Published March 3, 2023

‘Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania’: William Jackson Harper and Katy O’Brian on Living in the Quantum Realm

Quaz and Jentorra on the plight of the Freedom Fighters of the Quantum Realm

Did you know that there are beings down in the Quantum Realm? It’s a surprise to Scott Lang, Hope Van Dyne, Hank Pym, and Cassie Lang, too (Janet Van Dyne knew about it, but that’s a story for another day…). After being accidentally sucked down into subatomic space in Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, the expanded Ant-family must work together to figure out what’s going on, who these people are, and how to get home. Oh, and how to help the inhabitants of the Quantum Realm rise up against Kang the Conqueror and stop him from escaping.

All along everyone knew that the Quantum Realm was a place that could be traveled to, but no one (Besides Janet) knew that it was full of people, places, and things. Upon arriving, Scott and Cassie find themselves not only trying to escape Kang themselves, but helping a group of Freedom Fighters try to reclaim their homeland, too. After being taken to their mobile camp (the buildings move!), Scott and Cassie meet the leader of the Freedom Fighters, Jentorra, and telepath Quaz, played by Katy O’Brian and William Jackson Harper, respectively. Though initially the Freedom Fighters aren’t keen on assisting Scott and Cassie, the father and daughter duo eventually find themselves wrapped in in battle alongside of them, playing a pivotal role in freeing them from Kang’s clutches.


Both O’Brian and Harper never dreamed of winding up in a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, let alone in the Quantum Realm, and continue to have pinch me moments about it — O’Brian because she absolutely loves taking on physical roles (and did every single stunt herself in the movie), and Harper because he’s a self-dubbed “big nerd” and everything about the movie was right up his alley.

“I thought it would be just a tiny, much smaller role,” O’Brian explains to “When I got to basically stick through the whole film, I was beside myself.”

“This was something that just kind of fell into my lap and I was shocked that there was any sort of incoming call from Marvel,” Harper exclaims. “I read the script and I was like this will be fun, this will be great! Let's go!”

In the movie, while their characters live and travel together with the rest of the Freedom Fighters, they couldn’t be any more night-and-day. Jentorra is a tough, no-nonsense warrior and Quaz — considering he can read minds — just wants everyone to stop thinking such gross thoughts. The duo found themselves filming on giant green screen stages for their scenes, and while the Quantum Realm was digitally added in later, many things about their home were practical.

“Inside of the living buildings were fully decked out — the attention to detail and the size of that village, it’s not all green-screen, it was actually practical,” Harper continues. “We were on a sound stage covered in dirt with these sort of bone-colored sentient buildings around us. You walked on set and you felt like you're in a completely different universe. That’s the sort of thing that makes that stuff easier to play. If you're just in a blue room talking to tennis balls, that's hard. That's a real challenge. But when you're on a set that is completely fully rendered as much as it possibly can be, then it really does make things a lot easier to do.”


“I had a little building that they said— I asked if it could be [Jentorra’s home],” O’Brian laughs. “They said yes. It looked like a little hovel. It was really cute inside, and so tidy.”

It takes a lot to fight Kang, and both were also equipped with the necessities to fight the looming conqueror, and in Jentorra’s case, that includes a cape. It made her feel incredibly powerful every time she hit the gym to prepare.

“Once they started to add the armor [to her costume] — and we went back and forth with the cape because the cape is always a huge limiter,” She continues. “But I was like, no, I want a cape. I thought it brought it together, and it made me really, really powerful. Working with hair and makeup, they really wanted to make it a totally different look for me because you can do the cool mohawk and the side shave look. But they wanted something that you've never seen me in before, which I really appreciated because I think one of the best my dream of acting is being able to do these movies and then have no one recognize me in public.”

Harper, too, got a big cape for Quaz, but his favorite prop was the gun he got to sling.

“I got to carry a big old hand cannon laser thing! I'm a nerd, like, that's fun. I want to do that. For me, I couldn't wait for those battle scenes. I couldn't wait — I got to carry a big toy. That's great for me.”

And even though he desperately wanted to take his props home with him, he thought being a “team player” was the better option. “When it comes to nerdy stuff, I can get really [excited].  I wanted them to invite me back. So, I was like let me chill and leave stuff where it belongs,” he adds.

Speaking of being enthusiastic, one of Harper’s fondest memories from filming was the day the Freedom Fighters stormed Kang’s fortress, if only because he managed to pull some muscles and was not expecting to do that.  

“It's just like screaming and holding my laser and I'm like [YELLS], and after two or three times, my hip locked up so hard that I was just, oh I'm getting a little older,” He recalls with a laugh. “I should probably warm up. I learned something about myself that day. Where it seems simple enough, and it seemed like a lot of fun, and then all of a sudden, I was just like, I'm hurting. I haven't even really done anything! There are people that are doing stunts and I'm just running and screaming and I'm in pain. That was fun to learn my limits that day and how close they are.”

O’Brian also had hip-related issues, after shooting her own favorite scene — and she has no regrets. “There's a movement where I have to circle the spear around my neck and come up and slice somebody with that. And I wound up pulling my hip flexor doing that move. But I think that's maybe the cooler thing that I did.”

As for what’s next for them, and the rest of the Freedom Fighters in the Quantum Realm? We’re all just going to have to wait and see, but both Harper and O’Brian loved every second of the crazy subatomic ride.

“I had a fun time getting to be a part of it and I hope viewers have a fun time getting to watch it,” Harper adds.

And O’Brian still can’t believe it happened to her in the first place. “It was cool to sit there and exist in the same room as [the rest of the cast] and watch everyone crack jokes back and forth. It was kind of surreal.”

BIG and small things await! Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is now playing in theaters. 


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