Marvel Studios announced on Saturday, June 7 that Peyton Reed will direct Ant-Man, with writer Adam McKay contributing to the final script.
The new filmmaking team is taking the reins left behind by director-writer Edgar Wright (The World’s End, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), who developed a script for the film with Joe Cornish (Attack the Block). Wright and Marvel formally parted ways on the project last month, citing an “amicable” split “due to differences in their vision of the film.”
The decision for Wright to leave came as a genuine shock, as the filmmaker had been attached to write and direct Ant-Man since the inception of Marvel Studios as an independent film production company in 2006. But studio chief Kevin Feige has a well-known reputation as a hands-on executive, steering each Marvel Studios film to fit into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe — both narratively and aesthetically. And Ant-Man is set to launch Marvel Studio’s “Phase 3” films after The Avengers: Age of Ultron — currently shooting in London — opens on May 1, 2015.
But even with McKay officially revising the script, Marvel is still planning for Ant-Man to meet the film’s July 17, 2015 release date, just over a year away. Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas are still set to star as Scott Lang and his mentor Dr. Hank Pym, respectively, who according to a studio release, team up to “protect the secret behind [Pym’s] spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats.”
Along with Bring it On, Reed has also directed 2003’s Down with Love, 2006’s The Break-Up, and 2008’s Yes Man — all of them comedies, most of them romantic comedies. Indeed, the decision to replace Wright and Cornish with filmmakers with far more experience making comedies than action films suggests that Marvel’s creative vision for Ant-Man is leaning in more of a full-on comedic direction than its earlier projects. At one point, McKay was under consideration to direct as well, but BuzzFeed confirmed he would not be taking on the directing job — McKay himself tweeted that while meeting with Marvel “was awesome,” he was “not sure it can work.”
By all appearances, McKay was able to carve out enough time to revise the script. But while the character of Ant-Man is known for his small stature, both McKay and Reed will be working under an increasingly steep degree of difficulty.
This story has been updated to include Marvel Studios hiring Reed and McKay.