Smartly revealed to the press just before the long holiday weekend, Marvel Studios has announced the unfortunate news that innovative director Edgar Wright (The World’s End) has left the production of the 2015 release, Ant-Man.
Wright has been working on the film since 2006, long before Marvel Studios became what it is today, and with the film literally being weeks before shooting, this announcement was completely unexpected. Here’s the full text from Marvel Studios’ press release:
Marvel and Edgar Wright jointly announced today that the studio and director have parted ways on Ant-Man due to differences in their vision of the film. The decision to move on is amicable and does not impact the release date on July 17, 2015. A new director will be announced shortly.
Understandably, fan reaction has been incredibly mixed, especially given how promising the test footage from the Paul Rudd headlined film looked.
The big question people are asking is why? Rumors have flooded the web, including that the movie was behind schedule/over budget, and that Disney brass stepped in to revise the script, without input from Wright or co-writer Joe Cornish (Attack the Block). But perhaps the best perspective came from director James Gunn.
Like Wright, Gunn has an incredibly unique sensibility as a director, and as he finishes his greatly anticipated Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy, I’d say it’s his word we can take best. From his Facebook, he wrote:
Sometimes you have friends in a relationship. You love each of them dearly as individuals and think they’re amazing people. When they talk to you about their troubles, you do everything you can to support them, to keep them together, because if you love them both so much doesn’t it make sense they should love each other? But little by little you realize, at heart, they aren’t meant to be together – not because there’s anything wrong with either of them, but they just don’t have personalities that mesh in a comfortable way. They don’t make each other happy. Although it’s sad to see them split, when they do, you’re surprisingly relieved, and excited to see where their lives take them next.
It’s easy to try to make one party “right” and another party “wrong” when a breakup happens, but it often isn’t that simple. Or perhaps it’s even more simple than that – not everyone belongs in a relationship together. It doesn’t mean they’re not wonderful people.
And that’s true of both Edgar Wright and Marvel. One of them isn’t a person, but I think you get what I mean.
Movies go through this sort of thing all of the time, and the results have been both good and bad. Thor: The Dark World moved from Patty Jenkins directing to Alan Taylor (worked out OK), X-Men: The Last Stand moved from Bryan Singer to Matthew Vaughn to Brett Ratner (did not end well), and Pixar movies go through this sort of thing all of the time – most notably with Ratatouille, which is arguably one of their finest films.
The fact is – something did not work out well for all parties. But this does not mean that Ant-Man will be bad, or that Edgar Wright is screwed, or that Marvel or Disney is evil. It just means that no one was happy.
Ant-Man will release in July 2015, and we’ll probably still end up excited for it. The script and pre-vis are mostly locked in, so there will undoubtedly be Wright-esque. Edgar Wright will go on to make incredible films. The Marvel Cinematic Universe will roll on.
And in the meantime, perhaps we should take a stand like Marvel Cinematic Architect, Joss Whedon (The Avengers), and just stand united.