Marvel fans were thrown for quite the loop back in May 2014, when it was revealed that director Edgar Wright left Ant-Man, after spending nearly a decade developing the project, even before Marvel Studios was created. The filmmaker, who wrote the original script with Joe Cornish and retained a screenplay credit and story credit, cited "creative differences" for his departure, which has become the go-to response for any actor or filmmaker leaving a project. During a recent interview, the director shed some more light on exactly why he left Ant-Man. Here's what he had to say below.
"The most diplomatic answer is I wanted to make a Marvel movie but I don't think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie. It was a really heartbreaking decision, to have to walk away from it after working on it for so long. Some people say, 'Oh he worked on it for eight years,' and that's somewhat true, but in between that, I also made three movies, it wasn't like I was working on it full time. But after The World's End, I did work on it for about a year. I was the writer-director on it and then they wanted to do a draft without me, and having written all my other movies, that's a tough thing to move forward. It's like, if I do one of these movies, I would like to be the writer-director. Suddenly becoming a director for hire on it, you're sort of less emotionally invested and you start to wonder why you're there, really."
What's interesting is back in April 2015, Joss Whedon revealed in an interview that Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish's Ant-Man script was the best Marvel script ever, and he didn't understand "whatever dissonance that came." With such a strong script in place, according to Joss Whedon, who knows a thing or two about Marvel movies, it certainly could have gone in a completely different direction under a new writer. However, since both Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish received both story and screenplay credits, that means enough of their work from the script remained in the film to warrant a screenplay credit, which they shared with Adam McKay and star Paul Rudd. Ironically, Edgar Wright was hoping that this Marvel movie would be a hit, so he could make a passion project of his that he had already written, called Baby Driver, which hits theaters next week. Here's what he had to say about how he was hoping for a hit with Ant-Man, that would enable him to make Baby Driver, even though he ended up making the movie anyway, speaking on the Variety Playback Podcast.
"The good thing that came out of it, is I got to move on to this (Baby Driver), which was a script that I had already written. One of the ironies about it is I had thought, in the back of my head, that 'If the Marvel movie does well, maybe I'll have enough muscle to get Baby Driver made.' So it's ironic, I guess, that I didn't make that movie, and I got Baby Driver made, and with a studio, which is, I think an original movie with a studio is very rare."
He also added that after he left Ant-Man, all of the "HOD's" (heads of departments) who were working with the director on that movie, all left with the director when he walked away, "in a show of solidarity." The director added that he wanted to get another movie off the ground as quickly as possible so he could hire them all back again. When it all was said and done, Edgar Wright's departure seemed to work out quite well for all involved.
Marvel brought on Peyton Reed to direct, with Paul Rudd and Adam McKay rewriting the script. While Ant-Man certainly wasn't Marvel's biggest hit ever, earning $180.2 million domestic and $519.3 million worldwide, from a $130 million budget, it was popular and successful enough to spawn the sequel Ant-Man and The Wasp, which starts filming this summer for a July 2018 release. Edgar Wright, on the other hand, is getting rave reviews for Baby Driver, which has 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 31 reviews, as the director gets ready for its June 28 release.