"Marvel and Edgar Wright jointly announced today that the studio and director have parted ways on ANT-MAN due to differences in their vision of the film. The decision to move on is amicable and does not impact the release date on July 17, 2015. A new director will be announced shortly."Wow. This comes as a shock, considering how Edgar Wright has been working on the film for so many years and it appeared to be a project that meant a lot to him. What creative differences must there have been that were so big to cause his exit?
I'm sure many fans are distraught about this news, but I'm frankly not one of them. From the very start, I felt as though Ant-Man was a character that would not translate well on screen. The rumors that eventually turned out to be true about it focusing on Scott Lang and messing around with a '60s timeline irked me. I wanted to see Hank Pym and Wasp together, and it felt like I was going to get something worse instead.
Edgar Wright has an audience that supports him, and that's perfectly fine. He's talented at what he does. However, his style is not my thing, and I was disappointed in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Hot Fuzz to the point where I haven't bothered watching Shaun of the Dead or The World's End because I just have to assume that everyone who praises them to me as being genius just doesn't have the same tastes. Ant-Man was already a ridiculous enough concept, and when you combine that with the choice of going with a period piece that focuses on the backup version of the character along with a director that has a style I'm not fond of, it spells disaster. Marvel's films have teetered on the edge of being too ridiculous with comedy for a while, and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy seems hokey enough to worry me, but Edgar Wright's track record meant that I had no faith in this film.
Now—even though it's an unpopular opinion—I have more reason to believe that it won't be as bad. Whenever there is a series with an established tone and a director comes along that wants to try something different and do his own thing, it has the potential to spell disaster for the fans of what came before that. Look at Quantum of Solace for an example. Maybe the new director will be able to fit the mold better.
That brings up another question: who should replace Edgar Wright? Off the top of my head, I cannot think of anyone who is too big to jump on at this point. The trouble with being this far along into the production process is that the higher-profile the director is, the better their projects tend to be when they are allowed to work on them from the start. Fans might be wanting Jon Favreau to return or for someone like Guillermo Del Toro to try their hand at a Marvel film, but this is not the one for them. (By the way, Del Toro for Doctor Strange, anyone?) I would suggest going for a director who is more experienced when it comes to television. Why? Such a person would be used to working on a tighter schedule and having less input than a Hollywood blockbuster director. Could you really see Peter Jackson or Christopher Nolan doing exactly what Joss Whedon or Kevin Feige told him to do? For that matter, a high-profile director would cost a lot more than what he or she would be worth, as the whole point in paying for people that well respected is to pick their brains as much as possible.
This calls for someone who can come cheap and will listen. I would suggest going with one of the directors that has worked on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because they are not only in the family already, but they are familiar with the tone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.