The first Ant-Man really kickstarted what has become a Marvel tradition of de-aging actors to play their young selves with some impressive VFX. But its recent sequel took that heady fantasy of turning back time to some uncanny levels with its flashback scenes starring Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer as Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne—and you can get a glimpse of it in action.
Wired recently sat down with Marvel Studios’ vice president of visual effects, Danielle Costa about the digital trickery behind the studio’s latest superhero film. But it’s not really the shrinking and growing escapades of both Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne that make it so interesting. In the discussion around the flashback to the last time the young Hope saw her mother Janet, before she seemingly sacrificed herself by shrinking down to the Quantum Realm, we get to see a step by step approach to how Marvel’s VFX wizards turn these beloved actors into younger facsimiles of themselves.
It’s honestly a little disconcerting, as well as being wildly impressive. As we’ve said before, it’s not necessarily bad, but it’s almost like an idealized, alternate universe rather than cinematic time travel, a fantasized version of what we remember these actors looking like decades ago in our minds. It’s amazing how far the technique has come from Ant-Man all the way up to Clark Gregg and Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel next year. You can check out much more on the film’s effects in the video above.