With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania set to start Phase 5 in February, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to dramatically change course in the midst of the Multiverse Saga. Much like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the official list of what a fan should watch to prepare for the film is not quite as simple as you’d think. Part of this is the mere fact that the MCU now has 30 films, 8 Disney+ series, 2 Disney+ special presentations, and I Am Groot. Still, considering the absolute chaos of the Multiverse, the introduction of the Multiverse Saga’s main villain, a Young Avengers setup, and threequel status make Quantumania a fun one for our latest Ultimate List of Things to Watch Before.
At the end of the day, 16 projects made this list with varying degrees of relevance. First, the top three tiers are focused on Scott Lang/Ant-Man’s story as well as the Multiverse. After that, it is hard to ignore that Cassie Lang’s role in Quantumania is setting up yet another (likely) future Young Avenger, so the list takes a stroll down memory lane of others we have already seen. As is tradition, the last category really pushes the limit of what makes sense. In any event, somehow every single MCU Disney+ series has made this list, so get started.
The top tier, as you would suspect, comprises the most important projects to watch before Quantumania based on what we know about the film.
It should go without saying that anyone watching the third film in a solo franchise should start with the original film. In 2015, Ant-Man was the epilogue of Phase 2 and introduced Scott Lang, Hank Pym, and Hope Van Dyne for the first time along with several other key players. From the official Quantumania trailer, we also know that the villain Darren Cross appears to be the face of M.O.D.O.K.
2. Ant-Man and the Wasp
While Ant-Man and the Wasp received notoriously mixed reactions, its focus on the Quantum Realm set up so much of the future of the MCU. The film brought the character Janet Van Dyne into reality but also set up the Quantum Realm as a real place to exist—this is where we will find our characters for much of Quantumania. It also highlights Scott’s relationship with his young daughter Cassie, who will be a teenager and seemingly much more important character in the threequel.
Other than the Ant-Man franchise, the Disney+ series Loki is probably the most important project to watch before Quantumania. The finale introduced us to the first variant of Kang the Conquerer in Jonathan Majors’ He Who Remains, though “Kang” is set to make his more formal debut in the third Ant-Man film. He Who Remains provided an extremely important monologue about who he was and what would happen if variants of himself were allowed to live on. Now, we’re going to watch the consequences of Loki begin to play out, presumably all coming to an end in Avengers: Secret Wars. Quantumania may have gotten the Multiverse Saga’s most important character as its solo film antagonist, and we will surely see the actual multiverse truly come into play in the wider MCU after this film.
The second tier of “must watches” before Quantumania is short, but it focuses on the remainder of Scott’s on-screen story as well as the Quantum Realm’s connection to the multiverse.
4. Avengers: Endgame
Avengers: Endgame very casually dropped the first hints of the Multiverse and the first major consequences of the Quantum Realm and quantum-related technology. Of course, the film shows another appearance of the character, and it is the first time we saw Cassie as a teenager. The father and daughter’s lost time is clearly central to Quantumania, so their reunion early in this film has major significance. A pro tip for the real fans here is that it is always best to watch Avengers: Infinity War along with Endgame, even though there is virtually no Ant-Man significance.
5. Captain America: Civil War
The events of Captain America: Civil War will likely not have much relevance to Quantumania’s story, but in the true MCU spirit of preparing oneself for a solo threequel, all appearances of the character should be watched.
The third tier is (mostly) dedicated to the multiverse. While Quantumania is the first film of the second phase of the Multiverse Saga, Kang’s introduction will likely kick the stakes up a notch.
6. Ms. Marvel
True, Disney+ series Ms. Marvel is not related to the Multiverse. But the series (or at least the first minute or two of the first episode) is here because it mentions that Scott has become a relatively famous person and Avenger post-Endgame. The beginning of the Quantumania trailer also alludes to this fact, so this moment in Ms. Marvel is a significant connecting piece.
7. What If…?
The entrance of Kang and the beginning of Phase 5 can only mean that the MCU’s Multiverse is actually going to start coming out to play. Whether or not it’s a major factor in the main portion of Quantumania is yet to be seen, but the fallout of the film probably carries a lot of multiversal weight. The best way to get into the multiverse mindset is to watch the only project actually dedicated to it, even if it’s at the bottom of most people’s Phase Four favorites lists.
8. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
How can you talk about the Multiverse without the film that has the word in its title? Several potential Young Avengers are present here (discussed more below), but Multiverse of Madness was the first live-action project to genuinely explore the multiverse to a significant extent. While it did not live up to all fans’ expectations, Quantumania will surely build on what we know from the Doctor Strange sequel.
9. Spider-Man: No Way Home
The events of Spider-Man: No Way Home are likely well-removed from the world of Quantumania, but the film is a Multiverse classic, and likely the general population’s favorite of all MCU Multiverse-centered projects to date.
Introducing the Young Avengers
An ongoing rumor—or, more likely, prediction—is that the Young Avengers are slowly being assembled throughout several projects. Cassie Lang’s status as a teenage superhero in Quantumania means yet another obvious candidate will be introduced. Notably, Multiverse of Madness (which is already listed above) introduced America Chavez and featured young versions of Wiccan and Speed for the second time in the MCU.
Kate Bishop’s inclusion in Disney+ series Hawkeye got plenty of Young Avengers hype. Not only is she a classic Young Avenger in the comics, but the character has received by far the most attention of any of the likely future members.
Wanda’s children, Billy and Tommy, perhaps sparked the first rumors of a future Young Avengers project. The duo’s powers as Wiccan and Speed were also featured in the Disney+ series WandaVision, making it clear that they likely have a superhero future outside of the show.
12. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Often overlooked, another likely Young Avenger made his debut in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Elijah Bradley, who becomes the superhero Patriot in the comics, has a couple of brief appearances alongside the focus on Isaiah Bradley, a lost/covered-up supersoldier Bucky encountered during the Korean War.
The title of this section says it all. The following projects do have some connection (maybe) to Quantumania in some way, but those connections are extremely distant from anything particularly important. This category is for the true fans.
13. Moon Knight
While Disney+ series Moon Knight notably omits references to the broader MCU, one of its few Easter eggs is actually Kang-related. In its third episode, the image on the back of one of the generic goons Marc Spector fights is a reference to Kang the Conquerer’s time as the pharaoh Rama-Tut in the comics (and presumably the MCU as well).
14. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
One of the worst connections thrown your way yet, the post-credits scene of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings shows that the Ten Rings have a beacon—and the Quantumania teaser trailer also featured a beacon that clearly led to the Quantum Realm and likely Kang directly. Are all beacons the same? No. But could the Quantum Realm be relevant to mystical items like the Ten Rings or Ms. Marvel’s bangles? Maybe—you should probably watch this just in case.
15. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
The final two projects in this list are certainly a reach but a connection can still be made. The final Disney+ series so far, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, teased the criminal organization the Intelligencia. While we do not know if the name is the only thing borrowed from the comics, we do know that M.O.D.O.K., a Quantumania villain, is a member of the supervillain and super-scientist organization in the comics.
16. Iron Man 3 (AIM)
Like She-Hulk, Iron Man 3 has a loose connection to Quantumania involving M.O.D.O.K.’s comic book history. M.O.D.O.K. has an extensive history with the criminal organization A.I.M., which was briefly introduced and teased in the final Iron Man film.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hits theaters on February 17, 2023.