While Marvel is now in full swing on “Ant-Man,” with a summer 2015 release date plugged in and ready to go, Edgar Wright‘s long developed but ultimately scrapped version will forever be a big “what if?” in the cinematic comic book canon. And while Wright has been largely mum on the whole situation, what is becoming increasingly clear is his vision didn’t quite fit the broad, four quadrant needs of Marvel. And since “Anchorman” helmer Adam McKay —courted to direct after Wright exited the project, and ultimately assisting with a rewrite— doesn’t come right out and say it, his comments about the work he did on the comic book movie are pretty telling.
Describing the “giant rewrite” he did on Wright’s script (which he calls “really good”) with Paul Rudd, McKay said to Collider, “we added some new action beats. I grew up on Marvel Comics so the geek in me was in heaven that I got to add a giant action sequence to the movie; I was so excited. So we added some cool new action. There’s a lot that’s already in there from what Edgar did. There’s a lot of dialogue and character still in there.
“We just shaped the whole thing. We just tried to streamline it, make it cleaner, make it a little bigger, a little more aggressive, make it funnier in places —we just basically did a rewrite,” he continued.
So, in short, Edgar Wright’s script has seemingly been rewritten extensively by McKay and Rudd, and will now be brought to life by Peyton Reed. And if this sounds like too many cooks in the kitchen, it’s actually par for the course for tentpoles and even the Marvel-verse. As Kevin Feige said over the summer, “the Marvel movies are very collaborative, and I think they are more collaborative than what [Wright] had been used to.”
Indeed, Marvel is a billion dollar business and stepping outside a successful formula is perceived as a risk. And while fans will point to James Gunn‘s “Guardians Of The Galaxy” as evidence that Marvel movies can be “weird,” at the end of the day, quirky characters aside, its screenplay and story were still quite conventional. And the third act of the movie still went in the direction of a big, grand action setpiece that put an entire city in danger. However, all that said, Marvel knows their formula inside and out, and as long as the films are entertaining and feel fresh, they’ll keep going with what works.
“Ant-Man” opens on July 17, 2015.