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Edgar Wright leaving Ant-Man; does Marvel have too much control?

05.28.2014

The news of Edgar Wright leaving ANT-MAN dealt a heavy blow to both fans of film and of Marvel. Not just for the film itself, but for what's being alluded to, as far as how Marvel is running its cinematic sector.  Word on the street is that Wright left due to "creative differences".  It was speculated that there had been some last-minute re-writes that came down from above, and Wright himself felt that his vision was no longer in line with what Marvel wanted, so he walked.  That's a hard thing to do, especially given how long Edgar Wright has been invested in the project.  Furthermore, whatever director is hired to shoot ANT-MAN, will no doubt in part use some of the concepts put in place by Wright.

This image was originally tweeted by Edgar Wright, and then removed.

The picture above is of Buster Keaton, who after taking a job at MGM, later called it the "worst decision of his life" due to loss of independence. The picture had been photoshopped to add a Cornetto, the trademark of Wright's Cornetto trilogy (SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ, THE WORLD'S END). Despite the lack of an official statement from Wright, that picture was all that we needed to verify what had been speculated, and that Wright chose not to give up creative control in order to make a product.

Joss Whedon, being the class act that he is, responded in kind.

Now that some time has passed, some insiders claim that some of the department heads have left as well, which may put production in a bit of a pickle (temporary, of course). They also pretty much confirmed the creative differences, and had a few other things to say as far as how Marvel runs things.

Sources close to production had this to say about the split:

Kevin Feige (and the higher ups) 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. 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.

This pretty much falls in line with what fans fear most, in that Marvel might be looking more into creating a product they know will generate some serious revenue, rather than enlist filmmakers and trust in their vision. In all likelihood, it's probably half and half. After all, Avengers rings true of Joss Whedon's style, through and through, so what gives? The director of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, James Gunn, also gave his two cents on the matter here, on what probably makes the most sense.

As James Gunn eloquently puts it:

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."

I suppose in the end, it's probably somewhere in the middle that Marvel and Edgar Wright just were not able to meet. Given all the money that these Marvel movies are making, I would hope that they would be MORE open to letting filmmakers create their own vision of Marvel properties, and not less so. That's the tricky part of film-making; It's where art and business collide. Marvel has not budged the ANT-MAN release date of July 17, 2015, so I'm guessing we'll hear word of a new director or new release date soon. Regardless of their choice, I think we'll all miss what Wright would have brought to the table.

Extra Tidbit: How do you all feel about the split, and what that says (if anything) for filmmakers looking to embark on a Marvel cinematic venture?

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