The musical chairs fiasco that resulted from Edgar Wright departing Marvel’s Ant-Man is very well documented. What isn’t is just why Wright actually split. Sure we know the official version that his vision of the character – which he had begun working on back in 2006 before their even was a “Marvel Cinematic Universe” – just didn’t gel with what Marvel was doing, and rather than compromise his ideas he walked away, but we never knew the specifics.
The prevailing theory has always been that Wright wanted to make his movie a lot more edgy, whereas Marvel (and more specifically, their paymasters, Disney) wanted something a bit more family friendly. But according to what replacement director/co-writer Peyton Reed and actress Evangeline Lilly have said in the latest issue of Empire Magazine (via CBM), that may not be the case at all.
First, here’s what Reed had to say about the awkwardness of taking over from Wright after Marvel’s frantic search for a replacement, and how he had to make the movie his own:
“Was it a strange situation? Absolutely. One of my concerns upfront was, ‘Someone else has developed this movie for a really long time. Can I come in and make it my own?’ And that has absolutely been the case. For one thing Marvel have let me explore the dark side of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), this tortured, guilt-ridden guy. I love that this is a mentor/pupil story, but with a [frick]ed up pupil and a really [frick]ed up mentor. [Edgar Wright and I both] acknowledged the general weirdness of the situation. It’s all very odd, but it’s been really nice to communicate with him.”
Wait a minute… Wasn’t Wright’s version – which reportedly did not gloss over the criminal past of star/co-writer Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang, as well as the sometimes asshlole-ishness of Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym – supposed to be the darker take? That definitely doesn’t appear to be the case here, especially listening to Lilly, who describes her character of Janet Van Dyne as “kind of a bitch…a very bad woman on a journey towards becoming a decent person”.
“I met with Paul [Rudd] in a little restaurant in New York City, and he talked me through how the movie was changing. I think the most defining difference between the two scripts was that Edgar’s didn’t take itself as seriously. It was fun and silly and brilliant irreverent – a romp from beginning to end, in classic English fashion. Whereas where we’ve gotten to is so much more American. There’s tons of levity, but just as much emotion.”
So basically, Wright would have given us Kingsman with more shrinking superheroes and less anal sex and Colin Firth massacring people? Damn, I really want to see that movie now. That being said, I’m now even more intrigued by Reed and co’s version though. If they pull a a Guardians of the Galaxy and nail the balance of emotion and comedy just right, it could not only be a good movie, but also end up with people taking Ant-Man a bit more seriously. Go to far into the dark side though, and we may just end up with a po-faced overly self-serious misfire that could be Marvel’s first real failure.
Whatever the case may be, at least we may get to see some other Avengers also dropping by. When Empire asked Reed about Anthony Mackie’s Falcon perhaps popping in along with other heroes, the director played a bit coy, but didn’t want to give an outright denial.
“That’s classified information. That’s buried. It’s possible.“
We’ll have to wait until the movie’s release on July 17, 2015 to confirm just who shows up, but until that time we can at least tide ourselves over with some new pics taken from Empire Magazine.
Ant-Man also stars orey Stoll, Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Pena, John Slattery, and Hayley Atwell. Here’s the full 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.
Last Updated: May 26, 2015