Warning: Spoilers ahead for Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Ant-Man in the Wasp is a movie about a very complicated family growing bigger and overcoming its issues. And by the end of the film, most of these issues are resolved before it's all thrown for a spin in a similar fashion to the conclusion of Avengers: Infinity War. Let's break down where these threads end and what Ant-Man and the Wasp's ending means for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The main plot of Ant-Man and the Wasp picks up roughly two years after the events of Ant-Man and during that time, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) got caught up in the Captain America: Civil War conflict which resulted in a plea deal for him with the government for breaking laws set forth in the Sokovia Accords. Lang is under house arrest and just days away from completing his sentence. He's been out of touch with Hank Pym and Hope who are on the run from the government and at odds with Lang for betraying their trust, but he's mended his relationship with his ex-wife (Judy Greer) and spends weekends with his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson).

During this time, Hank (Michael Douglas) and Hope (Evangeline Lilly) have built a new lab and have been doing everything they must (including working with a dealer of illegal special tech) to find a way to re-enter the Quantum Realm and rescue Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer). They believe she's alive after Scott was able to enter the Quantum Realm and return during the events of the first movie. You can already see the layers of the family theme at work here. Scott can soon leave his house and spend more time with his daughter, while Hope and Hank are trying to make their family whole by rescuing Janet. Scott still must also mend his relationship with Hank and Hope, however, to bridge that gap.

The extra layer here is the introduction of Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) and Ava (Hannah John-Kamen), two characters that have their histories intrinsically to Hank Pym's past. The pair are a family unit themselves with Foster having essentially adopted Ava after the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Ava is the way she is because of her father having worked for (and been fired by) Hank in the past. Ava, and Foster to an extent, are the de facto antagonists of Ant-Man and the Wasp but are by no means "villains" or evil.

Playing with the theme of family, the film wraps up on a rather positive note. Scott Lang finishes his house arrest sentence and can spend more time with Cassie and his relationship with his ex-wife and her partner (Bobby Cannavale) is happy and healthy. Janet is rescued and now part of the core Ant-Man and the Wasp family, working alongside Hank, Hope, and Scott. And Bill Foster, who's been trying to save the life of Ava this whole time is working alongside them - and with Ava - to continue exploring the Quantum Realm and its energies which Ava needs to survive. Everyone is fine, their issues resolved, and they're all part of the same team.

And then the mid-credits scene happens and we learn that Janet, Hank, and Hope have been eradicated when Thanos snaps his fingers with the Infinity Gauntlet at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, explaining why only Ant-Man appears in the leaked Avengers 4 concept art.

Let's back up and take a look at a few specifics from the how the plot threads resolve.

Page 2: The Future Of Ant-Man & The Wasp's Heroes

Cassie Lang, Future Member Of The Young Avengers?

During the conversation where Cassie Lang convinces her dad to break the rules and help save Hope and Hank, she talks about wanting to be Scott Lang's partner. He didn't realize Cassie was referring to herself when she suggested Scott needed an ally in the field, and then jokes that he'd be a terrible father if he let her suit up and fight given how young she is (although this sort of mimics Hank not letting Hope suit up in the first movie). Cassie jokingly resists before admitting Hope is the partner for her father.

There's such an obvious and deeper layer to this. This scene - along withe the drive-in scene at the end of the movie with Hope and Scott where Cassie says she just wants to "help people" - represents intentional foreshadowing due to how the film really ends. The mid-credits scene reveals Scott trapped and alone, without his "family" of heroes and certainly without any partner to speak of. Who will Scott Lang partner with then when he re-emerges from the Quantum Realm in the future (note: Janet specifically mentions avoiding "time vortexes" on his way into the Quantum Realm) for Avengers 4?

Of course it's Cassie. And wouldn't you know it but an older Cassie Lang was cast for Avengers 4. She'll be played by Emma Fuhrmann.

Cassie Lang suits up as a hero known in Marvel Comics so the blueprint, or at least, the inspiration and ideas are there. In the source material Cassie follows the footsteps of her father and becomes a version of Ant-Girl or Giant-Girl, but was also known as Stature, and most recently, Stinger. Cassie Lang is also a member of the Young Avengers - something we no doubt will see setup in the MCU, even if it's not called that. It's time for youth to be introduced among Marvel's movie heroes and Cassie is likely a key part of this going into Phase 4.

Until then, Cassie is again without her father so Scott was right all along that every time he tries to help she gets hurt...

Janet van Dyne Has Evolved

Michelle Pfeiffer's casting as Janet van Dyne is perfect, but she's criminally under-utilized in Ant-Man and the Wasp. For a character stuck for decades in the Quantum Realm, she makes her return to our reality in tip-top shape, perhaps even beyond that.

Janet is as much a genius has Hank Pym, but seemingly more focused and level-headed. It was her formula and manipulation of Scott Lang that leads to her own rescue, and even when Hank enters the Quantum Realm in search of her, Janet must save him so they can escape together.

Somehow she's been able to live and learn and plan in the Quantum Realms all this time. We're told time works differently in the Quantum Realm but that didn't stop Janet from still aging, so she experienced that time. Still, she did gain the power to use quantum energy with a simple touch; it's because of this Janet can help heal Ghost.

Is there more to this though? Janet's calmness despite being trapped alone for all these years (in a place we're told messes with one's mind) seems eerie, especially when coupled with her costume (where did she get that cloak and what's she been eating?). She even knows about "time vortexes", namedropping them in the mid-credits scene just for the sake of laying some Avengers 4 exposition. Maybe there's more to Janet's future in the MCU than we think. She cannot have experienced this unscathed, can she?

Page 3: How Ant-Man & The Wasp Leads Into Avengers 4

The Consequences of Pym Particles and Quantum Energy

There must be consequences to this power and the audience is told as much, but Janet escapes the Quantum Realm with any consequence. This isn't the only time we've seen warnings and mentions of consequences without seeing the actual ramifications.

The Quantum Realm takes a toll on the mind. Scott Lang mentions it and Hank Pym experiences duress first hand during the different phases of entering Quantum Realm. But there's more and it has to do with the size-shifting technology itself. When we visited the set of first movie, the cast and crew spoke to us about Pym Particles having negative effect on the user, perhaps explaining the extreme volatility of Darren Cross a.k.a. Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) of the first film, and certainly the anger issues and arrogance of Hank Pym who seems to have burned bridges with every partner he's worked with in the past. It might even explain some of the actions of Elihas Starr a.k.a. Egghead (Ava's father) in the past which led to Ava's condition.

What will it do to Scott Lang and Hope? And what does Janet refer to when telling Hank that she's evolved in the Quantum Realm?

The Quantum Avengers

The most appealing part of Ant-Man and its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that it was the only film to include and tell the story of a hero with a family, and in the sequel's case, generations of families. This dynamic gets even more complicated and continues to expand in Ant-Man and the Wasp with the additions of Bill Foster and Ava, or Goliath and Ghost, respectively.

With the original Wasp back as well, and everyone connected to Hank Pym in some weird way and having access to Quantum or Pym Particle related powers and tech, the Ant-Man family of heroes is massive. Especially if you add in the support staff of Luis (Michael Peña), Kurt (David Dastmalchian), and Dave (T.I.). They're essentially their own size-changing Avengers now on the run from the government.

So, even if we lose two Wasps and an Ant-Man in the mid-credits scene, Scott Lang doesn't have to be alone in Avengers 4. He has Cassie, and perhaps even Ghost although she may need help getting Quantum Energy to survive. Marvel Studios boss and producer Kevin Feige did tell us that there will be more female heroes than male ones in the MCU soon...

As for what's next for these heroes, it's an absolute must that these characters get another movie. There's so much more to do with a character like Ghost who has the power to phase through objects and who has S.H.I.E.L.D. field agent experience as a stealth operative and assassin. And we want to see more of Foster as well, maybe even him suiting up as Goliath at some point. When we interviewed Michael Douglas for Ant-Man and the Wasp, he was hopeful of a prequel, using Marvel's de-aging tech where young Bill, Hank, and Janet can suit up as the original Avengers in the '90s. Indeed, we know how much Marvel Studios loves playing with timelines; the next movie in the MCU after all, is set in the '90s. Captain Marvel releases in March, the last step on the path before Avengers 4 wraps up Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in May 2019.

More: Ant-Man and the Wasp's Post-Credits Scenes Explained

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