In a surprise announcement, Edgar Wright has left Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man” as its director, the company said Friday.
Marvel already has tapped a new director, but has yet to reveal who landed the job.
Hollywood and Marvel’s fan community will be scratching its head for a while over this one, considering Wright has been attached to “Ant-Man” since 2006 — before the first “Iron Man” film — as a screenwriter. He has regularly gone to San Diego Comic-Con to give updates on the project’s development, and even showed test footage in 2012 of his approach to bringing the size-shifting character to the big screen.
Marvel and Wright parted ways “due to differences in their vision of the film,” the company and director said in a statement.
From where I stand this is terrible news for a few reasons.
First, Wright is a good director with a great visual sense and style. He’s already proven he can do great action and he knows how to balance humour and drama. So in this sense it’s a loss.
Second, one of the great strengths of the Marvel films has been allowing directors to put their own stamp on things. Shane Black’s Iron Man Three and Joe Johnson’s Captain America: The First Avenger being great examples of this. So a “difference of vision” is kind of a big deal in this sense. What did Marvel want that Wright didn’t? What did Wright want that Marvel didn’t?
Maybe he was making a comedy action movie and they wanted to maintain their tone of action-drama-with-funny-elements? I don’t know and I doubt we’ll find out soon.
Third, Wright has been involved in Ant-Man since 2006, developing the concept and even going so far as to make a demo reel to get himself the gig and prove it’s viability. So what changed?
This isn’t the first time that Marvel has changed a director (Alan Taylor replaced Patty Jenkins at the last-minute on Thor: The Dark World) but the level of involvement here is pretty much unparalleled.
You can rest assured that the script by Wright and Joe Cornish will likely remain (mostly) intact and the cast as announced will not be changing, nor with the July 2016 release date.
Update: The cast and release date aren’t changing (so far) but it looks like this whole thing may have been caused by Disney meddling with the script..
Marvel apparently has a new director chosen and will be announcing soon. Probably just hammering out contract details or some such paperwork.