Ant-Man and the Wasp is a fairly small-stakes story compared to universe-altering epics like Avengers: Infinity War. For most of the film, there’s no real connection to the wider MCU, just Ant-Man and the Wasp’s fun adventure. That all changed in the post-credits scenes, which explicitly connect to the ending of Infinity War and lay the groundwork for Avengers 4.
This post contains massive spoilers for Ant-Man and the Wasp, obviously.
By the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp (which takes place a few weeks or so before the events of Infinity War), everything is going great for the Ant-family. Scott Lang, Hope van Dyne, and Hank Pym managed to save Janet van Dyne from the Quantum Realm, escape any consequences for their law-breaking, and make friends with the formerly villainous Ghost. Heck, Scott and Hope appear to be openly dating. It’s a happy, happy ending.
Then the credits roll.
When the action begins again, Scott is embarking on a mission into the Quantum Realm to recover some “Quantum Energy” that they’ll need to help Ava (f.k.a. Ghost) stabilize herself. Hope, Hank, and Janet are all waiting behind to monitor what appears to be a pretty routine mission. An infinitely small Scott collects the energy, and as Hope begins the countdown to pull Scott out of the Quantum Realm. But, before she gets to “one” the line goes dead. Scott thinks it’s a prank at first, but he grows increasingly worried as he’s stuck in the Quantum Realm.
The camera cuts back to the rooftop where Hope, Hank, and Janet had been waiting, and it’s revealed that all three characters have turned into dust. The post-credits scene was taking place at exactly the same time as the Infinity War finale, and when Thanos snapped his fingers, the three heroes disappeared.
What Does This Mean for Avengers 4?
Well, it means that Hope, Hank, and Janet are dead — for now, at least. Evangeline Lilly, who plays Hope, said in a February Q&A that the Wasp does appear in Avengers 4 but “not very much, so don’t get your hopes up.” Sebastian Stan — who plays Bucky, another dusted hero — said in April that he appeared in a scene alongside Michelle Pfeiffer, which suggests that the original Wasp comes back to life at some point to make an appearance.
But, while the missing heroes will likely pop up at the end of the flick, when Avengers 4 begins Scott will be alone, stranded in the Quantum Realm. The post-credits does hint at a way in which he’ll escape though, and it goes along with reports that Ant-Man and the Wasp will be essential to the plot of Avengers 4, which is rumored to involve time travel.
Before Scott enters the Quantum Realm, Hank warns him to avoid “vortexes,” otherwise he’ll get stranded in time. It seems highly, highly likely that this is the method that the surviving Avengers will use to travel back in time, as indicated by set photos that show Tony Stark and other heroes on the set of what looks like the Battle of New York from the 2012 Avengers.
How, exactly, this will all work remains unknown for now, but the post-credits scene makes it clear: The Quantum Realm is the key to undoing the damage Thanos wrought.
What About the Second Post-Credits Scene?
Oh, you’ve seen it already, actually. After all the credits have finished rolling, we cut back to Scott’s house. It’s empty — the phone is off the hook, and there are faint sounds of chaos coming from the city streets. There’s also the sound of drums, and eventually the camera pans to reveal that the giant ant is playing drums, as seen in several of the trailers for Ant-Man and the Wasp.
That it’s footage most audiences have already scene is a bit of a bummer, but it’s still a funny moment to end on. That’s important, since Ant-Man and the Wasp is a light, funny movie and it would’ve felt weird if it ended on the same dour note as Infinity War.
Ant-Man and the Wasp opens on July 6.