The original co-writer of Marvel’s Ant-Man, Joe Cornish, says why he and director and co-writer Edgar Wright left the project. In an interview with The Playlist, Cornish clears up the reason for leaving their Marvel movie.
Most fans know that Ant-Man did start with Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) with Joe Cornish (Attack The Block). Both Wright and Cornish wrote the movie, but the plan was for Wright to direct the film.
Many even saw the test footage in SDCC 2012, which Wright directed. Even though it was a test footage, it still garnered the same Ant-Man suit that we see Paul Rudd wore. Marvel fans loved it.
Unfortunately, on May 23, 2014, Marvel announced that Wright had left the project “due to differences in their vision of the film.” Fans did wonder if there was some bad blood between Marvel Studios and Wright. There was a point that Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily almost left the project.
Cornish has been recently promoting Netflix’s Lockwood & Co, and was in an interview with The Playlist. Ant-Man’s original writer had no problems revealing details about its development before its release in theatres.
Here’s what Joe Cornish had to say about his and Wright’s whole Marvel Studios experience:
When Edgar and I first met Marvel, they were in offices above a BMW showroom in Beverly Hills. It was around the time of Ang Lee’s ‘Hulk,’ and [Jon] Favreau hadn’t even started working on the first ‘Iron Man.’ Superhero movies were not a thing. They were not perceived as a cool thing to do.
They were kind of a cruddy genre. I guess because VFX hadn’t evolved to the point where they could put what was on page on the screen. So, they always felt like they were reaching for something they couldn’t achieve.
Favreau only joined Marvel back in 2006. In other words, Ant-Man was already in early development even as far back as 2003. At the time, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, Bryan Singer’s X2: X-Men United and Guillermo del Toro Blade II were at the forefront of Marvel films.
Joe Cornish and Edgar Wright worked on Ant-Man before the MCU Started
At the time, there was no unified universe in films. Their script had no need to consider any other franchise or any previous film when Wright and Cornish were working on Ant-Man.
We worked on [“Ant-Man”] for something like eight years, on and off. And in that time, the landscape changed completely. The technology changed completely. Audiences fell in love with superhero movies.
All the stuff that people loved in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s in comic books were suddenly translated on screen in a really direct way that had never happened before.
Marvel changed cinema when they made The Avengers back in 2012. It established the cinematic universe, and every comic book fan couldn’t even believe that it actually happened.
After so many years, fans have been waiting for movies to establish a unified universe, with Superman meeting Batman or Daredevil meeting Spider-Man. For a time, it was deemed impossible that DC never even bothered making a connection. But Marvel did the impossible.
Marvel was able to make several franchises merge into one giant franchise. No one has seen anything like it. This all happened while Cornish and Wright were still working on Ant-Man.
That kind of overtook us in the sense that Marvel didn’t necessarily want the authored movie that Edgar and I wanted to make because, at that point, they had this behemoth on their hands. They had this universe where the movies had to integrate. Edgar is an auteur. Edgar Wright makes Edgar Wright movies. In the end, that’s why it didn’t happen, I guess.
Even though Wright wanted to try working with Marvel with the MCU, it was already a different film from what Wright originally envisioned. He had to deal with the previous films, somehow connect it into a universe that he didn’t plan for.
When The Avengers came out, Marvel has already released five films since Iron Man in 2008. Ant-Man was planned for 2015 and Marvel would have released eleven films by then.
There is a little bit of Edgar Wright in Every Ant-Man film
On June 6, 2014, just a couple of weeks after Wright left the production, Payton Reed took the helm to continue Ant-Man. At the time, Reed was only known for romantic comedies like Yes Man and The Breakup.
Even though Payton Reed led the film, he still used the story made by Wright and Cornish. Not only that, but he made shots that mirror the style of Wright.
Having said that, a lot of our stuff is still in there, and I really like that movie. We’re as excited as anybody to see where it goes next. We feel connected to that cast as well because Edgar cast it. The designs are still in it. There are still a couple of little Edgar Wright ants scuttling around invisibly in those movies.
At times I do wonder how it could have looked if Edgar Wright did manage to direct the first Ant-Man, would have he been happier being part of it?
Then again, Wright makes his own films. Even his own Cornetto Trilogy has zero connection to each other in terms of story. Only nods of repeating jokes and themes.
It’s now eight years since the release of the first Ant-Man film. And so far, Payton Reed has been a success in making the Ant-Man films.
Reed made three where the latest one, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is coming this February 17th, 2023.
Even though Reed has made Ant-Man his own, personally I do see that there are still nods to Edgar Wright in the films.
What do you think of Joe Cornish’s reason for leaving Ant-Man with Edgar Wright? Do you think the films would have been better if Wright stayed? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
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