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This Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania Theory Could Change Everything

When Disney held its Investor Day in late 2020, there were plenty of exciting announcements about upcoming Marvel projects. One of the films that Kevin Feige spoke about at length was Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the upcoming third Ant-Man film. The movie is likely looking at a release date sometime in 2022, with production expected to begin in spring 2021. Given the title, Feige's confirmation of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly's involvement was expected, along with Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer, who play Hope Van Dyne's parents.

What really shocked fans was the two other casting announcements. One was the recasting of Scott Lang's daughter, Cassie Lang, who was previously played by Emma Fuhrmann in Avengers: Endgame, and will now be played by Kathryn Newton. This is significant, as it suggests a bigger role for Cassie going forward in the MCU. Along with that, Feige announced the involvement of actor Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror, a well-known villain in Marvel Comics who fans have been hoping would join the MCU soon.

But what if Majors's role isn't that simple? Marvel has been known to misdirect fans ahead of releases to create more surprising reveals, and according to a major fan theory, Kang the Conqueror's story in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania might not be what you expect.

Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror might not really be the villain

According to a Reddit thread started by user KostisPat257, the role of Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man 3 may actually be the introduction of Iron Lad, also known as Nate Richards. As Kang the Conqueror commonly uses time travel in his villainous plots, there are quite a few versions of the character in Marvel Comics. Though Majors' version could easily be the original Nathaniel Richards version, who aims to conquer the universe and commonly fought the Avengers in comics since the 1960s, there's also a chance that the film will cover the story of a younger Richards, called Nate by friends, who flees through time from his future self and dark destiny. 

U/KostisPat257 suggested that Majors' character could actually be young Nate "using the quantum realm to travel back in time" and meeting "Ant-Man and the Wasp who have entered the realm to investigate its mysterious energy that gave Ava [Starr] and Janet [Van Dyne] their powers." Lang, Hope, Cassie, and the others could help Nate, bringing him back to their time, while also bringing up new questions of quantum mechanics and time travel in the MCU. 

If this is the way the MCU decides to go, it wouldn't be that surprising. Though not officially confirmed, it seems pretty obvious that upcoming Marvel projects are leading up to a Young Avengers team-up, with Hawkeye's Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness's America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) already in the mix. In the comics, Nate has a strong connection with the Young Avengers, and is a founding member under the superhero name Iron Lad. This character has a particularly close relationship with Cassie.

The story of Iron Lad, Stature, and the Young Avengers

In the comics, Nate travels from the 30th century into the past — our present — looking for help from the Avengers or anyone who can possibly protect him from Kang. Instead, he helps form the Young Avengers with a handful of other heroes like Bishop, Billy Kaplan, Teddy Altman, and of course, Cassie, who at the time fights crime under the superhero name Stature. Nate takes on the identity of Iron Lad and joins them, quickly developing romantic feelings for Cassie.

Still hiding from Kang, Nate soon realizes that his presence with the team is a threat to their safety, and he needs to return to his own time to save them and face his future self. Along with that, his time in the present is putting the timeline in flux. Despite this, his feelings for Cassie cause him to hesitate in making a decision, but he eventually does return home to the future, saying goodbye to Cassie and his new friends. After further studying the timestream and multiverse to learn how to time travel without damaging the timeline, Nate, as Iron Lad, returns to the present a few times to help. This happens once during the fallout from "House of M," another storyline that Disney and Marvel Studios may be about to introduce.

Majors could be playing two versions of Kang the Conqueror

Nate and the older Kang are just two versions of the iconic comic book character, but their combined storyline has very close ties with the Young Avengers and other Marvel Comics events that the MCU appears to be building toward. While Marvel could choose to only focus on one version of Kang, it's also possible that Majors could be playing both the older and younger versions of the character, acting out the whole storyline of Nate versus Kang fighting to ensure their shared destiny. 

This way, Majors would be playing both the villain through the classic Kang the Conqueror, and the not-so-villainous as young Nate a.k.a. Iron Lad. This storyline would allow Lang and the others to fully explore the Quantum realm and its powers, while also presenting a complex and interesting story of this character, Nathaniel Richards. After his roles in Lovecraft Country and The Last Black Man in San Francisco, it's clear that Majors is very talented and capable of taking on the challenge of playing two different versions of the same character. 

If this theory for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is true, it would kickstart a more expansive era for the MCU, filled with time travel, quantum reality, and hopefully many other cosmic heroes.