When Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania was first released, one of the biggest talking points of the subject was the unique, state of the art sets seen in the film. With detailing given the most attention to, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania gave fans a look at how Quantum Realm looks in their vision and how it could be a part of upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe films.
With the film released on OTT today, May 17, filmmakers behind Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania’s team opened up about bringing it all together. “I think the Quantum Realm is just as big an idea as any of the other worlds we’ve explored in the MCU to date,” says producer Stephen Broussard. “It’s a world into itself, not unlike Asgard or Wakanda or the world of the mystic arts in ‘Doctor Strange.’ Getting the chance to establish something that big has been really, really fun—and also a big challenge.”
The art department commenced work in July 2020 and almost 50 people worked alongside production designer Will Htay during the busiest periods, from his supervising art director, Nick Gottschalk, through to concept artists, researchers, storyboard artists, art directors, set designers, draughts people and assistants. When Htay came on board, he worked with director Peyton Reed and Broussard to develop the design of the Quantum Realm. “We wanted it to feel huge,” says Htay. “We didn’t want it to be macro photography; we didn’t want it to be too CG heavy. Even though we knew we’d be utilizing VFX and CGI, we wanted to make it as real and tangible as possible, so that when we go down there with our protagonists, we can touch it and smell it. We want it to feel like it is this real place that’s hidden within the multiverse.”
Research, references and influences included Sergio Toppi, Tomás Saraceno, Lebbeus Woods, electronic microscopy and subatomic particle theory. Conceptually, Htay designed the Quantum Realm as an infinite canvas of space with interconnecting points and nodes that become worlds and landscapes in themselves with different creatures.
According to Reed, the film sheds light on what Janet Van Dyne really experienced while trapped in the subatomic world within a world. “Was she just wandering aimlessly in this void for 30 years?” asks Reed. “We answer that question big time in this movie: No! She was not wandering aimlessly—she had a whole life down there. It was exciting to construct this living, breathing Quantum Realm and talk about the ecosystems and politics, and to make it big and vivid.”
Reed credits Htay and his team of artists with bringing different styles and sensibilities to the vast world. “We had everything on the table,” says the director. “One of my big influences was just going through old ’60s and ’70s and ’80s sciencefiction paperbacks and looking at the covers. There are a whole bunch of artists who created beautiful imagery. Those covers had to pull you into whatever book it was and the artists were all about creating these whacked-out worlds. That imagery really inspired us.”
The Quantum Realm co-exists within the multiverse, and not only is it beyond measure, time spent there is unquantifiable, be it hours, days, decades or more, and it can even be instantaneous. Says Htay, “Even though to us and the audience, and to Scott Lang and the family, the Quantum Realm is this vast, unexplored universe in itself, it’s also a prison to Kang. I think we wanted to make it feel like it was this huge, expansive world—worlds within worlds, multiple civilizations, multiple creatures, characters and environments. We only begin to scratch the surface. We only get a glimpse of it because of what happens on our adventure along the way.”
“Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” was based at Pinewood Studios in the UK and filmed during the second half of 2021. The production utilized eight stages, all housing multiple sets across the shoot, totalling 48 sets with a minimum of three turnarounds and a maximum of seven on each stage. This meant there was a constant cycle of sets to be built, shot on, struck and new builds to go into place. The effort put into the detailing of the Quantum Realm was evident when the film released in theatres earlier this year.
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania has now released on Disney+ Hotstar as well.