(Warning: The following contains potential - albeit entirely theoretical - plot SPOILERS for the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp, and other future MCU movies. Proceed with whatever level of caution your curmudgeonly tech genius mentor suggests to you is wise...)
Now, 2015's Ant-Man may not have had a whole lot of immediate bearing on the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe - bar Ant-Man himself's subsequent appearance in this year's Captain America: Civil War - but that doesn't mean that it won't turn out to be far more important than we currently imagine. After all, while Ant-Man may seem to be little more than an amiable comic adventure featuring ants and an improbably dastardly villain, it's only the very beginning of the Ant-franchise. And, as it turns out:
Ant-Man And The Wasp Could Be Way More Important To The MCU Than You Think
Indeed, with Ant-Man and the Wasp, the first Ant-Man sequel, set to be released in July 2018 (just two months after the arrival of Avengers: Infinity War), the stage is already set for the film to take on a key role for Marvel Studios - both in terms of the MCU's overarching plot, and Marvel's own approach to film-making.
Want to read more about Marvel's approach to film-making? Check out:
How Ant-Man's Delayed Arrival Changed The MCU Forever
Just How Different Is Marvel's Phase 4 Set To Be?
How Kevin Feige Secretly Saved The Marvel Cinematic Universe
One of the biggest factors acting in the Ant-Man franchise's favor, though?
Ant-Man And The Wasp Is Set To Arrive At A Vitally Important Moment For The MCU
Y'see, Ant-Man and the Wasp's currently scheduled arrival in July of 2018 puts it in an incredibly intriguing position from a narrative perspective. After all, there's every possibility that Avengers: Infinity War is set to leave the MCU fundamentally changed in advance of the currently untitled Avengers sequel set to arrive in May 2019. For the two Marvel projects set for release between those two movies, then - Ant-Man and The Wasp and March 2019's Captain Marvel - there's every chance that the MCU's status quo will be changed beyond recognition.
Thanos, after all, is on his way, and he's bringing an Infinity Gauntlet with him. And if we've learned anything from the comic-books, it's that an Infinity Gauntlet-clad Thanos has a tendency to fundamentally alter the state of the universe. Heck, he once used it to destroy half of all sentient life, including a whole heap of beloved superheroes.
Were that to happen in the closing moments of Avengers: Infinity War - leaving us with the sort of gut-wrenching twist that'd leave Empire Strikes Back in the shade - then it would seem likely that both Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel would turn out to be very different Marvel movies to what we're expecting. After all:
If The Avengers Are All Dead, Then Ant-Man And The Wasp May Not Just Be A Bigger Heist Movie
Instead, it's entirely possible that we'd see the movie become an oddball response to what happens when Earth's Mightiest Heroes suddenly disappear - with Ant-Man and the (likely far more capable) Wasp suddenly having to step up as heroes, while simultaneously trying to track down Hope's mother Janet in the mysterious 'microverse' that Ant-Man visited during the last film.
Heck, even if Avengers: Infinity War turns out a little differently than anticipated, there's every possibility that said 'microverse' will ultimately turn out to be a key element in the goings on of the as-yet-untitled Avengers movie arriving in 2019. So, whether Ant-Man and the Wasp are forced to become Earth's new guardians, or simply spend the movie pottering about the 'microverse', there's every possibility that it'll have a major impact on 2019's Avengers adventure. What's more:
The Very Existence Of Ant-Man And The Wasp Is Incredibly Important
After all, when you take a look at Marvel Studios' current line-up for 2018 and 2019, it's worth noting that all of its non-Avengers projects are headlined by either women (Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel) or an African king (February 2018's Black Panther). With Marvel having thus far struggled to translate its stated embrace of diversity into any movies with a non-white main lead, that actually a pretty big deal.
What's more, the apparent shifting of the Ant-Man franchise in a Wasp-ward direction - perhaps even to the extent that it eventually becomes more accurately describable as the Ant-Man/Wasp franchise - would seem to suggest that Marvel is planning on allowing Evangeline Lilly's Hope Van Dyne to be more than an inexplicably side-lined stuffed suit in the next movie. Ant-Man and the Wasp, then, could well mark the beginning - or, perhaps, the continuation - of a new, more progressive era in the MCU.
Which would certainly be something worth celebrating with a dance party...
What do you reckon, though?