Spoiler warning: If you don't want to know where Ant-Man and the Wasp are at the beginning of Ant-Man and the Wasp, you shouldn't read this!
It's been two years since Captain America: Civil War hit theaters in our world, and it turns out that's the same amount of time that's passed in the MCU when Ant-Man and the Wasp kicks off. The last time we saw Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), he was incarcerated at The Raft following a giant (heh) fight on a German airport tarmac. He tripped over a plane and fell afoul of a CIA armed with Sokovia Accords that demanded superheroes either register, quit the game, or live outside the law.
As Infinity War quipped and as the first full trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp showed us, Ant-Man chose door number two, copping a deal with the CIA that got him out of jail but stripped him of his superhero status and left him with the parting gift of an ankle monitor. While attending a set visit with other outlets, Nerdist got the scoop on how that airport battle shaped everything about the outset of Ant-Man and the Wasp.
His house arrest is the biggest consequence, particularly because it cements him in San Francisco with a new chance for a normal life.
"So I'm in house arrest after the events of Civil War where I was obviously found out," Rudd told us. "I'm now trying to just be as good of a dad as I can be...We start where I'm finishing the sentence in a way, and, uh, boy, I tell you, just when you think you're out, they pull you right back in." But the Avenger vs. Avenger melee also fractured his relationships with Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). At the start of the film, Lang hasn't talked to either of them for a long time.
Of course, as an element of Civil War, the airport battle was something Ant-Man and the Wasp director Peyton Reed inherited. "For our jumping point, my first questions were, 'What did Hank and Hope know about Scott going off and dealing with that situation with the Avengers?' and 'How did they feel about it?'" Reed said. "Surely this would have caused some kind of, ahem, tension at worst and a rift at best between the characters, because Hank Pym's very clear in the first movie about how he feels about Stark and how he feels about the Avengers."
Reed added that Pym is outraged because of how protective he is of the Pym Particle technology that the young thief whisked away to Germany to get his butt beaten by Spider-Man—an act that, by the way, exposed Ant-Man tech to the CIA and put Hank Pym on their radar.
"Yeah, [Hank's] pretty pissed off about that," Douglas told us with a laugh."He really is. I would say it largely sets the initial tone between Scott and Hank on this one."
So Scott is on the outs with Hank and Hope because he betrayed their trust and cavorted with Avengers, but their life choices have also sent them in opposite directions. Scott has acquiesced to the Sokovia Accords by hanging up his suit, but Ant-Man and the Wasp sees Hank and Hope on the lam, refusing to give up their tech or sign themselves over.
"Our life has dramatically changed—not for the better, in our opinion," Lilly said. "It's made our methods of working very unconventional. They've gone from [Hank] being a stodgy old man who just keeps to himself to being kind of reclusive."
They're operating outside the law, which is why they've created a mobile lab that shrinks from a four-story building to a briefcase on wheels. Scott is under house arrest, but they're the outlaws.
Obviously they reconnect and work together (probably begrudgingly) on another job. The itinerary for the rest of the film's journey involves a trip into the Quantum Realm, a heist that takes place over one crazy night, and a mysterious adversary called Ghost, played by Hannah John-Kamen. But the thrust of where the movie begins is straight out of Civil War.