Katy O’Brian Reveals More Items on the Quantum Realm Bar Menu

Mar 4, 2023

With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania playing in theaters nationwide, I got the chance to chat with Jentorra herself, Katy O’Brian, about the character’s backstory, her relationship with the other members of the Freedom Fighters, and a whole bunch of Quantum Realm curiosities.

In the third installment of the Ant-Man series, Scott (Paul Rudd), Cassie (Kathryn Newton), Hope (Evangeline Lilly), Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Hank (Michael Douglas) are sucked into the Quantum Realm. While there, they meet the Freedom Fighters led by Jentorra, a group of individuals determined to end Kang the Conquerer’s (Jonathan Majors) reign. Skeptical of everyone who comes from above, Jentorra wants nothing to do with the newcomers, however, via Cassie’s eagerness to step up and spark change, Jentorra comes to realize they can finally put a stop to Kang once and for all if they work together.
Check out my full conversation with O’Brian about her experience making Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in the interview transcript below and, if you’d like to know even more about her journey in Hollywood thus far, you can watch her extended Collider Ladies Night interview right here.

Image via Marvel Studios

The Quantum Realm is a bit of a big, unusual, curious place, so what were some burning you had after signing on about who Jentorra was before the events of the film, how the Quantum Realm works, and how that affects who she’s become?

KATY O’BRIAN: I think a lot of how the Quantum Realm works was really beyond me. [Laughs] I read the script and to me it was like, okay, this is a place where probably anything is possible. It almost felt like a world that you could gain life from, but also was just ready to eat you alive.

In terms of the past, I was really curious about – because we all had different tribes, I was curious about my people. I was also curious about my relationship with Janet primarily because in earlier versions it was heavily alluded to that we’d worked together. I felt very betrayed by her, I felt angry towards her and we kind of side-stepped that and made it more about Jentorra and Cassie once the filming started. So I kind of would have liked to explore that a little more.

For what it’s worth, in her response to hearing Janet’s name, you can still feel the weight of that kind of history there.

O’BRIAN: And they changed that line; “Where is she? She shouldn’t be here.” You know, that kind of thing. It was definitely more of a scalding, “Where is she? I’m gonna …” But yeah, I’m glad that it read that way.

I have so many follow-up questions about that, but first, I know her appearance in the comics is pretty minimal but is that something you considered at all?

O’BRIAN: Before I talked to Peyton, I was looking up the character, looking up the, “Okay, so Jarella is her aunt, she has this relationship with Hulk.” And then I was kind of bummed because I was like, “Oh man, Jentorra’s the reason that this planet is screwed because she brought the wrong Hulk, her magic sucks,” all those kind of things. So I was really relieved to hear that it was a different version because I don’t often get to play a good guy and a hero. I’m often stuck in a kind of a henchman role, so this was a really refreshing, really cool version I think. I was really happy to hear Peyton’s thoughts on it.

I’m glad we’re talking more later. We’ll dig into that.

Image via Disney

I always love hearing about backstory and personal details that you came up with that we don’t hear or see on screen, but we can feel informing your performance and your character’s decisions. So, is there any detail in that respect that you could tell us a little about?

O’BRIAN: Yeah, I haven’t cleared any of this with Marvel. This is all my thoughts, but I had Xolum, Veb, and Quaz as my three people that I had around for the most part. Xolum, the actor that played him, James [Cutler], he said that he basically wanted to play this big hulking character as if he were a child. And so in my mind, in my head canon, Xolum was kind of like Jentorra’s adopted son. She’s like, “This kid, he needs to be managed, but he’s got good intentions.”

Then Quaz, he was like my right-hand man, probably my adviser, somebody that I looked to for the more intellectual side of things because I always pictured Jentorra as very much from a warrior society. So all of her people were just really built and great fighters, and so it’s kind of helping her understand the new people that she’s basically been given the great weight of having to keep safe. So Quaz, especially because he’s a mind reader, he’s a really great, what’s the word? Someone to bring them all together and help her understand everybody.

Then Veb, the way David played him — David’s a big guy and he’s hunched over, and he’s just like walking, moving his little booty, this cute little tiny creature, and he was so endearing, and I thought that was a really, really great way to show Jentorra’s soft side. Every time he comes on screen I give him a little smile. He’s just this precious element in our world.

I kind of just came up with all these little relationships with everybody. Obviously, we had Janet prior, so now I kind of think anyone from above, Janet, Kang, anyone that comes [from there], not great right off the bat. So I think that gave me a little prejudice for Cassie and Scott.

Given what happened, it’s kind of reasonable.

O’BRIAN: I mean, am I wrong? [Laughs]

Bringing up what you just mentioned with Janet does make me curious, of all the scenes that you shot in the film, which would you say changed the most for you from script to screen?

O’BRIAN: I think when they saw my interaction with Cassie freeing me from the prison cell – because that was actually one of the first things I shot – when they saw our interaction together and thought about what Cassie had to learn, I think that’s when they kind of shifted it from just this negative reaction to Janet to more of Jentorra seeing someone who needs to actually learn the severity of the situation, and the difficulty of what it actually means to be a hero. So from then on out, they made those interactions more prominent than I think they maybe originally intended.

Let’s say there was no need for the Freedom Fighters and Jentorra could live happily ever after, what do you think that happily ever after would look like?

O’BRIAN: I think she still has a fighter spirit and there’s a little bit of restlessness to that, so I think that she would still train, she’d still want to be active, want to make sure that everybody is safe and happy. I think that that would be her main objective. But then also, there’s gotta be a side of her that wants to just chill, drink some beers with Quaz and Veb, or drink some of Veb. I don’t really know. [Laughs]

I want an entire movie that takes place at that bar just so I can experience the entire drink menu.

O’BRIAN: I know, I know! It’s like, “Okay, if you drink this …” Originally that thing, that creature that they drank, if you drank him, I think all of your food spoke to you from then on out. I think that’s what it was. It’s terrifying.

Well, that’s fascinating. I truly do want a whole movie about that now.

O’BRIAN: I know, I would love to see all that stuff.

If Jentorra could return to the MCU in any film or show, what particular film or show would you choose, and who would you want to see her interacting with the most?

O’BRIAN: Oh, man. I think that she would fit in well in a Thor universe. There were some similar elements comedically and everything [in] this movie to what Taika [Waititi] does with Thor. So I think that would work out, but also we’ve got a similar kind of style to Namor and his peeps, so I don’t know. It could be kind of cool to interact with them.

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