In light of the good news coming from Marvel Studios tonight with the news that Scott Derrickson has been given the nod to direct DOCTOR STRANGE, that sort of information does come with a price. And in this case it’s as the silver lining to distract us from the very dark cloud that continues to build on ANT-MAN. Earlier today, we scooped that Rawson Thurber had been offered the job in the hopes of settling down the movie’s rocky road to production and getting things back on pace to hit that July 2015 release date Marvel is still dead set on. Unfortunately, the ANT-MAN nightmare for Marvel continues, as sources tell us Thurber has indeed passed on the film, sending the studio right back to the drawing board to find someone actually willing to touch this movie with a 10-foot pole. It certainly won’t be Ruben Fleischer whose name popped up in the list of contenders but who may be doing something with the new GHOSTBUSTERS. He doesn’t want anybody’s sloppy seconds… Strike that. We’re onto sloppy fourths at this point, leaving Marvel to start from scratch once again if they want to find someone stupid enough to sign onto ANT-MAN right now.
Talk about a clusterfuck.
There’s no telling if Thurber would have accepted the job last week if he had been Marvel’s first replacement choice instead of Adam McKay, who subsequently walked away from the negotiating table after initially agreeing to take ANT-MAN. However, all of this would be an irrelevant and basically non-existent discussion in the first place if someone above Kevin Feige’s pay grade at Disney hadn’t made the call to gut the ANT-MAN written by Joe Cornish and Edgar Wright that Wright had worked for eight long years to be in the position to direct, leaving them no real choice but to walk away from the film and created this void that needs a replacement director.
Let’s face it… ANT-MAN is a tainted movie right now, and no one wants to have any involvement in it whatsoever. It’s a thankless job, because if it turns out as bad as we’ve heard all the changes have made it, guess who is going to get smacked right in the face with the blame? It might be a little bit of Marvel, as we’ve have endless think pieces about how Marvel’s run of solid films has come to an end. It’ll definitely be the director, as the average movie-goer who has no idea about any of the behind-the-scenes drama taking place currently typically points their finger at the director’s chair when a movie isn’t very good. And why would any filmmaker want to put themselves in the position to be labeled as the person who fucked up ANT-MAN when that’s a stink they’ll be unable to wash off ever? Take a look at bad superhero films, and look who gets slammed for them. Brett Ratner still is a popular target any time X-MEN: THE LAST STAND comes up in conversation, regardless of the fact that he came onto the movie late in the process, too far along to make any real dents in the creative direction of the film. Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Ryan Reynolds still hear about how terrible their Daredevil, Batman and Green Lantern were respectively. It’s a spot no one should willingly be putting themselves in, and, as a result, it’s going to be tough for Marvel to get ANT-MAN made as presently constituted, unless they’re really willing to lower their standards to find someone who’ll just get it done.
So what’s the next course of action for Marvel? Well, they’ve put themselves between a rock and a hard place. There are no good options for them… only slightly less bad ones… and that starts with bowing down before Edgar Wright, kissing his ass like there’s no tomorrow and granting him the autonomy to make the ANT-MAN film he was originally going to make. Do I think that’s going to happen? Probably not. After all, if you expect Disney to come groveling with their tail between their legs in order to get a certain director who now holds all the leverage, then you’re incredibly naive and really have no idea how The Mouse operates. It would be the right decision to make for the company, for Marvel and for ANT-MAN, but let’s not pretend the studios are all about making the best decisions for everyone. This comes right down to ego, and I cannot see Disney deflating theirs in order to get this thing back on the up and up with Edgar Wright at the helm for ANT-MAN. On the flip side, who knows if Wright would even listen to any sort of overtures from them? He was incredibly disrespected late in the process after investing so much time and creative energy in order to get ANT-MAN to the doorstep of being made, and he started before there even was a Marvel Cinematic Universe to geek out over. So why go back after seeing the clusterfuck this has become? I wouldn’t blame him for wanting to devote his attention to something else, but the specter of “What could have been” will always linger if ANT-MAN indeed goes unmade.
And I think that’s where this thing may be headed. ANT-MAN may be so tainted at this point that Marvel has no other choice but to kill this project… or at least stick it up on the shelf and hope people forget about it in a few years when they can then revisit reincorporating the character into the MCU. It’s Wright or bust, and pride and ego may have The Mouse choosing the latter at this point. Such is their prerogative, but now you at least know why this DOCTOR STRANGE news was fed into the pipeline today. They wanted to distract you with a little bit of goodness, so you didn’t notice that ANT-MAN just went from bad to worse.
Famously fired via Facebook, Billy Donnelly ("The Infamous Billy The Kidd") has insisted on staying true to his honest opinions (like Greedo shooting first being BS) in order to build a true geek community that serves its readership with credible commentary.
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