Veteran Hollywood sleuths Kim Masters and Borys Kit poked around the story of Marvel and directors Edgar Wright parting ways on Ant-Man—despite Wright having worked on the idea for eight years—
and back up reports of Marvel’s one-size-fits-all approach:
“Kevin Feige [and his top lieutenants] run Marvel with a singularity of vision, but when you take a true auteur and throw him into the mix, this is what you get,” says a source. “They don’t want you to speak up too much or have too much vision. People who have never worked there don’t understand how they operate, but if you trust them, they have an amazing track record.”
Ant-Man’s tone might have been too quirky for the Marvel universe. Insiders say Marvel feels it already might have gone outside its comfort zone with August’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a space adventure heavy on odd humor and featuring a talking raccoon. In 2011, Sony’s similarly comic The Green Hornet with Seth Rogen failed to launch the franchise for which the studio hoped.
In addition, although Marvel Studios has vowed to keep the original July 17, 2015 start date, key crew members have left the production, which was slated to start next week.
Mike Fleming at Deadline has his own thoughts — and even steals my James Bond analogy! Apparently Wright may move right on to a Kolchak The Night Stalker reboot with Johnny Depp.
The exit of Wright is more surprising, considering he came to Comic-Con several years ago and showed a sample of the shrinking technology that would anchor the film. Then, Wright got Feige’s blessing to postpone the movie while he did The World’s End because Working Title partner Eric Fellner had a life-threatening health matter and Wright felt honor bound to see through the final leg of the Cornetto trilogy. The fact that Wright is so revered among the demo that Ant-Man will have to appeal to shows the confidence that Marvel has in Feige’s vision — and, indeed, the movies under his watch have been so good it’s hard to argue. It seems similar to the hold that producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson wield over the James Bond franchise. How many huge directors have expressed desire to helm a 007 film but were rebuffed or stepped away because the ultimate creative call resides not with any filmmaker but the producers who are the flame keepers of the franchise?
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.