Ant-Man and the Wasp may have faced down Thanos and lived to tell the tale – but they’ve never encountered anything like Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror. As Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly’s Avengers head down to the Quantum Realm with their Ant-Family in tow, they have to face down the new MCU villain as well as navigating the weird and wonderful world of Marvel’s mini universe.
As Quantumania hits cinemas, we sat down to speak to Rudd and Lilly separately to discuss what new sides we see from the heroes thanks to Kang, how "tedious" it was for Rudd to film opposite infinite versions of himself, and how a new generation of heroes is invigorating to the MCU.
The interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
Every hero needs a good villain. You have one of the best in Kang. What does he draw out of [Scott and Hope] that we haven’t seen before?
Paul Rudd: I think that he’s certainly the most powerful [villain]. I think a lot of things that Scott has been able to do, they don’t really work with him. Even his rhythms, everything about him is different.
Scott is a little discombobulated by it all. He fights him in a way that we haven’t seen in the other films. He also brings out a real threat against his family, his daughter. The angry dad side is the thing that makes it all the more real for Scott.
Evangeline Lilly: I think that’s one of the most fun things about shooting this film. We had an infusion of new characters. Whenever you put your character up against an energy you haven’t encountered before, something else will come out of your character. We had Cassie Lang, and it was really fun to see that girlfriend BFF energy that we haven’t seen come out of Hope before. Then we have Janet in her relationship with Hope where we see the disappointed little girl.
But when she comes up against Kang, that’s when – for the first time – you have this woman who is competent and capable in all situations feel on the back foot and feel scared and vulnerable in a way we’ve never seen before. She doesn’t know what to do or how to react.
Scott has a book out, Look Out for the Little Guy. In Ms. Marvel, we discover he also has a podcast. Why does he embrace that celebrity lifestyle where some Avengers might not?
Paul Rudd: Scott is not a guy who was born with any super ability. It's not innate. He's a regular guy. And for a regular guy, he certainly has experienced quite a bit. He's been in the Quantum Realm a few times, he's gone up against Thanos. He's saved the universe. He's been in jail more than once. He's suffered. Now it's all kind of in his rearview mirror. So he’s probably kind of okay with taking a little bit of a victory lap and breathing and spending time with his daughter.
He’s also probably a little bit like, ‘A bit of thanks would be fine.’
You must have achieved a lifelong dream by appearing alongside an infinite amount of yourself. What was that like to film? How loose and improv-y were you allowed to be with it?
Paul Rudd: I could be a little loose and improv-y, if I was gonna say something and have a chance to react to it. What was it like to film that sequence? Really tedious and difficult. It lasted a long time. For the visual effects artists, it was one of the more challenging things I think they had to do.
I did a show once [Netflix's Living With Yourself] where I played a clone of myself. So I learned some tricks as far as eyelines, how I can make it look like I'm looking at myself when there's no one there and how I can react to myself and make it seem like I really am playing off my own voice. But this was that x 10,000.
So to have to film each character a few different times, and then climbing up versions of me there were guys in blue suits, because I couldn't fake it – it was just, it just took a long… a long day. We actually had to film it after we finished shooting the movie, because it was gonna take so long.
Quantumania kicks off Marvel Phase 5. How does it set the tone for what’s to come?
Paul Rudd: It’s gonna set the tone in that it’s introducing Kang. Kang the Conqueror is going to be a big part of everything that’s about to happen. It really is the thing that’s going to inform that. And the tone is huge! It felt different filming this one than it did the first time. This was like 'Oh, wow, this is bigger.' This seems badder and scarier.
What’s it been like seeing a new generation of heroes and actors like Kathryn Newton step up to the plate in the MCU?
Evangeline Lilly: It’s so fun! It’s so satisfying for me as a woman, because so many of them are young women and they have such a different role to play [than] previously in most superhero movies, including Marvel movies, which is being relegated to serious, competent, capable and always doing the right thing. That was something that was too predictable with the women.
But this young generation that’s coming in, they’re giving them such freedom to have fresh energy, have different personalities, have different quirks. Be zany, be funny, be clumsy, be silly. There’s so much color in this new generation and, for me, it’s just this great big exciting sigh of joy that this is happening.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is now out in theaters. Already seen it? Then check out our guides to:
- What Marvel movies and shows to watch before Ant-Man 3
- All of the Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Easter Eggs we spotted
- When will Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania be on Disney Plus?
- When does Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania take place on the Marvel timeline?
- All of the Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania cameos
- Our guide to the Marvel Timeline
- How to watch the Marvel movies in order