The MCU’s Ant-Man Joke Is The Perfect Paul Rudd Gag

Marvel’s What If…? episode 5 introduces a zombie apocalypse to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and also included a perfect Ant-Man and Paul Rudd gag.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for What If…? episode 5.

Besides including a zombie apocalypse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel’s What If…? episode 5 had a perfectly placed Ant-Man and Paul Rudd gag. In What If…? episode 5, zombies finally infiltrate the MCU. After a zombie virus escapes from the Quantum Realm, everything erupts into chaos, with the Avengers making the spread even worse. After the heroes get infected, a complete zombie takeover of the MCU is inevitable. As Jeffrey Wright’s The Watcher says, “Once Earth’s Mightiest Heroes joined the infected, no one else stood a chance.” However, the episode ends with hope, as the surviving heroes make their way to Wakanda with the Mind Stone to distribute a cure.


The episode included a mix of new and returning stars. Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner), Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa), Paul Bettany (Vision), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Evangeline Lilly (Hope van Dyne), and Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man) all returned. However, not all the MCU stars brought their former characters back to life. Once again, Josh Keaton took over for Chris Evans as Steve Rogers. Additionally, Spider-Man, who plays a significant role in the episode, wasn’t voiced by Tom Holland. Instead, Hudson Thames took on the part of Spidey.

Related: Marvel Zombies Makes Spider-Man’s Star Wars Gag Worse

During the episode, the MCU includes a brilliant joke about Ant-Man himself. Rudd’s Scott Lang is one of the first victims of the apocalypse. After Hank Pym becomes infected with the virus in the Quantum Realm, he returns to the regular world and immediately attacks Lang. However, Vision later uses the Mind Stone to save Lang. Unfortunately, all that’s left is his disembodied head. Given the numerous memes on social media about Rudd failing to age, placing his head in a glass jar is a perfect joke.

What If…? episode 5 adds to the constant stream of online memes about Rudd being immortal. Rudd’s agelessness is a joke that regularly gets recycled on social media. Memes and photos are constantly shared online, especially around the actor’s birthday, showing Rudd, 52, looking incredibly similar to his younger self. Rudd has even commented on the memes, saying he is secretly “80 years old on the inside.” Given all the memes and jokes, it makes sense that Rudd survives the apocalypse with his head in a jar. But, of course, he would. That’s what immortals do.

Considering Marvel often includes inside jokes, the Rudd gag appears to be an intentional nod to the memes. Throughout the MCU, Marvel has included several in-jokes and references for savvy viewers. For example, in Captain America: Civil War, the stair car from Arrested Development appears in the background, simply serving as a nod to the days when Anthony and Joe Russo directed that show. Elsewhere, Phase 2 of the MCU had a running joke where characters would lose a hand or an arm in honor of Luke Skywalker’s famous moment from The Empire Strikes Back. Loki even continued the MCU’s Star Wars gag. Given Marvel’s constant in-jokes, the Ant-Man and Paul Rudd gag once again hits the nail on the head.

More: The MCU Secretly Just Confirmed How Dangerous The Dark Avengers Will Be

Marvel’s What If…? releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.

  • Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023

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The MCU’s Ant-Man Joke Is The Perfect Paul Rudd Gag