For many people, the reason they were excited to see Marvel Studios’ upcoming Ant-Man movie was because of director Edgar Wright; as such, when Wright made a surprise exit from the project after having overseen development on it for so many years, it took a fair amount of wind out of the film’s sails. Nonetheless, Ant-Man is still chugging along and will have a presence at next week’s International Comic-Con in San Diego – but before then, we have comments from Marvel Studios’ President of Production Kevin Feige, concerning Wright’s replacement, Peyton Reed.
Reed, as Feige pointed out during his recent interview with IGN, has a history with Marvel; in addition to having come very close to directing the Fantastic Four movie released by 20th Century Fox nearly a decade ago, Reed was also once a serious contender to direct Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel Studios, according to Feige. It’s certainly not an ideal situation, with Reed having to take over from Wright on Ant-Man in this manner, but Feige believes he is indeed the “right director” to keep this ship moving ahead.
As those who’ve been following the story know all too well, Reed wasn’t the only director approached to take charge on Ant-Man following Wright’s departure; at one point, Adam McKay (who is now a co-writer on the film) seemed to be closing in on a deal to direct, only for him to drop out in what seemed like a sudden manner, from afar. However, Feige indicated to IGN that he believes it all worked out for the best in the end, now that Reed is serving as the helmsman on Ant-Man.
“It was not a slam-dunk that he would just step into it and do it. He wanted to be sure that he was wasn’t just inheriting something or following someone else’s lead. Or wasn’t inheriting something that the evil studio had watered down to be something bad. I kept saying, ‘You can either read what’s online, or come in and talk to us and look at all this stuff.’ He looked at everything, he talked with us, and he said ‘Number one, I agree with the direction you’re going in. And number two, I can add to it.’ And he has – the movie is in as good a shape as it’s ever been right now.
“It’s still very much in the spirit of what Edgar’s original pitch was and the entire template of the movie is what Edgar set out and originally came and pitched us maybe eight years ago now. But it’s on its way to being the absolute best version of what that movie could have been.
“Peyton is really, really wonderful, and will be proving that soon enough. As I said to the Comic-Con audience a few years ago, ‘You might not have heard of [Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors] Joe and Antony Russo, but you’re going to be big fans of them soon.’ And I’d say the same thing about Peyton Reed now.”
It feels like a bit of a no-win situation for Reed; no matter how Ant-Man turns out, many fans will still compare it to the version that Wright might’ve delivered – either for better or worse - and in the process, diminish Reed’s positive contributions to the final result. Either way, the movie is unlikely to impact on Reed’s reputation as a director as the response to Captain America: The Winter Soldier did for the Russos’ standing.
At the same time, though, Feige assurance that Reed’s Ant-Man will be “in the spirit” of Wright’s origin pitch brings attention to something we’ve said in the past – even as more writers are recruited to tinker with the film’s script, there’s only so much they can do to change things, at this point. Reed’s not averse to the kind of cheeky humor that Wright usually prefers either (see: his work on The Weird Al Show, Bring It On, and Down with Love), so he may be all the less inclined to change Ant-Man‘s DNA that much from what Wright had in mind.
Basically, until we have fair reason to say otherwise, we’ll going to keep looking for that silver lining – and thus, have our fingers crossed that this Marvel superhero movie turns out to be a worthwhile addition to Marvel’s Shared Universe. Who knows, when all is said and done, it could well be that Reed will have indeed proven himself to have been the right person for this job after all.
Ant-Man remains scheduled to open in theaters on July 17th, 2015.