Edgar Wright, James Gunn and Joss Whedon Respond To ‘Ant-Man’ Departure

Published 11 months ago by , Updated June 7th, 2014 at 11:14 am,

Ant Man Movie Logo Fan Made Edgar Wright, James Gunn and Joss Whedon Respond To Ant Man Departure

We may never know all of the details behind last week’s shocking news that Edgar Wright has parted ways with Marvel Studios and is handing over his baby (Ant-Man) to someone else, but we do know it’s not a very happy scenario. Wright felt the need the step way from the project at the very last minute, after more than a decade of being involved, and it’s simply because he wasn’t allowed to make the movie he wanted to make.

The situation is odd given that the only reason the film was greenlit and slotted it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe was because of his unique vision and story, but the creatives at Marvel Studios want to also ensure it fits the MCU and plays into the bigger picture plans. Somewhere between Wright telling his own story and Marvel building towards The Avengers 3 and making Ant-Man as lucrative as possible, there was a gap too big to bridge and now the once-exciting idea of Wright crafting a big budget Marvel superhero movie is now dead.

But Ant-Man lives on! Much of the principal cast has already been selected and in Marvel’s official statement on the separation with Wright, they made it clear that Ant-Man is still scheduled to hit theaters shortly after The Avengers: Age of Ultron next summer. A new director will be announced soon.

Marvel and Edgar Wright jointly announced today that the studio and director have parted ways on Marvel’s “Ant-Man” due to differences in their vision of the film. The decision to move on is amicable and does not impact the release date on July 17, 2015. A new director will be announced shortly.

We spoke in detail how Marvel has a rough history with their directors, namely Patty Jenkins who parted ways with the studio in a similar fashion on Thor: The Dark World, and Jon Favreau who stepped away from the Iron Man franchise, citing that Marvel didn’t know what they wanted to do at the time. We can go on and on about what happened before, but what’s interesting at this very moment is how the other current Marvel Studios directors are reacting to Friday’s news.

Ant Man Needs A Director Edgar Wright, James Gunn and Joss Whedon Respond To Ant Man Departure

First, James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) took to Facebook Friday after the news to address fans questions and feedback to the news, comparing Wright and Marvel’s separation to a simple relationship between good people that didn’t quite make a good match.

Sometimes you have friends in a relationship. You love each of them dearly as individuals and think they’re amazing people. When they talk to you about their troubles, you do everything you can to support them, to keep them together, because if you love them both so much doesn’t it make sense they should love each other? But little by little you realize, at heart, they aren’t meant to be together – not because there’s anything wrong with either of them, but they just don’t have personalities that mesh in a comfortable way. They don’t make each other happy. Although it’s sad to see them split, when they do, you’re surprisingly relieved, and excited to see where their lives take them next.

It’s easy to try to make one party “right” and another party “wrong” when a breakup happens, but it often isn’t that simple. Or perhaps it’s even more simple than that – not everyone belongs in a relationship together. It doesn’t mean they’re not wonderful people.

And that’s true of both Edgar Wright and Marvel. One of them isn’t a person, but I think you get what I mean.

Then, on Saturday, Joss Whedon tweeted a selfie with him holding up a Cornetto ice cream cone as a salute to Wright (his original genre comedies are known as the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy).

Whedon, an overseer of Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, creator of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is currently shooting The Avengers sequel and him holding his head down in the image is telling.

Patrick Wilson, who’s been cast in an unspecified role in Ant-Man, retweeted Whedon’s photo, expressing his uncertainty on the future of the project.

And to round out the responses, Edgar Wright broke his silence last night for the first time since Marvel made the split official, tweeting an edited photo along with the message “selfie” which speaks volumes towards his feelings and thoughts on the situation. [Update: He deleted the tweet but below is the photo]

Edgar Wright Buster Keaton Selfie 570x727 Edgar Wright, James Gunn and Joss Whedon Respond To Ant Man Departure

As CBM points out, the edited photo is of actor Buster Keaton (featuring a Cornetto ice cream cone) who in 1928 made the self-described “worst mistake of [his] career” by leaving independent film to join MGM. Wright is essentially comparing this to joining Marvel, implying that forfeiting his creative freedom to join big studio Marvel could have been equally as bad for him. And so, back to more original works for Wright. Up for another Simon Pegg and Nick Frost comedy after The World’s End?

Can Marvel find a director with a unique and quirky style that will work for bringing Ant-Man to life on the big screen?

[Update: Ant-Man has a new director and writer. Find out who HERE!]


More: Marvel Plans Ahead All The Way To 2028


Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Patrick Wilson, Michael Peña, Corey Stoll and Matt Gerald.

Guardians of the Galaxy opens August 1, 2014The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America 3 on May 6 2016, and unannounced films for July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie and TV news!

Sources: Edgar Wright, James Gunn, Joss WhedonMarvel

Follow Rob Keyes on Twitter @rob_keyes
TAGS: Ant-man
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  1. Page book-marked for Science.

  2. My two cents…if these directors sign on to a shared universe of movies, then I assume they know that no movie will be their sole vision! Marvel has become the biggest movie franchise in the U.S. and 2nd in the world. I think Marvel knows what they’re doing. And Favreau e. produced and acted in Iron Man 3 and e. produced Avengers and will do the same for Age of Ultron so his departure seems amicable.

    • ^totally agree. Its a cinematic universe-things will require compromise from individual artists. I personally like the fact that Marvel is always willing to pivot instead of stopping or letting things fall apart.Thank you spidey-sense! Plus as a comic book & sci-fi fan, it makes me feel they care more about the actual consumers then the producers. I really hope co-writer of the ANT-MAN story and script Joe Cornish takes over as director. He created Attack the Block which is a balls to the wall sci-fi action awesome fest on film. Noticed that he didn’t make a press statement about leaving the project. Maybe the trouble stems more from a schism between writers?

  3. i dont care that wright is gone, its not like he has proven he can do a big budget movie….. now if someone tells me the russo brothers are not coming back then we got problems.

    • ^And that’s canon.

    • You’re right. The Russo brothers did an amazing job on Captain America: Winter Soldier.

  4. Makes no sense if Ant-Man was supposed to kick off phase 3 than, why not just make it a stand alone type of movie? Most of the movies that kicked off phase 1 and 2 were stand alones but referred to events in pass films. They could’ve kept Wright and just have a post credit scene that intertwined with the MCU or even easter eggs don’t get it Marvel needs to lighten up and just give us films I can careless if they’re not chronologically ordered to the MCU but I guess the Edgar Wright fans and Marvel fans hyped Ant-Man so I doubt Marvel gonna get momentum from this from the casual movie-goers.

    • Iron Man kick off phase 1, and I’ll agree pretty much all it contributes is the Nick Fury/Avengers stinger.

      Iron Man 3 kicks off phase 2 and probably ties more directly into Avengers 2 than is initially realized at this point.

      Ant-man kicks off phase 3 which means Marvel expects it do more to lead into what is happening in the MCU. Apparently this is more changes than Wright could work with. If Ant-man had come out during phase 1 or maybe phase 2 maybe they could have let it be more independent but at this point people are expecting those tie-ins.

      • I expect good movies, could care less about tie-ins. At this point I think most people understand that these movies are all connected.

        • Do you consider the Marvel movie good or bad in general?

          • I really enjoy Marvel movies. I think they are great entertainment.

            • Really because thats not how you sound.

              • Just because I do not agree with every decision Disney/Marvel makes does not mean I don’t enjoy their movies and am not a fan. But you are right I am not one of these commenters who thinks they can do no wrong. If that makes me, in your eyes, somehow against these movies I’m sorry you feel that way but that is not how it is.

                • I think that’s the difference between an admirer and a fan[atic]. Criticism and the the acknowledgement of faults often comes from a desire to see the things you like become better not just to deride and offend. A lot of the films I love have problems but the fact that I acknowledge them and still love the product says more about its strengths than claiming it to be faultless.

                  • Absolutely, but I think some can misconstrue concerns for bad mouthing a product. I think your comment is very honest and true as I do not want to offend any ones favorite characters or films as many commentors do here. Diseagreement is good and having a healthy dialogue is even better not just resorting to petty name calling and bashing certain movies/studios.

            • At this point then if you enjoy the Marvel movies then I think you expect that Marvel is going to put out a good Ant-man movie because that is what their track record is.

              Is it concerning that Edgar Wright has left the project yes. Is it disappointing – yes, especially if you’re an Edgar Wright fan. In the end though Marvel hasn’t given me any reason to expect they won’t put out a good movie and if that means Wright has to go well so be it.

              Till proven otherwise I think can still expect a good movie that is also going to do what it needs to set up more good movies.

              • Agreed.

  5. I don’t like any of the Marvel movies. They spend the whole movie setting up other s***** Marvel movies instead of trying to tell a decent story.People will look back at these movies in five years and see them for the garbage they are.
    I will never support these s***** movies by paying for a ticket in fact I feel ripped off wasting my downloads getting them off pirate bay. Stop suporting s*** movies people the power is in your hands.

    • Apparently we are watching different movies. Cheers though.

    • “They spend the whole movie setting up other s***** Marvel movies instead of trying to tell a decent story.”

      Partially agree with you. Not necessarily s*****, but they’re bit lacking in story department.

      “People will look back at these movies in five years and see them for the garbage they are.”

      Five years or not, people’s perception definitely going to change, whether they will see it as garbage or not, time will tell. (unless you’re a time-traveler who tried to tell us a story from the future…)

      “I will never support these s***** movies by paying for a ticket in fact I feel ripped off wasting my downloads getting them off pirate bay.”

      Then save yourself from downloading them and download another movie that’s more your cup of tea. Easy peasy, and you will save yourself wasting time, energy, and resources for something unnecessary…

      “Stop suporting s*** movies people the power is in your hands.”

      I think definition of s*** movies are relatives. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. And you sounds like someone who’s just came from anti-government demonstration…

    • Fail troll is fail.

  6. The beauty of the cinematic experience is that there is pretty much something for everyone – which fortunately for me is a good thing as I like to have variety. I do like to escape from reality once in a while and so I’ll watch something like Avengers or Man of Steel and enjoy both for what they are. But I don’t want to invest all my time and money in following an expensive ‘TV’ series at the cinema. The main issue for me here is that if I miss one of the ‘tied in’ episodes of Iron Man or Thor then I could miss something important that has an effect on another film. Am I going to bother watching the whole series? Probably not. My other concern is that is there a conclusion to this storytelling or do we keep getting another and another and another superhero to keep drawing the whole good versus evil thing. Sorry but I can only take so much. My fears are similar for the Star Wars franchise.

  7. I love all the opposing and fervent points of view here. I’m disappointed that Wright walked away from this film, but an artist must stick to his guns if he has a particular vision. And I do agree that Marvel does ultimately own this property, so they are entitled to do whatever the damn hell they want to do with it, whether it be good, bad, better, or worse. I will straddle the fence and say that they have produced some good films and have also produced some forgettable ones.

    I agree with the people that have stated that what drew them to this film was that it was Edgar Wright’s vision. And if you have seen any of the concept art, then you will see that the concept is nothing like anything else ever put out by Marvel. Imagine taking the Hulk or the Avengers and shrinking it down, down, down…that is sort of what Wright’s vision was. For the most part, I assume Marvel will keep most of the screenplay and stick to that vision (with a bit more “shared Universe” bits, maybe tie Ant-Man into what will happen in Avengers Age of Ultron or somehow set-up Ant-Man to join Avengers in the third film).

    What I liked about Wright’s vision and this character was that it’s not a superhero that has to get bigger (or invent a suit of armor) to take down the bad guy. He has to get smaller. And this small-guy superhero protagonist is just right up Wright’s alley, as evidenced in all of his films. That IS WHY Wright was passionate about this project (probably) and why you can’t just hire any director to fill his shoes. Wright is like Wolverine. He’s not the best comic movie director there ever was, but he is the best there is at what he does…and what he does isn’t very nice (to some film-goers)!

  8. I never understand why it was cool to work under someone who tells you what to do – also in film.

    Do your own thing!

    That’s why real filmmakers and directors should be independent and not just hired film corporation bots.

    Those big film corporations have monopoly on what is seen for too long and the public should stop acting like sheep.

    • You’re commenting on a movie from the wrong company if you’re looking for people who don’t act like sheep.

      Baaaa…. Make mine marvel…. Baaaaaa

      • People seem to quickly forget that up until the Disney buyout,which acquired the larger Marvel parent company,Marvel Studios was really an independent film company. They had a sole vision- to passionately reproduce stories from a point of view they cared about. That point of view would be that comic book movies should try to stick to the source material as much as they can because it matters. At the age of four I wanted to learn to read.write,and draw immediately after I was given a Marvel comic. I still have that same comic. So despite the never ending stories that don’t easily transfer to film ppl TRY to make a good Marvel movie because it really matters. Who knows, all of this could be inspiring 4 yr olds to read,write,draw,and film right now. #makeminemarvel

  9. Marvel Studios can SUCK IT. I’ll not be seeing this now, since I know it won’t be anything close to being the movie I was(past tense) excited for. Good for EW for standing up to an exceedingly greedy and foolish studio.

    • you ARE a girl Michael

    • In other words you are fan of Edgar Wright and was only interested cause he was making the movie and not because of the actual character or genre. Fair enough, but don’t blame Marvel if they have a different point of view where they want to include in their movie things he wasn’t able to make work.

      You should be happy as now Mr. Wright can go back to making the movies you enjoy instead of something you have no larger interest in.

  10. good gridence, a over hyped s*** director taking on a pivotal 3rd string charater, with a new take that flys in the face of comic continuity. its honey I shrunk the kids and a super hero movie. hopeful they will rework the script.

  11. After what Patrick Wilson said I’m worried that even if the movie is brilliant the actors won’t return for a second one (I dislike recasting, especially when what we’ve got now seems good). If they were in this because of Wright will they want to stay on? I don’t think they’re locked into sequel contracts yet, although I could be wrong, so it seems that that could happen even if they can’t quit the first movie, and although this might not matter for the ones with minor roles I’m pretty sure Rudd is in it because of Wright while Douglas praised the script which may now have been diluted. I just hope something good will arise in the end.

  12. Are Marvel getting to the point that they are doing Movie’s by committee now? That’s good for this whole shard universe thing but really bad for any director with a creative vision that in any way falls outside that doctrine. Would the original Iron Man have been made to the standard it was under these terms. No I don’t think it would have been…. Shame on you Marvel – Men in Suits.

    • It’s nothing new. Having a shared universe kind of demands that the movies are not too drastically different. I actually like the first Hulk movie, but the whole look of it doesn’t fit with any of the movies.

      So I’ve expressed this same worry from the beginning. However, I think that Marvel is actually loosening up a little. CAWS was different, and they are trying GotG. IM3 had a different style.

      The original IM didn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to movies. It was fairly straightforward but well done. Faverau did let Robert Altman’s style influence his, and you can see it a bit. But that is a far cry from doing a conventional action movie in the style of Robert Altman.

  13. I was looking forward to Wrights take, but really I don’t think the style of any of his movies could fit with Marvel’s shared universe. What I saw was a lot of creativity and I was hoping to see it channeled into a big budget production.

    • Now that I’ve read a bit more it sounds like EW left because of too many script changes, and it wasn’t because of style. Supposedly Wright was trying to go along with changes and adapt, but it became too much. Apparently Feige was backing him up but the changes were from “higher up.” Doesn’t put Marvel in the best light.

      • After reading a timeline of the Ant-man project my guess at what happened is this. 8 years a go Wright and Marvel sat down and Wright explained his vision for Ant-man and Marvel explained their vision for the MCU. Although Wright wanted Ant-man to be independent the probable compromises to tie it into the MCU (probably a stinger, maybe a reference) were acceptable. Then 8 years passed without an Ant-man movie being released (not sure who is more responsible for the delay but I think it was more Wright) and the MCU has turned into a huge success and Marvel has a better idea of what they believe they need to do to continue that success and now what were minor compromises are now more major to tie it into the MCU and here we are.

        I am also beginning to suspect that it is crunch time for Marvel because Ant-man is tied into the MCU and suppose to kick off phase 3. They don’t have a script that works for both parties. They can’t delay because that affects other projects and hence here we are.

        Perhaps if he got it out faster then well he would have gotten his vision out.

        • I think the delay was due to Marvel simply not prioritizing the project. And keep in mind that Wright quit. Marvel didn’t fire him. I know a lot has changed in eight years, but I can’t believe that Marvel and Wright weren’t fully aware of how Wright’s original script would have to change story-wise. It really has to be something more than simply making sure it fits in the overall continuity. Could be they were forcing a major part for Black Widow, or Hawkeye. Or Marvel wanted a stronger morality message too. We’ll find out more in the future, probably long after the movie is out.

  14. Kind of amazing a movie about Ant-Man can illicit over 100 comments. Granted, the number doesn’t compare to the “controversy” surrounding Ben Affleck’s Batman suit or the title of the Batman v. Superman movie, but for anyone saying this will fail I would humbly disagree. The blogosphere recognizes Ant-Man as a property and soon enough the general public will too.

    • elicit*

  15. Can’t say I really trust the studio on this. This is the same studio that didn’t think RDJ could be a good Iron Man had Jon Favreau not lobbied hard for them to consider him, and the same one that turned IM2 into an Avengers commercial.

    Not that it really matters. I’m sure in a week most people will have forgotten this and moved on, if they haven’t already.

  16. Hard decisions have to be made sometimes. There is a larger Marvel universe plan and aspects of ANTMAN have to fit. If Feige has an issue with Wright’s vision, then it’s his job to drop the hammer down if any director strays too far from the Avengers subplot. With AGENT CARTER in the pipe, ANTMAN could have major connections to Peggy Carter and Howard Stark in the post-war era, they may have even met Hank Pym.

    I was looking forward to Egdar Wright’s style with ANTMAN, but my priority is a good film that does the character justice, a true exploration of the microverse in the marvelverse.

    • Didn’t Marvel approach Wright first, which led Wright to give Marvel his screenplay 9 long years ago? What happened was all about power, Marvel has it and Wright doesn’t.

      I believe you are right – Marvel most likely wants to tie in Peggy Carter, and AoU to Wrights script and Wright refused to do so. Marvel wants to gross billions tying into the Avengers and Wright must have refused. As a movie fan i’d like to have seen Wright’s version; but, I understand Disney has shareholders that want profits maximized.

      What irks me is the fact that Marvel could have just added their tie-ins in post production after Wright had completed filming, like they do with a number of post credit scenes.

      • Actually Wright approached Marvel (specifically Feige and Avi Arad at Comic-Con….and to be fair it sounds not so much like one approached the other but more a lunch conversation of “hey we have this idea” and “hey I have this idea” lets do them together) and had been trying to get Ant-man off the ground since before Marvel Studios and existed or had the movie rights (they had been sold to Artisan Entertainment).

        It really depends on what tie-ins we are talking about. Yes, the phase one movies except for Captain America are mostly tied together by the post credits but the phase 2 movies have been more directly forwarding the larger plots.

        Iron Man 3 probably sets up the creation of Ultron in Avengers 2. Thor 2 introduced the concept of and another of the Infinity Gems which probably pays off in Avengers 3. Captain America 2 brought Hydra back to the foreground which paid off immediately in Agents of Shield and will be continued in Avengers 2. Guadians of the Galaxy will probably set off events that brings Thanos to Earth for Avengers 3.

        My guess is that 8 years ago the plan was to release an Ant-man movie with minor ties to the MCU similar to what was in the phase 1 movies. For what ever reason that didn’t happen (not that EW wasn’t making movies, just not Ant-man). 8 years passed, the MCU has evolved and now requires greater ties from its movies. Ant-man is slotted to kick-off phase 3 which probably is the culmination of everything they have been building to since phase 1. It has a release date that is in little more than year yet doesn’t have a script that satisfies both parties. Delaying would affect other projects.

        While I am sure profits are large motivator that lead to this, there is a larger vision involved here that has to be considered. Perhaps if Edgar Wright had gotten the movie out sooner, well he would have gotten his vision out.

  17. “Big to ME anyway.”

    Perhaps because he is playing young Hank Pym: the original Ant Man….?

  18. Three Flavours Cornetto…

    The first scoop tastes awesome, the second tastes decent, and the last tastes like isht.