Just which heroes were teased at the end of Marvel's Ant-Man? The film ends with a brilliant scene in which Michael Peña's Luis reveals that an Avenger is looking for Scott Lang. It's hardly the news the new superhero wants to hear; the only Avenger who knows Ant-Man exists is Falcon, and Sam could be forgiven for having something of a grudge.
But Luis' account is particularly exciting because part of it involves Falcon asking a reporter if she knows a guy "who's got, like, bomb moves, right?" The journalist's response was an amusing one:
"Well, we got everything nowadays. We got a guy who jumps. We got a guy who swings, we got a guy who crawls up the walls. You gotta be more specific."
Even allowing for Luis's creative interpretation of events, this line seems to reference a number of other superheroes active in the MCU - and, tellingly, none of them sound like any of the Avengers we'd seen on the big screen before Ant-Man. Most viewers took that to be a first reference to Spider-Man, but according to Kevin Feige it was just a happy coincidence. "When that was shot," he told i09, "that was before the whole [Spider-Man] thing had happened. It really was just her listing relatively generic powers leading into Falcon saying, 'I'm looking for someone who shrinks.' Now that the Spider-Man deal has been announced, it takes on a different connotation." Curiously enough, though, director Peyton Reed disagreed. He told ComicBook.com it was a deliberate nod to Spider-Man, "a little, tiny reference towards the end of the movie."
Whatever the truth may be, the quote has clearly been retconned to point to Spider-Man. But here's the key point; the quote suggests the reporter is referring to three different characters, one who jumps, another who swings, and a third who crawls up the walls. This doesn't just refer to Spider-Man. So who are the other two characters?
- This Page: Spider-Man's Reference In Ant-Man
- Page 2: The Other Two Heroes Referenced To In Ant-Man
Spider-Man is Probably the "Guy Who Swings"
Of course, all three of these powers and traits are actually associated with Spider-Man. But the MCU's iteration of Spider-Man has really focused in on the idea of his webbing. In Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark has spotted videos of Spider-Man swinging through the streets of New York. It's the webbing that has caught Stark's eye; "the tensile strength is off the charts," Stark tells Peter. He's noticed Spider-Man's other powers - including the ability to climb walls - but he leads with the swinging, and with the webbing. Both Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming emphasized Spider-Man's web-swinging, albeit with a lot of humor due to the fact Peter wasn't exactly good at it.
It seems safe to say, then, that the "guy who swings" is probably Spider-Man. But that leaves us with two other characters, heroes who we may not even have seen in the MCU to date. Who is the reporter referring to when she mentions "a guy who jumps" and "a guy who crawls up the walls?"
Page 2 of 2: The Other Two Heroes Referenced To In Ant-Man
Who is the Guy Who Jumps?
First, let's look at the "guy who jumps." This line of dialogue is immediately reminiscent of another Avenger - the Hulk. Superhuman leaps are the Hulk's traditional way of traveling great distances; in Incredible Hulk #254, he actually had the physical power to reach escape velocity, but passed out due to lack of oxygen. The MCU's version of the Hulk has been noted for his jumping ability as well; he performed spectacular jumps in both The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers. However, there's no reason the journalist would name the Hulk; she's responding to a query from Falcon about some new hero who's recently appeared on the scene. The Hulk, who served as an active Avenger from 2012 through to 2015, would hardly fit.
Looking to the wider MCU, the only other hero who was performing superhuman jumps at that time is Jessica Jones. The first few Marvel Netflix shows are actually set around 2015, so it's quite possible the journalist is referring to Jessica. And yet, again, the specific details in the scene suggest that isn't the case. According to Luis, Falcon has already told the journalist that he's looking for a "dude." That's why she only talks about "guys." So Jessica Jones can be safely ruled out too. That means this particular Easter egg is pointing to a character who's yet to make their MCU debut.
Here's where matters become a little more difficult. Kevin Feige may have referred to these powers as being fairly "generic," but he was overstating the case. Superhuman leaps are common in the DC universe, but in Marvel they're a little rarer. They are mostly associated with characters related to Spider-Man and the Hulk; many of Hulk's allies and enemies are as strong as he is, and travel the same way, while a bevy of Spider-Man characters have been bitten by radioactive spiders and demonstrate those same athletic leaps. That means it could be any character linked to them, although both pose questions to who's present in the MCU at this point.
Who is the Guy who Crawls Up the Walls?
Now let's look at the final character referenced by the journalist, the "guy who crawls up the walls." That's a power traditionally associated with Spider-Man and his rogues' gallery, and Spider-Man is often jokingly dubbed the "wall-crawler" as a result. It's been a hallmark of pretty much every other Spider-Man-esque character, including the likes of Miles Morales or the Scarlet Spider. Again, this may serve as a subtle hint that Peter Parker isn't the only one to have been bitten by radioactive spiders in the MCU.
Related: How Miles Morales Fits Into the MCU
It's possible that this will be retconned. Disney's proposed purchase of the bulk of 21st Century Fox's film and TV empire looks increasingly likely, with regulators giving approval for the deal after just six months. If everything works out as viewers hope, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four will be entering the MCU. And, significantly, a number of X-Men characters share the power to crawl up walls - the most prominent being Nightcrawler. This one could actually be retconned to hint that mutants have existed in the MCU all along.
The Real Significance of this Line
Of course, in reality, Marvel probably didn't mean much by this line of dialogue. Their focus was on setting up the fact that Falcon is looking for "a guy that shrinks." But the quote does serve an important secondary purpose as regards the wider MCU, all the same; it established that superhuman characters are becoming an everyday part of life in New York City. Far from being shocked at the idea a new hero is active, the reporter seems almost blasé about it, to the extent that Falcon has to be very specific before she can help him. You get the strong sense that she's just reeled off the first three examples that spring to mind, meaning she's aware of far more.
One common complaint from Marvel fans is that the TV shows have added a wealth of new heroes and villains into the wider MCU, yet they're effectively ignored by the movies, where you instead tend to get the sense there's still only a handful of super-powered beings. This scene is a dramatic departure from that idea, instead pointing to the idea that the MCU is becoming jam-packed with superhumans. That makes sense in the context of the TV shows, where - by 2015 - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 had already seen Terrigen spread throughout the world's water and fish stocks, triggering spontaneous Terrigenesis in anyone with an Inhuman gene. The show's premiere superhero, Quake, would actually learn to use her powers to simulate superhuman jumps.
It's almost impossible to say for certain which characters Ant-Man is referring to. It's reasonable to assume one of them is Spider-Man, most likely the "guy who swings," but the others remain a mystery. The most significant aspect of this line, though, is the fact that it grounds the film in a world where there are countless superheroes and super-villains. In that sense, this quote subtle ties the threads of the MCU together.