A new teaser for Ant-Man 3 shows Paul Rudd's Scott Lang beaten bloody by Kang the Conqueror.
It turns out Ant-Man might not actually be a match for a superpowered, time-traveling warlord. It’d make sense if you think otherwise — after all, Ant-Man can shrink, so that’s cool. But the latest teaser for Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania shows Kang beating the ever living snot out of Paul Rudd’s hyphenated superhero, so it seems like the Avengers’ next Thanos-level threat might have an upper hand.
Beyond showing us a glimpse of a bloodied, outmatched Paul Rudd, the new teaser trailer gives us more details about the plot of Ant-Man 3, which will kickstart phase 5 of the MCU. It seems that Ant-Man, also known as Scott Lang, is tempted to do the time-traveling Kang’s bidding with the promise of gaining back the time that he had previously lost in prison. Of course, Kang apparently alters the deal, as villains usually do, resulting in a showdown that makes Paul Rudd’s face look like it went ten rounds with the business end of a hydraulic press.
The next movie, therefore, seems to take advantage of a major plot point in the previous two Ant-Man films: Scott Lang’s criminal background. In Ant-Man, Paul Rudd portrayed Lang as a father desperate to reunite with his daughter after spending years in prison on burglary charges — something that motivates his character throughout the film. In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Lang’s parole conditions are a major point of conflict in the plot, forcing him to come up with clever ways to circumvent the safeguards meant to keep him at home.
This motivation is a perfect fit for Paul Rudd’s character, though it remains to be seen exactly what deeds Jonathan Majors’ Kang has Ant-Man perform. Considering his appearance in Loki hints at multiverse-spanning consequences, it probably involves some greater plot with the hope of complete dominion over time and space. Since the Avengers are pathologically opposed to supervillainous tyranny, this will inevitably put them into conflict.
None of this gives any insight into another major theme of Ant-Man 3, which was revealed in a Brazillian interview featuring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Kevin Feige, and Jonathan Majors. In the interview, Lily revealed that the film would touch on what the original Wasp, Hope Van Dyne, dealt with during her extended stay in the Quantum Realm. The only hint the trailer gives is Hope’s one line, “Scott, you cannot trust him.”
This single line does give one flash of insight into Hope’s past: she either knows Kang or knows about him. Whether this means she’s dealt with him personally, or whether she simply is familiar with the kind of time-traveling tyrant Kang is, remains to be seen. Either way, working for Kang apparently leaves Paul Rudd with a face looking like it was bashed in with a baseball bat.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is set to release on February 17, 2023. Paul Rudd’s next film after Ant-Man 3 will be a sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which does not feel like a good omen for his character’s fate.