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When debating whether or not he's the man for the job, Scott asks Dr. Pym why Pym doesn't wear the suit himself.

Pym replies that the suit had changed him, and he could no longer wear it.

Pym definitely knows about

the Pym particles being able to affect the user's mind, but wore the helmet to protect himself.

What did the suit do to Pym that makes him unable to wear it again?

  • I'd imagine this is something that will be revealed in the inevitable sequel - but I imagine it will have something to do with the research into the Quantum Realm that he undertook after Janet's disappearance. – Dr R Dizzle Jul 21 '15 at 12:42
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I thought it was mental trauma from his wife's death, not a physical affliction.

From the opening scene in the Triskelion, I got the impression that:

  • He'd already given up using the Ant-Man suit
  • His wife had died recently

I think the two events are related.

We know that Jane's death hit him hard – he disappeared for a number of days, became distant from Hope, and lied to her about the death for years. He probably feels a lot of guilt over it, both because it was his suit that killed her, and survivor's guilt because it was meant to be his sacrifice.

He seems to have some idea of what the quantum realm involves – presumably some research after her death – and he didn't visit himself (consider his surprise that Scott returned). But donning the suit would always remind him of his days as the Ant-Man, and how his heroics killed his wife. The guilt and trauma might make him unable to function while wearing the suit.

It's possible that the trauma has been exacerbated by Pym particles. Although the helmet is supposed to protect the brain, it's not totally effective – Hank Pym suffers mental instabilities in the comics despite wearing it (see Michael Edenfield's answer to Do Pym Particles do this in the comics?). The Pym particles may intensify the pain of his wife's death, making it that much harder to wear the suit.

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  • I definitely had that thought as well, but I wasn't sure if I was just misinterpreting things. Even given his past with the suit, his steadfast "this must be done, no matter what" attitude seems to me like it would/might be enough incentive to push through whatever emotional issues he may have, if that's all it was. – phantom42 Jul 21 '15 at 17:25
  • I don't think that's true, though; the opening scene implies that SHIELD fully expected him to be out in the suit. IIRC, he tells us the year that Janet died and it was almost 2 years before Hank quit SHIELD, so if he had been out of the field that long, why refer to him as a "soldier" ? – KutuluMike Jul 21 '15 at 23:12
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He shrank so small he went into the microverse, different dimensions and the like. Probably was helped back by Dr. Strange. The stress of trying to wrap his brain around that was why he didn't want his daughter wearing the suit. We'll most likely see a Dr. Strange quip about meeting/helping him.

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  • 2
    Hi there and welcome to the site! This is a really interesting answer. If you have any sources to back it up, it would be a great idea to add them! – Adele C Nov 7 '15 at 0:32

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