Who Are Quaz and the Freedom Fighters?
Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania.The Marvel Cinematic Universe certainly never fails to assemble a deep bench of great actors for their projects, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is no different. While seeing such eclectic stars of different generations like Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Kathryn Newton is impressive enough, the third installment in the Ant-Man series adds rising star Jonathan Majors into the mix as well as the villainous Kang the Conqueror. However, among the other new additions to the first installment in Phase Five of the MCU is The Good Place star William Jackson Harper as Quaz, one of the Freedom Fighters of the Quantum Realm.
Set after the events of the blip, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania reveals that Cassie Lang (Newton) has created a satellite communication device that is capable of reaching the Quantum Realm. While Janet Van Dyne (Pfeiffer) fears sending any messages into the dangerous micro universe, a signal sent to the Quantum Realm is intercepted by Kang, dragging the entire Lang and Van Dyne family into the subatomic universe. They are immediately separated, but Scott and Cassie are able to briefly reunite when they encounter Quaz and the Freedom Fighters.
Harper delivers a fun performance that still underlies the importance of the Freedom Fighters and their mission. While most fans may recognize Harper from his breakout performance as Chidi in The Good Place, he’s previously shown his ability to tackle darker material in projects like Barry Jenkins’ The Underground Railroad, Midsommar, and Dark Waters. While Quaz doesn’t play a major role in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania until the third act, his character and organization has a deeper history within the comics.
Who Is Quaz in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’?
Upon their arrival into the Quantum Realm, Scott (Rudd) and Cassie take a moment to adjust to their new surroundings. In a sequence that feels particularly inspired by Star Wars and Fantastic Voyage, the father-daughter duo are captured by a mysterious band of non-human creatures. While Scott initially protests against their capture, Cassie convinces her father to drink a mixture of goo that will allow them to communicate with their new captors. They are approached by Quaz, as well as the freedom fighting warrior Jentorra (Katy O’Brian) and the comical slime creature Veb (David Dastmalchian). While Jentorra and Bill Murray’s character Lord Krylar are minor characters from the comics, Quaz is an entirely new creation for the film.
It’s revealed through a comical moment that Quaz is a telepath, and can read some of the awkward thoughts that pop into Scott’s mind when he’s under pressure. Telepathy is a power that has only somewhat been introduced into the MCU thus far, as a majority of the Marvel comic book characters with telepathic abilities are derived from the X-Men saga, such as Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Apocalypse, Psylocke, Legion, and Cable. While we got a brief appearance of Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the only other known telepath in the MCU is the Lighthouse resident Ben (Myko Olivier), a mind-reader who appeared on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
What Happens to Quaz in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’?
While Scott and Cassie attempt to negotiate with Quaz and the other Freedom Fighters, they are interrupted quickly thereafter when Kang and his minions seize the area. Jentorra had explained that Janet’s connection to Kang put them all in danger, as the Freedom Fighters have been building a resistance force to protect the Quantum Realm against “The Conqueror.”
Although Quaz and the Freedom Fighters are separated from the Langs for the majority of the film after their initial encounter, they are reintroduced in the third act after Cassie makes a holographic plea to all the creatures living in the Quantum Realm to help resist Kang and his army from taking over; her inspirational speech to band together for their collective freedom is another moment clearly inspired by the Star Wars franchise. Despite their initial disagreements, Quaz and the Freedom Fighters take part in the final conflict.
Victory for the Langs also ensures that the Freedom Fighters have successfully defended their home, even if the lurking threat of Kang still looms in their future. It’s unclear if Quaz will appear again; he survives the final assault, yet seems content to reside in the Quantum Realm. While Harper isn’t officially signed on for any other MCU projects, it seems likely that he could show up again if there are any other adventures in the Quantum Realm that require a telepath’s powers.
Who Are the Freedom Fighters in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’?
In Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the Freedom Fighters are described as a band of resistance warriors composed of various creatures hunted by Kang. They are mostly originally derived from the 1970s comic book run of The Incredible Hulk, a similarly bizarre sci-fi adventure set in the Microverse. In the MCU version, Janet was a member of the Freedom Fighters before trapping Kang in the subatomic universe and escaping back to reality on Earth-616. In the midst of the final conflict, the Freedom Fighter Xolum is killed by Kang, but a majority of the brave warriors survive.
The Freedom Fighters are somewhat inspired by a group of the same name that appeared in Marvel Comics’ 1984 storyline Secret Wars, which was developed in conjunction with a toy line of the same name. The crossover events combined storylines from The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, Captain America, The Uncanny X-Men, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, The Thing, and Marvel Team-Up for an epic clash of heroes and villains. The storyline introduces a cosmic entity called “The Beyonder” that watches the Marvel Universe and transports various groups of heroes and villains to “Battleworld” to test their abilities.
In Secret Wars, the Freedom Fighters was a loose term given to some of the heroes that banded together, including Captain America, Daredevil, and Spider-Man (who were all featured in a “Freedom Fighter Base” playset in 1984). It’s possible that the name has been somewhat disbanded by Marvel, as DC Comics also had a popular team of characters called “Freedom Fighters” that included the Black Condor, Doll Man, the Human Bomb, the Ray, the Phantom Lady, and Uncle Sam.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is playing now in theaters.