Did you recognize who was missing from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)?
Whether intentional or not, sometimes side characters steal the show in movies. Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine ) in the Dark Knight Trilogy, for example, or Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) in The Princess Bride (1987), though not the main character, stole the hearts of fans right off the bat. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is no exception, so it’s a bit of a surprise when one such fan-favorite character doesn’t show up in the franchise.
Would Tom Holland’s Spider-Man franchise be the same without Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon)? Peter Parker’s (Holland) “Man in the chair” has been a staple since his introduction in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and has been an integral part of the storytelling surrounding the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He has been a hit but arguably not the most popular side character. That title may well belong to Michael Peña’s Luis.
The character quickly won over fans with his engaging and hilarious recap skills, which in at least one instance included a Stan Lee cameo. Fans even have expressed interest in having the character recap the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe from time to time, just to catch fans up between movies. It only stands to reason, therefore, that Luis (Peña) was carried over from Ant-Man (2015) to Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), and fans certainly would have expected to see him again in the third film in the franchise, but, that was not the case.
Though there were plenty of new characters introduced in the Quantum Realm, including Bill Murray’s Krylar and even David Dastmalchian, who played Luis’ (Peña) friend and employee Kurt, returned as a different character, Veb, there was no sign of Michael Peña. Director Peyton Reed had a response for fans wondering about his absence. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, covered by The Direct, the director elaborated.
According to Reed, the decision to leave out Luis (Peña) and the rest of Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) Ex-Con family was made very early on and came back to location. The decision was made to set the main action of the film in the Quantum Realm and focus the action on Lang (Rudd) and his family. This would mean that it would be extremely difficult to do characters like Luis (Peña) justice and still maintain the focus of the story where it needed to be:
“I love those characters. They were really, really fun and part of the Lang family, but as we got further and further into [development] and knew we wanted to bring the family into the Quantum Realm pretty early in the movie, it just didn’t make sense [to include Luis and co.].”
Though it is a shame, it does make sense within the context of the story that Reed and company told in Quantumania. There is always room for the character to return, however. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is big and only getting bigger, and it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility for fans to see the quick-talking, excellent recapper again sometime in the future!
Related: Fate of ‘Ant-Man’ Star Revealed After They Risked Getting the “Gina Carano Treatment” From Disney
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is currently in theaters and stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne/The Wasp, Kathryn Newton as Cassie Lang, Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror, Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet van Dyne, and Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, and Corey Stoll as Darren Cross/MODOK. Quantumania delivers some fantastic humor, action, and drama as Scott (Rudd) goes head to head against Kang (Majors), setting up the “Kang Dynasty.”
What do you think about Reed’s decision to omit Luis (Peña)? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!