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Fondly Remembering, then Promptly Forgetting the Micronauts

No fan ever got fired for voicing a bad Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) hot take on Twitter. Sadly, no one ever got fired out of a cannon for it either. So when I saw a fan pitching for the appearance of the Micronauts in the upcoming Ant-Man 3, my heart sank for the poor fool.

We should be smart enough at this point to realize that it’s the lawyers who drive the stories in the MCU. Look no further than Disney buying FOX or the drama with Sony and our boy Tom Holland.

My point? Despite what us fans “demand” on Twitter, it’s often just uninformed wish fulfillment. The legalities of intellectual property rights determines who can appear in which films and our adamant petitions won’t change that reality. Listen, you work with what you’ve got.

Hasbro owns the rights to the Micronauts, so fuhgeddaboudem, they ain’t happening in the MCU.

But let’s pivot this article. While the above 300 words feel so restrictive, let’s use the next 300 to both fondly recall the Micronauts, while we also speculate on what we might see in Ant-Man 3. And I make my word count, which is nice.

Remembering the Micronauts

Japan-based Takara created a line of science fiction action figures in 1974 and the company Mego brought them to North America in the late 70s as The Micronauts.

Meanwhile, Star Wars became the sci-fi heavyweight and The Micronauts line died in 1980 as Mego filed bankruptcy. Other toy companies dabbled with reviving the line but it’s not even the toys where The Micronauts are best remembered, it was from comics.

First published in 1979, the Marvel comic featured both original characters as well as characters based on the Mego toys. Written by Bill Mantlo, Marvel published the series until issue 59 (1984), long after the toy line ended. Other volumes of the series, as well as annuals and miniseries, added to the Micronauts comic mythos.

Marvel told the story of the Micronauts’ origin in the Microverse, a microscopic universe full of strange planets made up of diverse spherical cities. Lead by Arcturus Rann, the Micronauts come together to push back the threat of Baron Karza, a former academic turned murderous dictator.

What followed was an epic war across the Microverse pitting Rann and The Micronauts against Karza. Rann’s team included Princess Mari aka Marionette, who along with her brother Prince Argon, were the only survivors of the slaughtered royal family of Homeworld, a Microverse habitat.

Microtron was a R2-D2-style character who served as support. The alien gladiators Acroyear and *tik*Bug*tik* rounded out Rann’s team, the latter being a wise-cracking thief who later joined the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Some of their adventurous highlights:

  • The Micronauts briefly warped to Earth where they were enlarged to action figure size and encountered Man-Thing.
  • Karza could turn into a centaur.
  • There was an army of dog soldiers.
  • Their foes included Plantman, Mentallo, HYDRA, Molecule Man, and Nightmare, Doctor Strange’s long-time foe.
  • They even encountered the Fantastic Four when their adventures took them to the Microverse.

Yeah, it was kooky stuff, in the best of ways. It’s no wonder the old Micronauts comics are remembered so fondly, even as it is difficult to track them down because of the ever-changing shifts in rights to the characters, which brings us to their non-appearance in the MCU.

Ant-Man 3 and the Tiny Town in the Quantum Realm

The Micronauts will not be appearing in the MCU because Hasbro owns the rights and their lawyers simply won’t allow it. Meanwhile, I think IDW is currently publishing Micronauts comics.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a nod to The Micronauts already in the MCU and, if you missed it, you wouldn’t be alone. During the quantum realm scenes in Ant-Man (2015), a city encased in a bubble appeared in the background. In fact, the visage was quite striking when you knew to look for it.

It’s of course called the Quantum Realm in the MCU because calling it the Microverse would step on Hasbro’s toe. But a spherical city is unmistakable. Hence, some exurberant–yet uninformed–fans taking to Twitter to proclaim The Micronauts surely must be living in there.

Peyton Reed–the director of the Ant-Man movies–made a point to mention the city, so it’s intentional. But while some fans jumped to the erroneous Micronauts conclusion, other more plausible fan theories have surfaced.

  • One theory says that maybe Kang lives here. “Chronopolis” was the famed home of the time traveling foe, although Kang is a story for another article.
  • One theory posits that Reed Richards worked with Hank Pym years ago and became trapped in the Quantum Realm with his family, and it’s there where they receive their powers and will be introduced into the MCU.
  • International fans wonder if the bubble city might be a Captain Britain pocket universe that opens the door for that character’s introduction.
  • Black Knight was allegedly part of Peyton Reed’s original Ant-Man pitch, so his introduction in the upcoming Eternals movie leaves fans wondering if the Quantum Realm could be a connection point for him.

Regardless, none of the above includes The Micronauts. If they ever appear in a movie, it will be up to Hasbro to bring them to life, heaven help us. Until then, we have the comics if we can track them down.

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