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Ant-Man’s post-credits scenes, explained

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

There are mid- and post-credits scenes after Ant-Man!

Similar Easter eggs have appeared at the end of every Marvel movie. Sometimes they contain huge reveals that connect to future movies (see: Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver appearing in Captain America: The Winter Soldier's post-credits scene); other times they serve as little love letters from Marvel to its fans and its history (see: Howard the Duck at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy). They're fun. They can be exciting. And if we're lucky, they offer something to help tide us over until the next big Marvel blockbuster.

Ant-Man features two extra scenes. One of them introduces the possibility of a new Marvel hero, while the other provides an answer to one of Ant-Man's big-picture questions. Here's what they are and what they mean.

Spoilers follow for both the film and its mid- and post-credits scenes.

The mid-credits scene sets up a thrilling potential storyline

What happens: Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) takes his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), down to his lab, and shows her a suit with wings, an advanced prototype of the armor he and his wife, Janet, were working on. He tells Hope the suit is for her.

Why it matters: When Marvel chose to focus on the second incarnation of Ant-Man, Scott Lang, instead of Hank Pym, it did so knowing it would have to forgo huge, important chunks of Pym's storyline. Of particular note are Pym's creation of Ultron — something that haunts both Pym and Marvel's comic books to this day — and Pym's on-again, off-again relationship with the Wasp, a.k.a. Janet van Dyne.

In the comics, the Wasp was a founding member of the Avengers who gave the team its name. Pym and van Dyne's relationship defined their initial appearance, and van Dyne was written (in a somewhat patronizing way at the onset) as the better half of this Avengers power couple. For large swaths of their history together, van Dyne was a voice of reason — and after they eventually divorced, she became a voice of reason and heart and soul of the Avengers.

Avengers No. 217. (Marvel)

Though she is a badass — even more badass than Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) — in the film, there is no Hope van Dyne/Hope Pym/Hank and Janet's daughter in the main Marvel comic book universe. Hope van Dyne in the comic books is a little-known supervillain living in an alternate universe. But there's no reason Marvel has to go in that direction, and it looks like the company is more interested in introducing a superheroine in the mold of the Wasp.

The post-credits scene primes the pump for Ant-Man's return

What happens: Captain America (Chris Evans) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) find the Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in an undisclosed location, where he's stuck in a vise-like contraption.

"Should I call Stark?" Falcon asks.

"No," Cap replies.

Falcon says he knows a guy in reply, implying that helping Cap is a job for Ant-Man. (Remember: Falcon and Ant-Man met earlier when they fought at Avengers HQ.) The screen fades to black, promising an Ant-Man return.

Why it matters: This post-credits scene isn't as thrilling or as involved as the Wasp suit reveal. It serves as a bridge to introduce Ant-Man to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And it would have been a bigger surprise had we not already known that Paul Rudd will reprise the role of Scott Lang in 2016's Captain America: Civil War.

Ant-Man is structured in a way that feels insular and unique from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even though Lang's story takes place on Earth, the movie is more isolated than Thor or even Guardians of the Galaxy. How is this guy whose superpower is to shrink himself going to save the world with the rest of the Avengers? Or how might he go to go head to head with still more Avengers in Civil War?

This scene raises those questions.

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