Though real-life science and photography played an integral part in designing the Quantum Realm, Peyton Reed was particularly interested in the opportunity to bring back an old-school sci-fi/fantasy vibe, one that used to be seen on screens as well as on store shelves. As he elaborated:
“We really drew from a lot of stuff. ‘Flash Gordon.’ ‘Barbarella.’ All these sort of whacked-out things. Really looking at the covers of old science-fiction paperbacks, from the ’60s and ’70s and into the ’80s. There are a lot of great artists who would paint the covers for these things, and they would be in the newsstand and that cover had to grab you, and a lot of them were creating these really strange worlds that, if you were looking at paperbacks, that one would pull you in. You may not even know what the story is, but that visual.”
One other major influence that Reed namechecked was the classic sci-fi fiction/comic strip/illustration magazine Heavy Metal, particularly its run during the ’70s and 80s (a run that influenced its own big-screen animation adaptation, “Heavy Metal,” in 1981). He also mentioned that the Quantum Realm “has a little sword and sorcery element [to it]” and “a real Moebius element” involved as well, referencing the French artist Jean “Moebius” Giraud, whose work frequently appeared in the pages of — you guessed it — Heavy Metal.
While the movie itself and its place within the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe remains to be seen when it opens on February 17, 2023 it seems “Quantumania” will undoubtedly be a feast for the eyes, especially for those of us who believe that the more “whacked-out,” the better.