Edgar Wright is out, Peyton Reed is in. Here's Marvel's pitch for why that's okay.
It's hard to have confidence in the upcoming Ant-Man film. And when I say that, I don't mean to imply that Edgar Wright can do no wrong and that to defy him is the very definition of folly. What I'm saying is that any time a creative venture breaks down in such a public setting, the human consciousness at large sort of automatically sees incorrectable failure.
So Marvel has this very high mountain to climb now if it's going to convince fans that Ant-Man can still be a huge success. And since marketing is sort of 9/10ths of the filmmaking law these days, getting people back on board sooner rather than later is of paramount importance.
Which is why Kevin Feige went on at length, talking about why new Ant-Man director Peyton Reed is the right director for the job.
Peyton is someone that I’ve been a fan of for a long time. People may not remember, though probably your readers remember, that he was attached to Fantastic Four more than 10 years ago. We spent a lot of time together… and I got along with Peyton very, very well and he had awesome ideas and an awesome vision for the movie, and for various reasons he ended up leaving that movie...
He’s come in to meet on a lot of our movies over the years, in particular Guardians. He had a lot of awesome things to say on Guardians. But James [Gunn] had a slightly more solid take that was of interest to us. But Peyton was always on our lists, and so when this happened and Edgar [Wright] said ‘Not for me’ we met with a handful of people, but Peyton was always one that I thought would be great.
It was not a slam-dunk that he would just step into it and do it. He wanted to be sure that he was wasn’t just inheriting something or following someone else’s lead. Or wasn’t inheriting something that the evil studio had watered down to be something bad. I kept saying, ‘You can either read what’s online, or come in and talk to us and look at all this stuff.’ He looked at everything, he talked with us, and he said ‘Number one, I agree with the direction you’re going in. And number two, I can add to it.’ And he has – the movie is in as good a shape as it’s ever been right now.
It’s still very much in the spirit of what Edgar’s original pitch was and the entire template of the movie is what Edgar set out and originally came and pitched us maybe eight years ago now. But it's on its way to being the absolute best version of what that movie could have been.
Peyton is really, really wonderful, and will be proving that soon enough. As I said to the Comic-Con audience a few years ago, ‘You might not have heard of [Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors] Joe and Antony Russo, but you’re going to be big fans of them soon.’ And I’d say the same thing about Peyton Reed now.
So the short version of that is, Peyton is taking the best of Wright's ideas and Marvel's ideas and MacGyvering them together with the paper clip, toothpaste and Silly Putty he had in his coat pocket. Well, that's about all we can hope for.
But is it enough to make you give whatever is about to be shown at SDCC the benefit of the doubt?