In one of this year's biggest and most shocking celebrity breakups (sorry, Olivia Munn and Joel Kinnaman, you've been upstaged), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World director Edgar Wright departed Marvel Studios' Ant-Man after eight years in development. The split left many fans who had been eagerly awaiting the movie understandably confused, since Wright's talent for mixing action with humor seemed like a perfect fit for the Marvel family.
Ant-Man is now back in track with Peyton Reed (Yes Man) signed on as the new director, but in the absence of precise details regarding Wright's departure there has been a flurry of speculation as to what went wrong, particularly in light of the fact that Wright isn't the first director to depart from a Marvel project. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has insisted that neither party is right or wrong and that the reality of the situation was that "not everyone belongs in a relationship together. It doesn't mean they’re not wonderful people." That hasn't stopped fans from theorizing, however, that Marvel was too rigid and controlling within the relationship and ended up driving Wright away.
In a recent discussion about what Reed will bring to the table in the revamped version of Ant-Man, Marvel president Kevin Feige made reference to the public perception of Marvel as an "evil studio" that wanted to water down Wright's creative vision. The Guardian reports that Feige touched upon the subject again at a recent screening of footage from Guardians of the Galaxy, and insisted that the breakup really was for the best.
"We sat round a table and we realised it was not working. A part of me wishes we could have figured that out in the eight years we were working on it. But better for us and for Edgar that we figure it out then, and not move it through production.
"We said let's do this together and put out a statement. What do we say? 'Creative differences'. I said: 'That's what they always say and no-one ever believes it.' Edgar said: 'But in this case it's true … '"
"The biggest disappointment for me is just the relationship, because I like Edgar very, very much and we were very close for many many years."
It's easy to throw around blame from an outsider perspective, but without seeing a copy of the various script drafts or sitting in on meetings between Wright and the producers at Marvel, it's impossible to say for certain whether his vision of the film would have been a great and fitting addition to the Marvel universe, or whether the creative struggles would have turned it into a total disaster. Feige said that a significant problem was the fact that "Marvel movies are very collaborative, and I think they are more collaborative than what [Wright] had been used to." He then clarified that this didn't necessarily mean that Wright's ideas were rejected for not being "safe" enough.
"The notion that Marvel was scared, the vision was too good, too far out for Marvel is not true. And I don't want to talk too much about that because I think our movies speak to that. Go look at Iron Man 3; go look at The Winter Soldier; go see Guardians of the Galaxy later this month. It would have to be really out there to be too out there for us... The perception that the big evil studio was too scared at the outside-the-box creative vision is just not the case."
Feige is right in saying that Guardians of the Galaxy - which features a talking space raccoon and an eight-foot tall sentient tree voiced by Vin Diesel - doesn't really fit well with the narrative of Marvel refusing to give a green light to anything too weird or risky. Wright's departure does seem to to have deflated some of the fan anticipation for Ant-Man, but Feige insisted that recent redrafts have left the movie's script "in the best shape it's ever been," just in time for the production start date of August 18th.
For more of Kevin Feige's thoughts and feelings on the breakup with Edgar Wright, be sure to check out his new album, "Edgar".
Ant-Man is scheduled for release on July 17th, 2015.
Source: The Guardian