The journey of Marvel Studios' Ant-Man movie from initial concept to finished product has been quite the roller coaster ride. It started way back in 2006 - two years before Iron Man launched the most dominant movie franchise of the 21st century - as Shaun Of The Dead director Edgar Wright announced that he had signed on to helm a movie version of the insect-sized superhero for the then-fledgling Marvel Studios.
As the years progressed, Ant-Man kept getting pushed to the back burner as the Marvel Cinematic Universe grew and Wright turned his attention to other projects. Finally, Ant-Man got the green light from Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige in 2012, but as we all know, things fell apart right as principal photography was about to commence in May 2014. Wright then walked away from the film, citing "creative differences."
Fans looking forward to Wright's trademark kinetic visual storytelling and razor-sharp humor on Ant-Man were left scratching their heads in disbelief, wondering what could have caused the rift between the creative British director and Kevin Feige. Perhaps the biggest question now that Adam McKay and Paul Rudd rewrote the script for new director Peyton Reed is just what exactly was in Wright's version that Marvel felt didn't work? Well, one very powerful Marvel Studios power player has read the script, and he seems just as confused as everyone.
Joss Whedon, just days away from the release of his own Marvel Studios Phase Two epic, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, spoke to Buzz Feed about his swan song for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and briefly discussed his disappointment regarding Marvel parting ways with Wright and jettisoning his script:
“I thought the script was not only the best script that Marvel had ever had, but the most Marvel script I’d read. I had no interest in 'Ant-Man.' [Then] I read the script, and was like, 'Of course! This is so good!' It reminded me of the books when I read them. Irreverent and funny and could make what was small large, and vice versa. I don’t know where things went wrong. But I was very sad. Because I thought, 'This is a no-brainer. This is Marvel getting it exactly right.' Whatever dissonance that came, whatever it was, I don’t understand why it was bigger than a marriage that seemed so right. But I’m not going to say it was definitely all Marvel, or Edgar’s gone mad! I felt like they would complement each other by the ways that they were different. And, uh, somethin’ happened.”
Whedon's frank comments on the Wright/Ant-Man situation probably won't have much negative impact on Ant-Man's perception or box-office take, but they do serve as a painful reminder for Wright's fans of what could have been. While we may never know what exactly led to the split, we do know that Feige and the Marvel brass may have felt the film's action sequences weren't up to level of their current output, so part of Adam McKay and Paul Rudd's mission was to write in "bigger, more aggressive" action setpieces.
It's also important to consider that, in the extended period of time Ant-Man spent gestating, the Marvel Cinematic Universe expanded and morphed into an integrated, cohesive world, and Wright's stylistic, irreverent concepts may have no longer functioned within Marvel's vision. Additionally, there may have been some pushback from Wright regarding a past continuity-establishing scene loaded with cameos from other Marvel Cinematic Universe characters.
While it is disappointing that the world will never get to experience Edgar Wright's vision for Ant-Man, hopes are still high both at Marvel and in the geek community that the Phase Two capper will deliver the zippy superhero thrills and humor inherent to the diminutive character. Signing director Petyon Reed was a smart choice by Marvel, due to his longtime love of Marvel comics (he nearly directed a 1960s-set Fantastic Four film for Fox before Tim Story got the gig, pitching it as "'A Hard Day's Night' with superheroes"), as well as his knack for imbuing his films with a level of clever humor. Marvel also nabbed lovable funnyman Paul Rudd to play Scott Lang/Ant-Man, and a host of stellar actors to round out the cast like Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, and Corey Stoll.
Though the marketing campaign got off to a sluggish start with a mediocre first teaser, it pulled off a clever first poster design, featuring a tiny Ant-Man on an all-white poster and a giant "Ant-Man" logo. There's also a very amusing billboard campaign currently drawing chuckles in Australia as Marvel - seeking to capture the "actual ants demographic" - have installed tiny Ant-Man billboards on top of mailboxes and next to park benches:
The latest trailer also gives audiences a much better idea of how Ant-Man's powers work, demonstrates how threatening and badass Corey Stoll's Yellowjacket suit is, lays out the heist film scenario clearly, and shows off some very exciting and laugh-out-loud action sequences - like the epic confrontation between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket on...a Thomas The Tank Engine toy set!
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28, 2017, Black Panther on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4 2018, Captain Marvel on July 6 2018, Inhumans on November 2 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3 2019.
Source: Buzz Feed