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Why Quaz From Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania Looks So Familiar

After a necessary break from Marvel content, the MCU is back, kicking off Phase 5 with "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." The conclusion of the "Ant-Man" trilogy picks up with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) living the high-life as a public figure after The Avengers saved the world in "Endgame." Scott has a loving relationship with Hope (Evangeline Lilly), he's spending time with his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton), and he even published a memoir, which fans can own.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Scott and the rest of the Ant-Man family are brought into the Quantum Realm, leading to a confrontation with Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).

Although "Quantumania" opened with one of the lowest Rotten Tomatoes scores of any MCU film, it promises to usher in a new dynasty as Marvel Studios edges closer to the next "Avengers" movie. As is the case with most projects, Marvel fans can expect a slew of new characters tagging along for Ant-Man's latest adventure.

 Of course, Kang is the most notable, with Majors playing another variant of the classic comic book villain. The movie also introduces a group of Quantum Realm Freedom Fighters, including a telepath named Quaz, played by William Jackson Harper.

At first glance, Quaz seems to be a brand-new character created for "Quantumania," but Harper is too notable of an actor for a simple one-off appearance. Harper's still-blossoming career has taken him through film and television, and here's where fans have seen him before.

William Jackson Harper hit indie gold with Paterson

One of William Jackson Harper's earliest movie roles was Everett in "Paterson," an incredible tale of about overcoming setbacks that put people's personal dreams in jeopardy. The movie, by acclaimed indie director Jim Jarmusch, follows Paterson (Adam Driver), a New Jersey Transit bus driver and poet. During the day, Paterson eavesdrops on passengers' conversations, using them as inspirations for his poetry, which he only shares with his wife. He frequents a local bar, where audiences meet Harper's Everett, a love-stricken patron who asks Paterson for relationship advice. 

Everett loves another patron, Marie (Chasten Harmon); although, the feelings aren't mutual. He struggles with this situation, leading to a beautiful scene between the two characters at the bar. Later, after another round of rejection from Marie, Everett threatens the bar with a gun, and Paterson subdues him, only to reveal the weapon is a toy. 

In an interview with Yahoo, Harper joked that getting taken down by Driver, a real-life Marine, helped prepare him for action roles, which he had not experienced at this point in his career. Harper would later use those techniques in a guest appearance in Amazon's "Jack Ryan" series. 

He made a name for himself in The Good Place

Arguably, William Jackson Harper's most notable role was playing Chidi Anagonye in NBC's "The Good Place," starring alongside Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, Manny Jacinto, and fellow MCU newcomer Jameela Jamil. The show focuses on the afterlife, with humans either going to the Good or Bad Place after they die, depending on how they act throughout their lives. 

Harper's Chidi is a university professor who lectures on ethics and philosophy. His kind-hearted nature lands him a spot in the Good Place after a falling air conditioner crushes him. Unfortunately, his afterlife soulmate is Eleanor (Bell), a selfish saleswoman who he teaches the fundamentals of being a good person to.

"The Good Place" perfectly executes the underlying message that everyone can become a better person regardless of their situation, using comedy and its unique afterlife setting to express this to audiences. While the show received high praise from critics and audiences, Harper earned his fair share, leading to his first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. 

His portrayal of the anxious, neurotic Chidi propelled him into the limelight and solidified his spot in the industry. During an interview with IndieWire, Harper reflected on his time before "The Good Place," saying he worried a lot about paying his rent. Thanks to his performance on "The Good Place" — not to mention his new MCU contract — those worries are likely a thing of the past.

Harper was sacrificed in Midsommar

William Jackson Harper played Josh in legendary director Ari Aster's "Midsommar," starring alongside fellow MCU stars Florence Pugh ("Black Widow") and Will Poulter ("Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3"). The film follows a group of college students who travel to Sweden to experience the annual midsummer festival. 

Josh is a major catalyst in getting the group to accept their invitation, as he is writing his thesis on European midsummer traditions. When the group arrives at the Hårga commune, Josh is eager to learn more about the strange practices of the Swedish community. 

He goes against direct orders from an elder, sneaking out at night to take pictures of their sacred texts. Unfortunately for Josh, this is the last audiences see of him, as a man wearing Mark's (Poulter) face hits him on the head and drags him away. Later, Christian (Jack Reynor) discovers the commune members planted Josh's severed leg in a flowerbed, confirming he met his end. On the bright side, overlooking the dismemberment, Josh got off relatively easy, as other characters suffered much more gruesome deaths. 

In an interview with Collider, Harper revealed it wasn't until after he read the script and auditioned that he saw Aster's previous film, "Hereditary." From the reading, he knew the movie would be special, but after watching the director's debut film, he had to be a part of it.