I can wear this now, yes? (at San Diego Convention Center)

TK-6683 & LeeAnna Vamp: The world needs more femtroopers. #SDCC (at San Diego Convention Center)

Thor goes to Creeperville in this page one splash from Thor #137!

Is Ant-Man Setting Up To Be Disney/Marvel’s First Disaster?!

Let’s look at a few points, shall we?

  • Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish have an Ant-Man script & started working with Marvel Studios way back in 2006 to get this film made—a character they had personally been working on since 2003 when Artisan Entertainment had the rights. Marvel worked with Wright for 8 years to get the film and story worked into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even reworking parts of the Universe itself so this Ant-Man vision would fit right in.
  • May 23, 2014, Marvel and Wright announced that he was leaving the project, due to differences in their vision of the film. That translates to “after all the time and money spent developing Ant-Man & fitting the Wright/Cornish story into the MCU, Disney/Marvel decided they wanted to tell a completely different story and not allow Wright to do what he was hired to do.’ Disney/Marvel actually had a couple of low-budget writers come in and rewrite their script. That’s why they walked away from a project they had been working on for 11 years.. and I can’t say I blame them.
  • The following week, Adam McKay had entered negotiations to replace Wright as director, but pulled his name out of the hat on the very next day.
  • On June 7, 2014, Marvel announced that Peyton Reed will direct the film. You may recognize Reed’s name from such classics as Bring It On, Down With Love, and The Break Up—I did not. I had to Google him. At the same time, it was revealed that although McKay would not be directing, he would be rewriting Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish’s draft of the film’s script.

That brings us current. July 7, 2014: I am reading that Adam McKay has now left the project, though no reason has been given as of yet. Two new guys have now been hired to rewrite Ant-Man—Gabriel Ferrari and Andrew Barrer. Two more people I’ve never heard of, but Google tells me that they wrote an unproduced script titled Die In a Gunfight that been in development hell for about 5 years; Haunt; and the new Sabrina the Teenage Witch film that we may or may not see come 2017.

Disney/Marvel still claim that Ant-Man is hitting theaters July 17th, 2015, but at the rate things are going I’m not sure how much longer I will care. This film is starting to have all of the problems that X3 (or X-Men: The Last Stand for those of you who care) took into production.

And we all know what a big piece of shit that one turned into.

Boom.

Love this Lady Han & Slave Princess Leia cosplay by C&C Cosplay: Two scruffy looking nerf herders who just happen to know their way around a glue gun. Photos by Danny Ngan & Zach Picard.

The new Guardians of the Galaxy TV spot gives us our first good look at Ronan the Accuser!

And another previously mentioned rumor has indeed come to pass. It’s official, Lupita Nyong’o has officially been cast in J.J. Abrams’ now-in-production Star Wars Episode VII. Whether or not the rumor pans out and she is indeed playing Asajj Ventress remains to be seen.

In unexpected casting news, Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth, Game of Thrones) has also been added to the list. Whatever it is, I can’t deny being excited about it!

Interesting commentary from Ain’t It Cool News…

Marvel Narrows Its List Of Potential ANT-MAN Replacement Directors Down To Three Finalists!

Last Friday, Marvel Studios and Edgar Wright, citing creative differences, parted ways on ANT-MAN, a project Wright had been developing since 2006. This news came as a shock to me last week, but after talking to folks close to the production (none of whom are named Edgar Wright or Joe Cornish), I learned basically what Latino Review’s El Mayimbe reported: Wright and Cornish were taken off the script, and an in-house Marvel screenwriter dutifully destroyed much of what they’d carefully crafted. For instance, a high premium was placed on current cultural references. Think it’d be funny if Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) were a Lyft driver and had to, at one point, reluctantly turn in his mustache? If so, this just might be the ANT-MAN for you!

In any event, ANT-MAN is almost fully cast and the set pieces are entirely pre-visualized, so Marvel is pushing forward in order to make that July 17, 2015 release date. All they need now is a director to hang out with the actors and shoot tons of coverage so the Marvel brain trust (led by Kevin Feige) can edit the film to their liking. Basically, they’re looking for a babysitter, not a visual stylist. Hence, according to The Hollywood Reporter, these are the three finalists for the gig: Ruben Fleischer, Adam McKay and Rawson Marshall Thurber.

When Variety broke the news of Wright’s exit last week, they initially reported that a replacement had already been found. This proved not to be the case, but if these are the only three options, I’m surprised Marvel didn’t make an offer to Fleischer the day Wright bolted. He’s made one geek-friendly hit (ZOMBIELAND) and two duds (30 MINUTES OR LESS and GANGSTER SQUAD), and almost everyone in Hollywood still thinks he’ll be an A-list tentpole director one day. Getting to work from Wright’s previsualization while reworking the dramatic/comedic scenes on the fly with this immensely talented cast could be just the thing to get his career back on track.

As for the other two, McKay has his own production company in Gary Sanchez, so I’m not sure why he’d take a risk as a hired hand on a lesser-known Marvel property. I know he wanted to direct an adaptation of Garth Ennis’s comic book THE BOYS at one point, but that would’ve been a Gary Sanchez production. Directing ANT-MAN just seems like a lateral move at best. Thurber is a more likely possibility, but after WE’RE THE MILLERS cleared $150 million domestically last year, he’s in high demand around town - i.e. he could hop on a promising project that doesn’t carry the stink of behind-the-scenes trouble.

In any event, ANT-MAN is just a product now, like most big studio investments. It could still be a fun night out at the movies, but it’ll always be a compromised movie in my eyes. Whatever enjoyment I derive from it will be tempered by the thought of what could’ve been.