Peyton Reed joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a tricky position. He had to replace Edgar Wright as the director of Ant-Man just a few short weeks before filming, and he inherited a script and cast that were already in place. Still, Reed managed to squeeze in his own flair and ideas thanks to his passion and knowledge of the Ant-Man character and Marvel Comics.
And he did a commendable job. Ant-Man scored favorably among critics and thanks to its theatrical release in China last week where it's outpacing Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man's worldwide haul is closing in on the half-billion mark and has already surpassed the totals of the first Captain America and Thor movies. It's no surprise that a sequel is on the way titled Ant-Man and the Wasp and even less than a surprise that Peyton Reed should be back to direct.
Announced just two weeks ago for release in 2018 alongside three unannounced mystery movies for 2020, Ant-Man and the Wasp is the first Marvel Studios feature film to headline a superheroine, and will see the return of stars Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly - the latter of whom finally gets to suit up and fight the good fight presumably before joining The Avengers roster. And directing that evolution of the character will be Peyton Reed who's according to THR in final negotiations to helm the followup.
It's Reed who not only understands the characters and helped introduce them, but he also helped design the signature shooting style unique the the size-shifting powers of the Ant-Man protagonists. From chatting with Reed days before Ant-Man opened in theaters in July, he even spoke with Captain America: Civil War directors Anthony and Joe Russo about how to use that technique for Ant-Man's next appearance and kept up with some of the dailies from that production which kicks off Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe next summer.
What makes this announcement especially exciting is that Reed proved himself with a problematic production at the last minute. Being a part of Ant-Man 2 from the very beginning, and working with now-established heroes, gives him the proper time in the sandbox to really explore something hopefully special from beginning to end.
There's no word on who will write the sequel but the credits on Ant-Man 1 went to original screenwriters Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, and re-writers Adam McKay and star Paul Rudd. With Marvel now locking down Reed for Ant-Man and the Wasp and recently bringing in Taika Waititi for Thor: Ragnarok, that leaves only February 2018's Black Panther movie which needs a director, although rumor has it Creed director Ryan Coogler is a top contender. Marvel Studios is otherwise set up until 2019's Captain Marvel which already has a script in the works from Meg LeFauve and Nicole Perlman but sits without a director.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange - November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017; Spider-Man - July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok - November 3, 2017; Black Panther - February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp - July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel - March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.