I’m not sure if this a violation of franchise/franchisee confidentiality, but recently Joss Whedon, director of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, talked about Ant-Man. Before there was The Avengers, before there was even an Iron Man, Ant-Man was slowly gathering steam under the direction of Edgar Wright, the filmmaker most famous for the zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead. Wright’s years of toil were about to pay-off when, all of a sudden, he was out and Peyton Reed was in as Ant-Man director. Jesus wept, and so did the internet, because we were now robbed of the presumptive awesomeness of Wright’s Ant-Man. But Marvel Studios told us to chill, and now, Whedon himself is saying that from what he’s read, we’re right to miss what would have been Wright’s vision for the character.
While talking to BuzzFeed in a pre-Age of Ultron interview, Whedon said that Wright’s Ant-Man script was “the best script that Marvel had ever had.” Damn. Here’s the whole quote:
“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.”
If you were one of the people who flipped your lid when Wright walked away from Ant-Man mere weeks before it was supposed to begin filming, you probably punched a wall right now. After all, Whedon knows from good writing.
There’s never been an official airing of grievances from Marvel and/or Wright about where exactly it all went off the tracks for their combined Ant-Man efforts, but the assumption’s been that Marvel wanted more action and a movie tied more closely to the ongoing mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Wright wanted something more Edgar Wright-ish. It’s hard to fault either side, why should Wright give up his vision, at the same time though Marvel Studios became a much bigger cheese during the years that Ant-Man struggled in development. Their brand is inter-brand integration, so why not demand a little more of that from a movie they were about to spend nine figures on?
Promotion for Ant-Man hasn’t exactly been burning up fans with desire to see the film, many people just shrugged at the first trailer, but the recently released second one got some positive attention. We’ll just have to wait and see if Reed’s Ant-Man pulverizes the doubts of the cynical class, or if Whedon’s estimation of Wright’s script will go down as another famous Hollywood missed opportunity. I guess we’ll see.
Ant-Man will be in theaters everywhere on July 17, 2015.