(Warning - major SPOILERS for the very end of Marvel's Ant-Man lie below. If you haven't yet seen the movie - and if not, why not? Don't worry, we'll wait - then proceed with whatever level of caution your natural SPOILER-aversion dictates...)
If there's one part of Marvel's comic book universe that inspires more devotion from fans than any other, it's almost certainly Marvel Cosmic. Made up of the Marvel comic books which have, over the years, explored both the far reaches of space and the mysterious beings and processes which underpin the very nature of the universe's reality, Marvel Cosmic is essentially the point where Marvel comics meet 2001: A Space Odyssey-like science fiction.
And, it seems, it may already have arrived in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Y'see:
It Looks as Though Ant-Man Featured a Surprise Cameo
Specifically, one which - if it turns out to be who it seems to be - suggests we're about to see a whole lot more of Marvel Cosmic than we were expecting this side of Avengers: Infinity War.
This, though, is where those aforementioned SPOILERS kick in, since the cameo in question looks to have turned up towards the very end of Ant-Man. In particular, remember that whole sequence where Scott Lang ends up in the Quantum Realm, the "reality where all concepts of time and space are irrelevant"?
Well, as it turns out, there's something - or someone - hiding out in that scene. Director Peyton Reed has even confirmed it, noting to the Toronto Sun:
"I would say just watch out for something, maybe in the corner of the frame, something you might see also reflected in Ant-Man’s helmet."
And, as it turns out, if you do just that (in the right hand corner of the frame, as Scott enters and departs the Quantum Realm), then there is very much something (or, again, someone) there. Specifically:
We Might Just Have Seen Eternity
Or, at least, that's certainly the most likely candidate for the mysterious figure we seem to see, despite being mildly obscured by clouds.
Which, seeing as Eternity is, in the Marvel comic book universe at least, the abstract concept of time and reality given physical form, certainly opens up a whole new realm of potential awesomeness for the MCU. Not least because Eternity is only one part of a wider pantheon of insanely powerful entities representing different aspects of existence.
What's more, with Kevin Feige having heavily implied that the Quantum Realm we saw in Ant-Man will have a whole lot of bearing on the upcoming Doctor Strange, and the good doctor in turn having a whole lot of history with Eternity, the cameo would make a goodly amount of sense.
Plus, seeing as an Infinity Gauntlet-wielding Thanos is - on paper - far too much for any of Marvel's heroes to handle, the introduction of a being or two even more powerful than the mad Titan might just be entirely necessary for the MCU to be able to survive Avengers: Infinity War.
The big question now, then?
Was That Actually Eternity?
Well, perhaps, and perhaps not. If you get the chance to check out the movie again, it certainly does look an awful lot like the loosely-visually-defined Eternity, with the shape of an un-earthly figure seemingly visible behind a cloud. That being said, it could also theoretically be a mysteriously changed Janet van Dyne, or one of Marvel's other cosmic beings.
It might be a while yet before we find out for sure though, so let's get speculating!
What do you think, then?