Ant-Man and the Wasp Villain Mystery - Walton Goggins

Much like the original Ant-Man, the Marvel Studios sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp keeps to itself without many connections to the rest of the events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It allows for an lighthearted, entertaining adventure that doesn’t need a bunch of connective tissue to Avengers: Infinity War or any of the other superhero franchises. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some interesting threads to follow that could have serious ramifications for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Ant-Man and the Wasp has a couple of villains who give the titular superhero duo a run for their money. One of them is Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), who has an affliction that keeps her quantum phasing, putting her in constant pain. She needs something from Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) in order to cure her of this peculiar malady. There’s also Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), a shady black market tech dealer who has been helping Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and her father gather some rare tech to find her mother Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) in the quantum realm. But he tries to turn a business deal in his own favor by making a play for Pym’s shrinking technology, apparently in the name of an unknown buyer who wants to use it for innovations in quantum energy. And that’s the mystery we want to dig into.

Who is Sonny Burch’s employer? That’s the Ant-Man and the Wasp villain mystery that remains unsolved. But there might be answers just waiting for us in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

When Sonny Burch becomes less of an ally for Hope Van Dyne, he mentions that he works for some “very dangerous people.” However, we never learn who those people are. Burch goes out of his way to say that Hydra and SHIELD aren’t around anymore, making business a little harder, at least when it comes to selling weapons. That leaves Burch looking to get his hands on Hank Pym’s laboratory, technology that will help his buyer in the race for quantum energy.

We asked Kevin Feige about whether this is setting the stage for something bigger down the road, and while he was vague, he did offer up this nugget:

“A little bit. I mean, those are, there are deeply planted seeds and there are less deeply planted seeds. He says SHIELD and Hydra don’t exist anymore, he’s working for people that are dangerous people.”

Feige reiterates what Burch says in the movie, but does acknowledge that there’s some seed planting going on here. So who is enlisting Sonny Burch to do these shady business deals and steal Hank Pym’s laboratory? Let’s run through some of the possibilities in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Iron Man 2 - Sam Rockwell

Justin Hammer

After being humiliated in Iron Man 2 by making inferior products for the army that ended up being taken over by Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), AKA Whiplash, the tech businessman Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) was sent to prison. But on his way out, he told Pepper Potts that he was going to make problems for her and that she would see him real soon. But it’s been years, and Justin Hammer is presumably still locked up in prison. But that doesn’t mean he’s not pulling strings, perhaps looking for something that will help him get out of prison and make a comeback.

Iron Man 3 - Guy Pearce

Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M)

This company was associated with Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) in Iron Man 3, and while the villain might be dead, that doesn’t mean the company died with him. A.I.M. looms large in the Marvel Comics universe, and they’re known as one of those signature evil organizations that wants to use technology to take over the world. We don’t know who might be behind A.I.M., but the fact that this company has already been established in the MCU does leave the door open for a new villain to be in charge. It might even open the door for the villain M.O.D.O.K. to join the MCU.

Iron Man 3 - Mandarin

The Real Mandarin

While Aldrich Killian revealed himself to be the man behind The Mandarin in Iron Man 3, the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King delivered a bit of a retcon that revealed the real Mandarin was still at large. In that film, a documentary filmmaker named Jackson Norriss (played by Scoot McNairy) interviews phony Mandarin actor Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley). In their conversation, Norriss reveals that he is part of the Ten Rings terrorist group controlled by The Mandarin, and the real reason he’s there to interview Trevor is to break him out of prison so he can meet the real villain.

That means The Mandarin is still out there somewhere, and it would stand to reason that he would be after whatever technology he could get his hands on that would allow him and the Ten Rings to make their next move.

Iron Man - Roxxon Oil - Iron Monger

Roxxon Oil Company

What the hell is Roxxon Oil Company? Well, they’re a major corporation that exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but they just haven’t had a pivotal role in any of the movies just yet. However, they have been glimpsed in the background or mentioned in passing throughout the entire Iron Man franchise. On top of that, references to the company have also been made in Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, Daredevil, Iron Fist and Cloak and Dagger. Now would be a good time for the company to have a bigger presence in the MCU and be used as a villain’s front for evil bidding.

Fantastic Four - Ioan Gruffudd

Reed Richards

We’ll be the first to admit that this doesn’t exactly line up with Burch’s mention of working for “very dangerous people.” But at the same time, Burch is a black market technology dealer, so he likely has to make threats like that all the time so he doesn’t get screwed over. He’s cutthroat about getting the job done so he can make ends meet. So what if the person who is looking for this technology is none other than Reed Richards?

Reed Richards is a brilliant scientist (played by Ioan Gruffudd in 2005’s Fantastic Four), and there’s nothing that says he has empowered Burch to do dangerous things to get Hank Pym’s technology. Maybe he’s merely looking for things he can use to further his own work, and he doesn’t ask Burch how he gets the products Richards is looking for. Kevin Feige has said it would be a few years before we see any Marvel characters owned by 20th Century Fox making their way into the MCU, but this mystery thread could easily lead into something like that.

Spider-Man - Willem Dafoe

Norman Osborn

Marvel Studios has already struck a deal to share Spider-Man in the MCU, so who’s to say there isn’t a deal in place to have Norman Osborn (played by Willem Dafoe in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man) become part of the MCU? After all, there’s Spider-Man: Far From Home coming up, and there’s a chance Osborn Industries could be looming in the background of that sequel. It would be interesting if Norman Osborn came to be a formidable foe for the heroes of the MCU, and acquiring Hank Pym’s technology would certainly make him a force to be reckoned with.

The Skrulls

The Skrulls

With Captain Marvel gearing up to introduce us to the shapeshifting alien race known as Skrulls, it could stand to reason that whoever is employing Sonny Burch may not actually be human. There’s a chance that a member of the Skrulls could be pretending to be human in an effort to get their hands on Hank Pym’s technology. Obviously, the Skrulls would have their own advanced alien technology at their disposal, but Hank Pym’s technology is unique, and as we’ve seen, many are desperate to get their hands on it, which means it’s not easy to duplicate.

Elon Musk - Daily Show

Elon Musk

This guy is a comic book villain waiting to be unleashed. It’s only a matter of time before he becomes a threat in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He might go under some kind of fake name like Velon Tusk, but we all know the truth.

***

Those are our guesses for who might have been employing Sonny Burch. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel left this open-ended so that they could use the thread in whatever way they want to sometime later. Will it pay off? Only time will tell.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: