It was rumored that Edgar Wright hopped out of the director's chair for Marvel's Ant-Man over script rewrites and changes, but we now have confirmation that the rumors were true.
The Hollywood Reporter is stating that Marvel had been unhappy with Wright's interpretation of the character and with his direction for weeks prior the departure. What they have quickly discovered is by driving Wright away they have also lost quite a few key crew members who also departed after learning that filming would most likely not start on time. Marvel is currently scrambling to find another director and to fill crew positions to replace the people who left.
Filming was originally slated to begin on June 2nd and Wright had already gone through rather extensive rewrites of the script, but Marvel president Kevin Feige still wasn't happy. He had ordered even more revisions and rewrites of the script behind Wright's back. When Wright received the newly revised script last week he apparently walked on the spot. Marvel's way of cleaning it up was to say they didn't agree on the vision of the film.
This is still a bit shocking to me and to a lot of other people. Edgar Wright has been working with Marvel on this project for 7 years. Feige even credited Wright on the film even being considered saying that they believed in Wright's vision and the film was because of him.
However, this seems to be a trend with the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever since The Avengers was released. More independently thinking and visionary directors have already chosen not to return for Marvel sequels due to the concept of "Marvelizing" all of the Phase Two films. Kenneth Branagh did a rather fantastic job directing Thor, but he chose not to return to direct Thor: The Dark World because of clashes with the studio. Patty Jenkins had been hired to direct Thor: The Dark World but was subsequently fired due to disagreements with the studio. Joe Johnston also chose not to return for Captain America: The Winter Soldier after clashing with the studio over his vision of Captain America. The newest casualty, aside from Wright, is Drew Goddard who left the upcoming Daredevil series over creative differences.
The issues aren't exclusive to directors, either. Edward Norton came to a standstill with Marvel over The Incredible Hulk and was later replaced by Mark Ruffalo. Terrance Howard was also replaced by Don Cheadle after just one Iron Man film due to differences with the studio. Josh Dallas also left after Thor and was replaced by Zachary Levi.
Basically, sources are claiming that when it comes to Ant-Man that Wright turned out to be a bit too quirky for the vision that Feige and the other Marvel "powers that be" have in mind. They feel that they have taken enough risk with James Gunn and Guardians of the Galaxy and didn't want two bombs in one year if people find Gunn's film too weird. Hell, I went to see X-Men: Days of Future Past and when I got a trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy my dad looked at me with a very confused look on his face. Gunn has already expressed some sympathy for Wright but in the end stated that they, "just don't have personalities that mesh in a comfortable way."
At this point it does seem that Marvel wants to find filmmakers and actors that will just ride the gravy train that The Avengers gave the studio. Not to mention that Marvel is now owned by Disney and they are in the habit of milking things to the last penny no matter how many good people are thrown in the trash. If you express too much vision or independent thought about these characters, you can expect to lose your job. It's just the way it is now.
The question now is whether Ant-Man will be released on time. If they can't find a director soon there is word that some of the actors might have to walk due to other scheduling restrictions. Marvel is insisting that Ant-Man will be completed in time to meet the July 17, 2015 release date but at this point... don't hold your breath too tight. I still think this is one of the worst decisions Feige has made so far. It's even worse than the reveal of The Mandarin in Iron Man 3.
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