Edgar Wright’s exit from 2014 Marvel installment “Ant-Man” is being reframed once more.
Director Wright’s co-writer Joe Cornish revealed that it was the “Shaun of the Dead” helmer’s “auteur”-ism that led to the Marvel pushback in pre-production.
“When Edgar and I first met Marvel, they were in offices above a BMW showroom in Beverly Hills,” Cornish told The Playlist. “It was around the time of Ang Lee’s ‘Hulk,’ and [Jon] Favreau hadn’t even started working on the first ‘Iron Man.’ Superhero movies were not a thing… I guess because VFX hadn’t evolved to the point where they could put what was on page on the screen. So, they always felt like they were reaching for something they couldn’t achieve.”
Cornish continued, “We worked on [‘Ant-Man’] for something like eight years, on and off. And in that time, the landscape changed completely. The technology changed completely. Audiences fell in love with superhero movies. All the stuff that people loved in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s in comic books were suddenly translated on screen in a really direct way that had never happened before.”
He added, “That kind of overtook us in the sense that Marvel didn’t necessarily want the authored movie that Edgar and I wanted to make because, at that point, they had this behemoth on their hands. They had this universe where the movies had to integrate. Edgar is an auteur. Edgar Wright makes Edgar Wright movies. In the end, that’s why it didn’t happen, I guess.”
Wright left the film during development in 2014, with Peyton Reed replacing him as director. Wright and Cornish are still credited on the first “Ant-Man” screenplay, in addition to director Reed, star Paul Rudd, and Adam McKay.
“Ant-Man” was released in 2015 and has received two sequels, with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” premiering February 17.
Wright previously told Variety that he and Cornish wanted a standalone story similar to “Iron Man” for the first film as opposed to relying on the greater MCU.
“I wanted to make a Marvel movie but I don’t think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie,” Wright said. “I was the writer-director on it and then they wanted to do a draft without me, and having written all my other movies, that’s a tough thing to move forward thinking if I do one of these movies I would like to be the writer-director. Suddenly becoming a director-for-hire on it, you’re sort of less emotionally invested and you start to wonder why you’re there, really.”
Marvel head Kevin Feige told Empire (via Collider) in 2014 that it was “disappointing” to see Wright walk away. “It was amicable and we sat in a room together and said this isn’t working. I just wish I or he had figured that out somewhere in the eight years leading up to it,” Feige said at the time. “I wish it wasn’t as late in the day as it was, but it just had become clear that there was an impasse that we had never reached before. We’ve worked with lots of unbelievable talented filmmakers like Edgar before, and of course there are disagreements along the way. We had always found a way around it, a way to battle through it and emerge on the other side with a better product. It just became clear that both of us was just being too polite over the past eight years I guess! Then it was clear that, ‘Oh you’re really not gonna stop talking about that note?’ ‘Oh, you’re really not gonna do that note?’ Alright this isn’t working.”
Marvel most recently partnered with horror auteur Sam Raimi to helm “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” with Raimi revealing he at times butted heads with Feige to include particular scenes. The film was in part criticized for continuity errors with the MCU storyline set up in Disney+ series “WandaVision” around the arc of Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch character.
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