With the 2014 Comic-Con in full swing, major reveals for damn near every geek property under the sun will arrive throughout the weekend. Marvel Studios' panel, which arrives this Saturday, is sure to be a centerpiece of the convention, expanding on the surprise addition to the studio's 2018 releases.
Marvel's long game is one of the most fascinating and intriguing aspects of their Cinematic Universe strategy - and with the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy already receiving positive reviews, the stage is clearly set for some of Marvel's more out-there properties, such as Ant-Man. However, the upcoming intriguing-on-paper chronicle of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has been beset by its share of troubling publicity.
The project first lost original director Edgar Wright, who was then replaced by Peyton Reed, with perceived ongoing script difficulties and the open disdain of star Michael Douglas not helping the situation. Now, in the midst of the year's biggest pop-culture exposition, Deadline reports that The Conjuring star Patrick Wilson has left Ant-Man.
Two other Ant-Man actors have left the production alongside Wilson: Kevin Weisman (Awake) and Matt Gerald (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) have also departed, reportedly over the fact that their characters have been cut out of more recent versions of the script. As for Wilson, "a scheduling conflict" is said to have led to his departure, due to the delay in the film's production.
Despite a strong early look at the movie's promotional material and co-star Corey Stoll (The Strain) keeping a positive spin on the current state of the screenplay, Wilson's presence will be difficult to replicate. We didn't know who he was playing, but given his charismatic persona and willingness to tread into dark territory (Watchmen, Insidious), the odds on his portraying an Ant-Man villain were pretty good.
With Marvel's big panel just around the corner (and the rumor that Joaquin Phoenix is in talk to play Doctor Strange taking center stage on the interwebs for the moment), expect Wilson's departure to be either downplayed or completely brushed aside this weekend. Still, how will this affect Ant-Man's already-delayed production schedule? Will it still make the Summer 2015 release date? We may know more after this weekend.
Ant-Man is still scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on July 17, 2015.