It’s been a roller-coaster of a weekend for Marvel Studios. The latest installment of their X-Men franchise co-produced with 20th Century Fox, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, is looking to clear $90 million at the domestic box office with another $171.1 million overseas. But putting a damper on things was the very surprising exit of Edgar Wright from the studio’s upcoming Ant-Man film. (A second black eye came to the studio in the form of writer/producer Drew Goddard walking of the studio’s planned 13-episode direct-to-Netflix series Daredevil less than 24 hours later.)
There’s been much speculation as to the nature of Wright’s departure, aside from “differences in their visions of the film” as stated in the press release that was released. A couple of outlets have independently confirmed that it was indeed differences over the film’s tone and an in-house rewrite of Wright and co-scripter Joe Cornish’s screenplay to reflect the changes that the studio wanted did indeed precipitate Wright’s walking off the film.
But two of Marvel’s other directors have gone online this weekend to comment on this turn of events.
Avengers and Avengers: Age Of Ultron director Joss Whedon tweeted the photo below in tribute to Wright. (And shame on you if you don’t get the reference.) While both Whedon and Wright have strong fan followings for their work, only Whedon has proven himself in the eyes of the studio by delivering them a $1 billion hit. Wright, unfortunately, doesn’t have the muscle with the studio to let him bring his vision of Ant-Man to the screen. But it still begs the question as to why after years of knowing exactly what Wright was looking to bring to the project why the sudden rewrite? It has been speculated that this sudden shift may have been from Marvel’s corporate parent, Disney. Can we read Whedon’s tweet as a gesture of solidarity with Wright?
Meanwhile, another Marvel director has taken to Facebook to respond to Wright’s departure. James Gunn, who has helmed the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy, is no stranger to stirring up trouble with an injudicious or ill-advised comment. But here, he certainly seems to be striking a conciliatory stance, suggesting that there are no good guys or bad guys in this scenario, that sometimes disagreements just happen and it is better to part ways than to continue with the project while such differences continue.
Sometimes you have friends in a relationship. You love each of them dearly as individuals and think they’re amazing people. When they talk to you about their troubles, you do everything you can to support them, to keep them together, because if you love them both so much doesn’t it make sense they should love each other? But little by little you realize, at heart, they aren’t meant to be together – not because there’s anything wrong with either of them, but they just don’t have personalities that mesh in a comfortable way. They don’t make each other happy. 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.
And that’s true of both Edgar Wright and Marvel. One of them isn’t a person, but I think you get what I mean.
While admittedly, loosing the possibility of an Edgar Wright directed Marvel film is a bitter pill to swallow, perhaps we should take Gunn’s advice and not cast blame here. Marvel has done pretty well with their films so far and I don’t think that they are going to stumble too greatly now. But the studio really will need to come up with a great choice of replacement to gain back some of the enthusiasm that fans lost with Wright’s departure.