Despite taking place immediately before the events of Avengers: Infinity War, the new Ant-Man and the Wasp deals much more with the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, even if it does at the very least remind you of the destruction wrought by Thanos.

Ant-Man and the Wasp officially hits theaters on Friday, July 6. Inverse spoke with director Peyton Reed just hours before the first showings began on Thursday about his first experience directing a sequel. Reed explained that despite always knowing how Infinity War ended and that Ant-Man and the Wasp would be the first film to release after, he also knew that the Ant-Man sequel just had to do its own thing.

“We knew audiences were going to come to this movie searching, hungry for any clue about the aftermath of Infinity War,” Reed told Inverse. “We also knew within the body of our story, that if we dealt with that too early on, it would just hijack this story. So we from the very beginning designed this as a standalone movie that takes place in a little corner of the MCU.” These tiny heroes — that do sometimes get really big — mostly just do their own thing.

Ant-Man and Spider-Man were adversaries in 'Civil War', but they didn't have to be.
Ant-Man and Spider-Man fought in 'Captain America: Civil War'.

“Our story was really way more focused on the aftermath of the first Ant-Man and also Civil War, particularly Scott’s actions in Civil War,” Reed said. In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Scott is a few days away from ending a two-year home confinement sentence, a punishment inflicted after he fought alongside Captain America in Civil War. And as for Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne, they’ve been on the run trying to get into the Quantum Realm, where they believe Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother, Janet Van Dyne, has survived all these years.

“We had so many other concerns about how to progress these characters from Ant-Man 1 while also dealing with some new characters,” Reed said, indirectly referencing a new villain called Ghost. There wasn’t enough story space to deal with these more pressing concerns and an alien invasion that goes on to wipe out half the universe.

“We knew that IF we were going to deal with [Infinity War], then it would be late in the story,” Reed said, adding that the team behind the movie “wanted to do something that didn’t betray the tone of the entire movie that came before it.” We won’t spoil the post-credits scene here, but rest assured it connects the movie to what’s going on in the broader MCU.

Still, Peyton Reed confirms that almost all of the action in Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place a substantial amount of time before Infinity War.

Fans desperate for Infinity War tie-ins won’t necessarily be disappointed by what happens in Ant-Man and the Wasp, but while there are some hints at what could happen in Avengers 4, there are still no final answers about future of the MCU.

For that, we’ll all have to wait for Captain Marvel to come out on March 8, 2019, and then Avengers 4 on May 3, 2019.

Photos via Marvel Studios, Marvel Entertainment