captain Marvel’s powers do derive from the Quantum Realm, then she will most certainly be the most powerful Marvel hero to date. There’ll be no limit to the amount of energy Carol Danvers can draw upon; we already know that Infinity Stones can be destroyed in the MCU, and the kind of power we’d be associating with Captain Marvel may be able to overwhelm even an Infinity Stone. Carol’s only limitation will be her body’s ability to withstand the energy she’s channeling. In the comics, excessive use of her powers has often exerted a physical toll on Captain Marvel – even, during the Kelly Sue DeConnick run, causing lesions on her brain that triggered the onset of memory loss. Carol’s battle against Thanos may force her to pay a terrible price, as she risks losing her sense of identity once again.
But Captain Marvel could be important in another way, too. If she is indeed some sort of walking, talking interdimensional breach, then it’s entirely possible she could be the key to entering the Quantum Realm. That could be key to helping Ant-Man escape, but would also impact the plot. So far, it’s generally been assumed that, in Avengers 4, the surviving heroes would access the Quantum Realm by shrinking to subatomic size. Instead, perhaps Tony Stark learns to use Carol’s powers to create a gateway. Again, to refer to the comics, in her Binary form Carol has demonstrated the power to open tears in the fabric of reality, portals that serve as gateways to other dimensions.
So far, this is only a theory, but it’s one that fits with what we know. The explosion in the trailer definitely suggests Carol will gain her powers after being exposed to Quantum energy, an idea that fits well with Carol Danvers’ power levels in the MCU. If this theory is correct, it suggests Captain Marvel’s incredible abilities will be the key to Thanos’ defeat to Avengers 4.