The most controversial fan theory in Marvel Cinematic Universe history is also its most explosive: Why didn’t Ant-Man become super-tiny, sneak into the innards of Thanos, and embiggen himself to destroy the purple monstrosity from the inside out?
Because it’s the sort of horribly graphic thing that would mortify your mother but make Jimmy Kimmel giggle on late-night TV, the folks at Disney and Marvel Studios have mostly ignored this popular colorectal theory since its graphic origins circa 2017 before the release of Avengers: Infinity War. However, the theory’s finally been addressed in an official capacity — and it comes from the mouth of none other than Ant-Man himself.
Disney unveiled its first new cruise ship in a decade on Thursday, and the flood of information coming out of media previews includes a Star Wars cocktail that costs $5,000 and a litany of first-ever cameos as part of the Avengers: Quantum Encounter dining experience.
In addition to some pre-recorded crosstalk between Captain Marvel, Captain America, and newcomer Ms. Marvel, there’s also a clip making the rounds where Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man tries to directly address the “Thanus” theory but is quickly cut short by Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp. (This is presumably part of Quantum Encounter.)
“Before we start, let me address the elephant in the room,” Lang says. “I’ve heard a lot of chatter out there asking why I didn't shrink down, go in, and uh ... ‘kill Thanos’ in a really creative way. First of all, gross! Secondly, it’s much more complicated than that. Allow me to explain—.”
“—If only we had the time!” Hope van Dyne interrupts.
Changing Marvel canon
Tons of fans have speculated about whether or not this was possible over the years. Paul Rudd himself even commented on a viral tweet about it while promoting Ant-Man in the Wasp back in 2018. “I almost think it’s a question for Thanos because if there’s one thing we learned from Infinity War it’s that Thanos can take a lot of punishment,” Rudd said at the time.
In a 2020 Marvel Comic — specifically Marauders #9 — Yellowjacket invades the mutant Pyro’s bloodstream with a teeny submarine utilizing Pym particles. When he’s eventually discovered, he enlarges the craft, reducing Pyro’s body to bloody ribbons. Thanos’ body, however, is much more durable. In the comics, Thanos is officially three times more durable than Pyro (based on Power Grid stats, anyway).
Like Rudd says in the clip, “Thanos can take a lot of punishment.” The MCU version of Thanos seems far more durable, even with zero Infinity Stones. Hilariously, Thanos creator Jim Starlin commented on this very phenomenon to Inverse back in 2019 at San Diego Comic-Con:
“I think Thanos has a much tougher anus than anyone ever thought,” Starlin said. “And I don’t think Ant-Man would have done anything but get himself crushed into his helmet.”
Is this more or less the “complicated” explanation that Ant-Man was about to give for why he didn’t make the attempt at becoming an explosive enema? We’ll probably never know for sure.
The Inverse Analysis — Now we know for sure that within the context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man could not shrink down, invade the body of Thanos, and destroy him by enlarging his body. But the truth is, we don’t really need a concrete explanation, particularly now that the Thanos arc is done and dusted.