If fans were hoping that the new Ant-Man and the Wasp trailer would clarify its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline, they're about to be disappointed. Following the tragic events of Avengers: Infinity War for which Ant-Man and the Wasp were notably absent, fans have been curious to find out when, exactly Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place. And, while the new trailer doesn't exactly place the film in the MCU timeline, it does hint at some pretty exciting Ant-Man and the Wasp theories fans have been contemplating for months.
After seeing Avengers: Infinity War, audiences left the theaters with roughly a million questions, one of which was: where were Ant-Man and the Wasp all that time? Unfortunately, that question isn't exactly answered in the new Ant-Man and the Wasp trailer, but it's likely that it will in the actual movie. At least, that's what Marvel wants fans to think. The new trailer makes no reference to Thanos or Infinity War, or even to any other superheroes in the MCU, suggesting that Ant-Man and the Wasp will be more of a contained unit than other recent MCU films. But that doesn't mean it won't be connected to Infinity War, and, perhaps more importantly, Avengers 4.
The mysterious timeline of Ant-Man and the Wasp is crucial to both the MCU and to fan theories. Depending on how much of the events of Infinity War we see in Ant-Man and the Wasp, it could determine how the entire movie plays out. So, first, let's look at some timeline theories.
Ant-Man and the Wasp Takes Place Before Infinity War
Common wisdom says that Ant-Man and the Wasp will begin right after the events of Captain America: Civil War, and go into the early events of Infinity War. An early trailer for the film saw Scott Lang wearing an FBI ankle bracelet, and Black Widow confirmed in Infinity War that he was on house arrest following the events of Civil War. And, given the fact that all of Scott's friends and family appear alive and well in this new trailer, it stands to reason that Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place mostly before the final moments in Infinity War.
Ant-Man and The Wasp Will Help Set Up Avengers 4
OK, this might seem obvious. Of course any MCU movie going forward will help set up the one following it, and Avengers 4 is really the main event of 2019. But, there are specific ways in which we know Ant-Man and the Wasp will lead into Avengers 4. Actors Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly are both confirmed as appearing in Avengers 4, which means that either they join the Avengers in the end, after some long roundabout, or they both survive Thanos' genocide of half the population and become crucial allies in the film. Think of Ant-Man and The Wasp as a kind of Thor: Ragnarok. Just as Ragnarok bridged the gap between Avengers: Age of Ultron and Infinity War for Hulk and Thor, Ant-Man and the Wasp will likely bridge the gap between Civil War and Avengers 4.
The Quantum Realm & The Multiverse
The Quantum Realm will play a huge part in Ant-Man and The Wasp. In the new trailer, it's revealed that new villain Ghost has some kind of connection to the Quantum Realm, aka subatomic space, and there appears to be a brief shot of Scott going subatomic in his suit. As detailed in Ant-Man, the Quantum Realm is somewhat uncharted territory, as no human has been able to shrink down to subatomic size and return unharmed. In fact, Hope's mother, Janet, who will appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp, is believed to be lost in the Quantum Realm.
A bit part of the sequel will focus on our heroes' attempt at unlocking the Quantum Realm to find out what happened to Janet and, in all likelihood, to beat Ghost. And any adventures into the Quantum Realm could open the door for a MCU multiverse. "If we do succeed in Ant-Man and the Wasp, then that does open a whole entire new multiverse to enter into and play around in," Lilly teased in an interview with Vanity Fair.
It's possible that whatever Scott and Hope discover about the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man and the Wasp will help them fight Thanos in Avengers 4. As pointed out by The Wrap, the Hank Pym believes that the Quantum Realm is beyond time. It's possible that the Quantum Realm could be a place untouched by Thanos' genocide, which might help Scott and Hope survive Thanos' attack. It could also be a way to access the greater multiverse and travel to wherever those who died at the end of Infinity War were taken. (Though they turned to dust, they weren't erased, and their souls must exist somewhere.)
Fans won't know how exactly Ant-Man and the Wasp fits into the greater MCU until it's release in July, but for now all theories point to one thing: it's going to be a wild ride.