Note: This article contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War 

Over the past ten years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been building towards Avengers: Infinity War. The film promised the “end” of the MCU as we know it and it did not disappoint. Now that the massive crossover event has finally premiered, fans have one big question: what comes after? We know that Ant-Man and The Wasp is the next film slated to continue the Marvel saga, but how will it connect to Infinity War?

At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos achieved his goal and wiped out half the sentient beings in the universe. With a snap of his fingers, Thanos’s fully-loaded Infinity Gauntlet laid waste to the MCU as we know it. The final few minutes of the film were heartbreaking, but also confounding. Now that only the original Avengers remain (plus Rocket, Okoye, Nebula, M’Baku and War Machine), the future has never seemed darker in the MCU.

[Credit: Marvel Studios]

The heavy price of Infinity War will surely impact other MCU properties, and there are off-screen characters whose fates we don’t know. The bulk of Ant-Man and the Wasp, however, will likely remain unaffected. Several sources have stated that Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place before Avengers: Infinity War. Since Ant-Man and Wasp were both absent from Infinity War, their solo film could help explain where they were. Based on the Ant-Man and the Wasp trailer, the film picks up after the events of Captain America: Civil War.

The Earthbound MCU has been mostly episodic; new films usually take place after the film that preceded them. The exceptions to this rule are Doctor Strange and Captain America: The First Avenger. Both films, however, contained post credits scenes connecting them to the throughline of the MCU. The Guardians of the Galaxy film timelines are also ambiguous. But, just like Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s post-credits scenes caught up to the core timeline of the greater MCU.

It’s a fair bet that Ant-Man and the Wasp will follow this trend. Though the events of the film take place before or maybe during Avengers: Infinity War, the films will be connected. Ant-Man and the Wasp will have its own storyline, of course, but by the end the characters will likely be aware of Thanos’s assault.

As far as a direct connect between the films, there was a throwaway line in Infinity War about Clint Barton (Hawkeye) and Scott Lang (Ant-Man) being on house arrest for their actions in Civil War. This line also falls in line from what we’ve seen in the Ant-Man and the Wasp trailer, where the FBI is connecting Scott’s ankle monitor.

[Credit: Marvel Studios]

Oddly enough, the biggest connection between Ant-Man and The Wasp and Avengers: Infinity War might be something rather small. Well, small is relative, but in this case we’re referring to the Quantum Realm. Both Doctor Strange and Ant-Man referenced different realms, but the Quantum Realm will likely be a huge factor moving forward. We witnessed Scott enter and subsequently escape the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man. This is also where the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, has been since she disappeared.

We know that Michelle Pfeiffer is playing modern day Janet in the new movie. So, we can assume we’ll venture into the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Since the Quantum Realm isn’t technically part of the universe, Thanos’s shenanigans might not affect it. This could allow our heroes to avoid being blinked out of existence. It could also play a big role in Avengers 4, when our heroes try to undo the damage done by the Infinity Stones. As Doctor Strange said in Infinity War, they were in the “endgame”, to presumably beat Thanos. We’re not sure what that entails; however, the remaining heroes need to think outside the box (or outside the universe) to win.

Beyond the Quantum Realm speculation, Marvel Studios chose to follow Infinity War with Ant-Man and the Wasp for a reason. The studio has been methodic in building its slate, so we can surmise that the order is important for the future of the MCU. Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel are the only two films leading up to Avengers 4, so the characters in both films will likely be major factors in the restoration of the MCU. For now, we mourn the loss of our beloved Marvel heroes and hope that Doctor Strange’s “endgame” comes to fruition.

Ant-Man and the Wasp hits theaters on July 6, 2018.