On Friday we abruptly learned Edgar Wright was no longer attached to Marvel's Ant-Man and Marvel has apparently already found a replacement, though that replacement has not yet been announced. A day later it was announced Drew Goddard would no longer serve as showrunner for Marvel's Netflix series "Daredevil", which came as less of a surprise considering Goddard is also attached to The Sinister Six at Sony and possibly the timing just wasn't going to work out as he'll remain on board as some sort of consultant.
However, the Goddard information first came to light as Latino Review was doing some digging into the Edgar Wright scenario only to learn of what may have been the straw that broke the camel's back and sent Wright packing.
Wright, who's been attached to the Ant-Man film since about 2006 and officially on board the project since about 2012, co-wrote the script with Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) and apparently, about three months ago, Marvel had some more notes for said script, the meat of which dealt with the "core morality of the piece, must include franchise characters. etc."
According to Latino Review these notes came from "the big four at Marvel" and it appears most believe Marvel co-president Kevin Feige isn't among those pulling at these strings. This leaves fellow co-president Louis D'Esposito, COO Tim Conners, and marketing officer Douglas Finberg. Of course, the fourth in that chain of command could be Walt Disney Studios chairman, Alan Horn, if Feige truly was pulling for Wright.
So, back to the drawing board went Wright and Cornish and after two more drafts Marvel reportedly took it out of their hands and assigned the script to "two very low credit writers". Latino Review reports the script came in this past week and is described as "[p]oorer, homogenized, and not Edgar's vision. Edgar met with Marvel on Friday to formally exit and the announcement went out directly after."
The site reports both Wright and Cornish were upset by the sudden lack of faith and insists Kevin Feige "had always batted for them" and "this felt like it came from the higher ups."
Now, the questions I have are to wonder just who exactly Marvel has hired to direct. I think we all remember Patty Jenkins being unceremoniously ousted from the director's chair on Thor: The Dark World. Interesting enough, the reason Wright was bounced was "due to differences in their vision of the film". Sounds a little familiar when you read this excerpt from the Hollywood Reporter article announcing Jenkins' departure:
Jenkins was so explicit about her vision for the film that she didn't expect to be hired in the first place. The source speculates that Marvel executives might have been won over initially by [Natalie Portman's] enthusiasm for Jenkins but then, "when they started to interview writers for the rewrite... may have decided they really weren't comfortable."
Interesting, I think we were all surprised Wright was ever hired for Ant-Man as well and, like Jenkins, he made his exit.
Then we come to Alan Taylor who replaced Jenkins and has been vocal about his battles with the studio from the amount of exposition at the beginning of the film to the end credits sequence directed by James Gunn in preparation for the release of Guardians of the Galaxy.
Speaking of Gunn, he issued a response to the Wright departure posting the following on Facebook:
Sometimes you have friends in a relationship. You love each of them dearly as individuals and think they're amazing people. When they talk to you about their troubles, you do everything you can to support them, to keep them together, because if you love them both so much doesn't it make sense they should love each other?
But little by little you realize, at heart, they aren't meant to be together - not because there's anything wrong with either of them, but they just don't have personalities that mesh in a comfortable way. They don't make each other happy. Although it's sad to see them split, when they do, you're surprisingly relieved, and excited to see where their lives take them next.
It's easy to try to make one party "right" and another party "wrong" when a breakup happens, but it often isn't that simple. Or perhaps it's even more simple than that - not everyone belongs in a relationship together. It doesn't mean they're not wonderful people.
And that's true of both Edgar Wright and Marvel. One of them isn't a person, but I think you get what I mean.
And by now I think we've all seen Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon's show of support for Wright on Twitter with the following post, which Wright himself retweeted:
— Joss Whedon (@josswhedon) May 24, 2014
So who will step in? And just as importantly, what script will they be working from?
Based on the Latino Review report it sounds like it is nowhere near finished and yet the current plan is to stick with that July 17, 2015 release date.
Also interesting, from how I understand it, the cast, which includes Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Patrick Wilson and Corey Stoll, is locked in so they'll be part of this one way or another. Though, I have to assume that is dictated on whether or not the film maintains its current path to production, otherwise contracts, I would assume can easily be broken.
I have to assume Marvel will want to get out ahead of any more information leaking out, so we may hear more very soon. Then again, they seemed to show a lack of support for this project for a very long time before seeing Wright's pitch reel, could they possibly scrap it altogether?