‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ Doesn’t Have Some Crazy Director’s Cut, Peyton Reed Promises

The director tells IndieWire that, while most edits only snipped parts of scenes, there was at least one sequence (starring Bill Murray) that was totally cut from the final version.
(L-R): Kathryn Newton as Cassandra "Cassie" Lang and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in Marvel Studios' ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.
"Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania"
Jay Maidment

In a multiplex landscape dominated by two-hour-plus running times and continued fan demands for hallowed director’s cuts, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” director Peyton Reed offers a bit of a respite. His latest Marvel feature may be his longest yet, but it’s still shorter than nearly 20 other Marvel Cinematic Universe films (current longest: “Avengers: Endgame,” which clocked in at three hours and one minute). And, no, he’s not got some wild, longer director’s cut lurking somewhere else. With “Quantumania,” what you see is what you get, with some slight refinements here and there.

“I think the philosophy on the first two Ant-Man movies for me was always, let’s keep them at or below two hours, because they’re essentially action comedies,” Reed told IndieWire during a recent interview. “With a comedy, you don’t want to overstay your welcome.”

Reed’s first two “Ant-Man” films both clock in at just under two hours — 117 and 118 minutes, respectively — while “Quantumania” pushes just slightly past that marker, coming in at 124 minutes (the current MCU average is, interestingly enough, 132 minutes). Part of that final tally: an extended flashback sequence in which Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet van Dyne shares how she met (and, really, befriended) Jonathan Majors’ Kang when he first landed in the teensy, tiny Quantum Realm all those years ago.

“We bent the rules on this one,” Reed said with a laugh. “I think my director’s cut was probably, I don’t know, two hours and 45 minutes, 2 hours and 35 minutes, something like that. But as you start to refine the movie, it tells you what it wants in it and what it wants out of it. We really wanted to pace it up, but also allow for that section in the middle of the movie where Janet finally divulges to her family [what] her time down [in the Quantum Realm was like] and [what happened] in this encounter with this being.”

Also top of mind for Reed: getting to Kang’s first meeting with Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, which he wanted to “let breathe some.” That meant that other scenes needed to be snipped down, though Reed hastened to add that doesn’t mean that entire scenes were cut. “Anything that ended up on the cutting room floor was really longer versions of the scenes that exist in the movie currently,” he said. “But there was nothing that we really eliminated.”

OK, OK, so there was at least one scene that was wholesale eliminated, Reed said. It featured Bill Murray’s Krylar (a character who, as Reed notes, has “a very specific plot function in the movie”) after we see him interact in the first act with Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, and Evangeline Lilly. (No spoilers here, but he does deliver a lot of jokes and a fair bit of exposition in just one scene.)

“There were a handful of things that just felt — some funny Bill Murray stuff maybe — that just didn’t progress the plot and felt extraneous because you wanted to get to the Kang story, just that sort of normal process as you would find in [any] movie,” Reed said. “There was a beat where Bill showed up, he had been imprisoned by Kang for failing to deliver Janet van Dyne to him and [it was] part of a prison breakout, but it really just didn’t ultimately serve the story.”

A Walt Disney Pictures release, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is now in theaters.

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