Despite the fan disappointment following director Edgar Wright's departure from Ant-Man, it's difficult to mourn his vision of the movie when audiences were never completely clear on what it was, or the extent to which the script rewrites changed it. Once described as a "heist movie," it seems like the core of Wright's film is still intact, with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) handing over the Ant-Man mantle to criminal Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). But the question remains: what were the insurmountable creative differences that forced Wright and Marvel to part ways?
It's likely that those involved will open up a bit more after Ant-Man is released next summer, but until then casting talk and rumors will have to do. For instance: the recent signs pointing to a first act set in the past with appearances by S.H.I.E.L.D. founding members Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper).
An official synopsis for Ant-Man was originally released when the film began shooting earlier this year, and a newly released version of the synopsis is identical word-for-word - save for two notable changes. Do they mean anything? Here's the latest synopsis:
The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man.” Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
The first of the changes is the emphasis upon Hank Pym's status as a "founding member" of the Avengers, which he was in the comics, but is not in the movies - at least, as far as we know. S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Avenger Initiative had already been scrapped once before it was eventually implemented to fight Loki in The Avengers, but since S.H.I.E.L.D. was aware of humans with special skills since before its inception it's possible that a version of the Avenger Initiative was around decades before the modern Avengers were assembled (or Marvel is simply hoping to give the character a boost by adding some comic book cred).
Also of note is the fact that Scott Lang's occupation has been changed from "con-man" to "master thief" - two professions that are related but nonetheless distinct. Does this mean that Wright's version of the story saw Lang as small-time, and Peyton Reed's is grander in scale? Is he a combination of con-man and master thief? Or is he simply a straight-up thief, as befits his origin story in the comics?
At the risk of being harsh, Scott Lang didn't look like a master of anything in the first official Ant-Man still that was released, which showed the second Ant-Man looking beat-up, unshaven and down on his luck. He was, however, wearing the kind of black gloves that could come in handy for a bit of burglary - or even a heist that will save the world. Only time will tell.
Ant-Man arrives in theaters on July 17th, 2015.