Small details you missed in Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp, Marvel's version of an appetizer before the main course of Captain Marvel and Avengers 4, brings Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly back into the title roles as the size-changing superhero duo. Along for the ride are all of their pals, families, a collection of new villains, and more tiny buildings and gigantic Pez dispensers than you can even try to count.

While the Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place in the space between Civil War and Infinity War, Scott Lang's house arrest means that he kinda keeps a very separate life from his one-off adventure with the Avengers. As such, it's not too easy to find a whole lot of Easter Eggs in this film — maybe they're too tiny to be seen by human eyes. But there are a good deal of references that dive deep into Marvel lore, and at least one extremely meta cameo. Let's check out the secrets of Ant-Man and the Wasp, however small they may be.

Stan the Man

Let's get the most obvious, impossible-to-miss cameo out of the way first. You'll find Stan Lee, the co-creator of Ant-Man and the man credited with being the main architect of the Marvel Comics universe, attempting to get into his car during the second half of the film, during the car chase scene through the streets of San Francisco. He noted that the '60s sure were a lot of fun, but that he's paying for it now. 

In April 2018, it was reported that Lee had filmed multiple cameos at the same time, not because of fading health, but because he simply isn't into flying around to so many different movie sets. Even though Lee missed an in-person cameo in Deadpool 2 (despite appearing in the teaser trailer), the same report confirmed that he's already filmed his cameo in Avengers 4. Here's hoping we get to see him for another ten years of Marvel movies.

Young Avengers

Even if you're unfamiliar with Scott Lang's role in the Marvel comic books that served as inspiration for this movie, you might still probably guess that his badass daughter will one day become a superhero herself. It's clear that she has a hero's heart and desperately wants to help out her dad.

A brilliant kid in the comics, Cassie Lang ends up spending time at the Four Freedoms Plaza with the Fantastic Four. There, she's surrounded by superheroes herself, and develops a taste for adventure, experiments with Pym Particles, and eventually runs away to join the Young Avengers once Scott is (temporarily) deceased. For now, her conversations of being her dad's partner in heroism are a prescient, but distant, dream. They'll fight side-by-side someday, and if casting rumors are to be believed for Avengers 4, she'll be back much sooner than expected… as a 16-year old kid, probably ready for a fight.

Egghead & Jimmy

Jimmy Woo's appearance in Ant-Man and the Wasp isn't so much an Easter Egg as a dive deep into Marvel's past. Originally appearing in the comics in 1956, Woo is a secret agent, much like he is on the big screen. He's drifted in and out of secret organizations for decades, but he's most notable just for being pretty good secret agent, as well as a very positive deviation from the negative stereotypes Asians faced in comics during the 1950s.

Buried a little deeper is the family history of the MCU's Ghost, daughter of Elihas Starr. Starr first appeared in 1962's Tales to Astonish #38 as the villainous Egghead. His first arch-nemesis was, of course, Ant-Man, and his grand plot was to simply turn all of Ant-Man's ants against him. True love prevails, and Ant-Man is not betrayed by his ants, despite Egghead's super-science. It's a far cry from attempting to build quantum machines like the big screen's version of Starr, but his entanglement with the MCU doesn't end with him just being related to a supervillain. As far as the comics are concerned, Starr was always up to no good, and it was Starr who helped Darren Cross out with his Yellowjacket armor. Will Starr's true intentions be revealed down the road?

As for the MCU's version of Ghost, she really has nothing to do with the Ghost you'll find as part of the Thunderbolts in Marvel's comics. Ghost is just a common name among superpowered people.

Co-hosts with the most

Possibly the most meta reference in the MCU is the appearance of comedian and professional weirdo Tim Heidecker as Whale Boat Captain Daniel Gooobler. Yes, that's "Gooobler" with three O's. Tim is the co-host of the satirical On Cinema at the Cinema podcast, alongside Gregg Turkington, where the two hosts battle for movie superiority… and to get the best movie cameos.

You'll remember Turkington as the Baskin-Robbins manager in the original Ant-Man, a cameo which enraged Tim to the point where he allegedly paid $15,000 for his brief cameo in Fox's Fantastic Four reboot as Reed Richards' useless father. Tim returns now with the best cameo yet, hosting the San Francisco whale boat tours. That extra O in his name? That stands for 'outstanding'.

And while we're digging up co-host cameos? Well, despite the movie's the cast list, don't look for Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster — the brilliant minds behind The Best Show as the drivers of Sonny Burch's SUV. They were cut for the final film, which also marks the second time Scharpling's been cut from an Ant-Man film. What does it all mean? Probably nothing, except that Paul Rudd hangs out with a lot of really funny people.

Mass media

Obviously, Ant-Man isn't the first movie to play with the idea of objects and creatures of unusual sizes. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids introduced Antie, a regular-sized ant which was straight-up enormous to the extra-tiny kids, and Them! was all about massive, irradiated ant invaders. Ant-Man and the Wasp references the latter movie in two ways: it's the feature that Scott, Hope, and Cassie are watching at the end of the film after Scott finally allows his daughter to have a real adventure as a super-tiny person. Additionally, when Bill Foster is cornered by Pym's giant ants in his lab, he utters, "It's them!"

But if you know your 1970s movies, you'll also recognize Animal House playing on a TV screen. Specifically, it's a scene in which a very drug-induced conversation centers around the idea of an entire universe being contained in an atom in a fingernail. That's basically the definition of the Quantum Realm. Thanks for the enlightenment, stoner comedy.

Single frames

Many viewers left the original Ant-Man with the distinct impression that they'd seen Janet Van Dyne trapped in the quantum realm, even for a split second. Of course, it couldn't really be proven until home viewers could pause frames selectively at home, but we knew she was there.

This time around, Marvel's Kevin Feige has definitely confirmed that we'll have to wait for the comfort of our living rooms to see the single frames of MCU hints that director Peyton Reed has slipped into this film's expeditions into the various unseen realms. We already know that Doctor Strange got a quick view of the Quantum Realm as he zipped through the multiverses, and that the trip is made perilous by time vortexes. We also know that Avengers 4 seems to be playing fast and loose with time travel, and the possibility of multiverses. With so many ways to traverse time and space, anything is possible. We just won't know what's up until we can hit the pause button. One thing is for certain: it's not really the Marvel Universe until we find a universe that has a MODOK. Make it happen.

X-Con Security solutions

While the main plot of Ant-Man and the Wasp is focused on saving Janet Van Dyne from the Quantum Realm, there's also some screen time dedicated to what Scott had been doing before all the superhero shenanigans. Between long baths and online magic tutorials, he's started a small business with Luis and company: X-Con, a security consulting service. It's a smart way to bring back the fan-favorite Luis, but it's also a reference straight out of the comics.

Specifically, it's from 2015's Ant-Man comic series, which features Scott Lang starting a security consulting service called "Ant-Man Security Solutions." Just like in the movie, Scott isn't exactly the best boss, since his gift for burglary (and stopping burglary) runs up against his habit of forgetting important details. The main difference is that the comics version features the Grizzly, a giant bear-man ex-supervillain, as his business partner/employee. Here's hoping that this particular detail somehow makes it into the next Ant-Man movie as well Who wouldn't want to see Michael Peña suit up in a giant bear costume on the big screen?

Eye see what you did there

Early in the film and in one of its cutest sequences, Scott builds an obstacle course/heist for his daughter out of cardboard. That bit of father-daughter bonding might be adorable, but it also may hide a very obscure reference to one of Marvel's strangest villains: the Orb. In order to crack the "retinal scanner" that Scott has assembled, Cassie has to put on a giant eyeball mask, which looks suspiciously similar to the Orb — a Marvel supervillain whose head is a giant eyeball.

While it seems like a bit of a stretch, the Orb actually became a pretty major player in the last decade of Marvel Comics. In 2014's Original Sin storyline, he successfully assassinates the Watcher (a powerful cosmic being that, well, watches over everything in the Multiverse), forces dozens of heroes to confront long-buried secrets in their past, and even becomes a pseudo-Watcher himself. Is Cassie's mask a hint that there's an even more powerful enemy for the Avengers to fight after Thanos is taken care of? We'll have to keep our eyes peeled.

Magic man

Scott's struggle to keep Cassie entertained while he's under house arrest involves more than just building giant cardboard obstacle courses: he also becomes an expert at close-up sleight of hand thanks to an online magic course. Even the straight and narrow FBI agent Jimmy Woo gets interested enough to try out the video course for himself. It's no wonder that Scott becomes pretty good at magic, since his online teacher is actually played by an expert magician: Blake Vogt.

Vogt has made a name for himself as a magic consultant on movies like Now You See Me and Now You See Me 2, and he contributes his expertise to Ant-Man and the Wasp as well. In addition, he cameos as Scott's online teacher, briefly visible while Scott (and later Jimmy) are learning close-up magic. You know what this means, don't you? Now Dr. Strange isn't the only magic user in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Really small details

While size-changing was a big (so to speak) part of the original Ant-Man, the sequel makes the Pym Particles an even bigger part of the story. Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne are on the run from the FBI  in a giant laboratory that doubles as a piece of luggage — complete with a handle and wheels for maximum convenience. Meanwhile, they've been working on some monumental technology in the interim between each movie. The Quantum Tunnel that they constructed to save Janet from the Quantum Realm is a fun mix of low and high-tech, combining intricate computer parts with small items enlarged to match.

Keep your eyes peeled in the movie for giant volume knobs that help calibrate Janet's location, giant bread clips holding wires together, and plenty of other enlarged household objects used for the Quantum Tunnel. It might be true that one man's trash is another man's treasure, but it's probably a bit more convenient when that trash is expanded to giant size.

Ant-Man and the Wasp and the Matrix

While Laurence Fishburne is a phenomenal actor with a long history of excellent film roles, he's arguably best known for one in particular: Morpheus, the mysterious leader of the freedom fighters in The Matrix. Fishburne's Bill Foster doesn't share many qualities with Morpheus, but Ant-Man and the Wasp still has a small (so to speak) reference to that earlier role.

When Scott, Hank, and Hope try to convince Bill to help them track down Pym's stolen technology, they find him teaching a class on quantum entanglement. Like basically every lecture scene in any movie, the presentation is packed with information that's relevant to the main plot, with exposition about quantum entanglement and the "phasing" that Ghost does throughout the movie. However, if you were busy listening to the dialogue in the scene, you might have missed that the blackboard behind Bill is covered with mathematical equations — and one includes the word "Matrix" right next to his head in the shot. As Keanu Reeves' Neo would say: "Whoa."