Joe Cornish Reflects on Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man Departure

If the ongoing debate over whether Marvel movies qualify as “cinema” has taught us anything, it’s that the MCU isn’t for everyone. And unfortunately, Edgar Wright learned that lesson nearly a decade too late. The director behind Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was attached to write and direct Marvel’s original Ant-Man movie for eight years before departing the project over creative differences in 2014. But according to his co-writer, Joe Cornish, Wright’s unique filmmaking sensibilities are exactly what prompted his exit in the first place. 

Cornish reflected on his Ant-Man experience while speaking with The Playlist about his new Netflix series, Lockwood & Co. Specifically, Cornish described their introduction to the studio in the early 2000s, when the attitude toward superhero movies was very different than what it is today.

“When Edgar and I first met Marvel, they were in offices above a BMW showroom in Beverly Hills,” recalled Cornish. “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… 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.”

“We worked on [Ant-Man] for something like eight years, on and off,” continued Cornish. “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.”

By the time Wright was finally ready to start rolling cameras, the MCU had already become a box office juggernaut. The success of the first Avengers movie proved that studio’s shared-universe gamble was paying off. However, finding a place for Scott Lang’s alter-ego amid the ever-expanding franchise was too big of an ask for Wright and Cornish. 

“That kind of overtook us in the sense that Marvel didn’t necessarily want the authored movie that Edgar and I wanted to make,” added Cornish. “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.”

Peyton Reed who chosen to replace Wright as the director of Ant-Man, which hit theaters in 2015. Regardless, Wright and Cornish’s influence is all over the final film. Both remained credited as co-writers on the movie alongside Adam McKay and Paul Rudd. In fact, Wright was the one who cast Rudd along with the film’s supporting players, most of whom will return in the upcoming third installment, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, on February 17.

Would you have liked to see how Wright’s vision for Ant-Man was different from the one we got? Let us now in the comment section below! 

Recommended Reading: The Astonishing Ant-Man: The Complete Collection

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