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Ant-Man in the Quantum Realm

Last year marked the end of an era in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Avengers: Endgame brought the Infinity Saga to an explosive ending. Last night, a different MCU era ended with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the first TV show set in this shared universe, airing its final two episodes. While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. toned down its connections to the film side of the MCU in its latter seasons, remarkably enough, the ABC show’s series finale ended up tying into Endgame in a major way: through its use of time travel. That’s right, the Quantum Realm came back into play.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 7 followed its main protagonists traveling to different time periods in the 20th century to prevent the Chronicoms from conquering Earth. At the start of the season, it seemed like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was operating on different time travel rules compared to the ones laid out in Avengers: Endgame. Specifically, the team adamantly tried to preserve the timeline as much as possible, although this became increasingly harder to do as certain historical events kept being altered.

However, the reemergence of Leopold Fitz, who had been absent for the majority of the season, changed everything. Upon arriving in the mid-1980s through a quantum bridge conjured by a machine pieced together by tech held by agents who survived the Chronicoms’ assault on S.H.I.E.L.D. bases around the world, Fitz revealed that rather than operating in their original timeline this season, his allies have been within a separate timeline, as was the case when Avengers: Endgame’s lead heroes went back in time to collect the Infinity Stones.

As such, while Season 7 has seen crazy twists like HYDRA leader Wilfred Malick living longer than he should have and Daisy Johnson’s mom, Jiaying, being killed years before Daisy was born, these events have no bearing on the original timeline that our main protagonists hail from. Furthermore, Fitz revealed that they could use the Quantum Realm to return to their original timeline, and they did just that, with Deke Shaw, Fitz and Simmons’ adult grandson from an aborted future, staying behind to ensure the trip was successful. The protagonists also used this quantum bubble to pull their Chronicom adversaries back to their original timeline so that the denizens of this other timeline wouldn’t have to worry about these synthetic threats anymore.

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You can watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s final two episodes to learn how the rest of the finale’s events played out, but it made for a welcome surprise that the series found a way to connect to Avengers: Endgame before wrapping up. As mentioned earlier, while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spent its early seasons including tie-ins to MCU movies (especially Captain America: The Winter Soldier, what with the reveal that HYDRA had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. from the start), that started to die down later into the run, with Thanos only being mentioned once in Season 5 and The Blip not even being addressed. At least the show was able to squeeze in one last connective thread for the viewers who also follow the MCU film series diligently.

While the Quantum Realm was introduced in 2015’s Ant-Man, it was only when the events of Avengers: Endgame rolled around that its time travel capabilities were revealed, as first evidenced by how Scott Lang had been trapped in that dimension for only five hours on his end, yet five years had passed in our reality when he was ejected from it. Since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was willing to utilize the Quantum Realm, perhaps one or more of the MCU’s upcoming Disney+ shows will have characters visiting there too.

For those of you who’ve either never checked out Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or fell off the show at some point, the first six seasons are available on Disney+ (which you can subscribe to now), and we’ll let you know when the seventh season makes its way there. As for what the MCU has heading to the big screen in the coming years, you can find that information in our Marvel movies guide.

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