What We Know About Wright & Goddard's Marvel Exits

by Alanna Bennett

Many Marvel fans found themselves confused, upset, and a little bit lost this Friday when Marvel and director Edgar Wright released a joint statement saying that Wright and the studio had parted ways on the upcoming Ant-Man movie. Slacked jaws pointed towards their computers, posted panicky Facebook statuses, and pontificated into Twitter about the Ant-Man movie's immediate loss of cultural capital. And then Drew Goddard left Daredevil , and a whole lot of people picked up their mutterings of worry about Marvel to a whole new level.

So what the hell is happening over at Marvel? The Marvel/Wright statement printed by The Hollywood Reporter only serves to make everything more cryptic:

Marvel and Edgar Wright jointly announced today that the studio and director have parted ways on Ant-Man due to differences in their visions 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.

A lot obviously hinges on whoever this new director will be, but there's one thing that's important to remember: People have built up a lot of trust for Edgar Wright. Take a look at Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr and you'll see a lot of people who only really came onboard with the idea of an Ant-Man movie when they found out it was Wright directing. There are outliers, obviously — not everyone found Scott Pilgrim accesible, for instance — but the director's got a history of making exhilarating, charming romps out of concepts that could easily bend towards the ludicrous, and that was exactly the flavor Ant-Man needed. People overall trust Wright's vision — so when the press release says he left the project over "creative differences in their visions of the film," people start to wonder if Marvel might soon shoot itself in the foot.

We've also got Avengers director Joss Whedon showing his solidarity with Wright — holding up a Cornetto, a tribute to Wright's beloved Cornetto trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World's End).

Whedon's the current unofficial co-ruler of the Marvel franchise movies (nearly every Marvel movie kowtows to Avengers) which once again begs the question "what in the gorram hell went down behind the scenes here?"

These questions increase tenfold upon hearing that Drew Goddard, who was settling in as showrunner for the upcoming Daredevil Netflix series, has also left his post, with IGN reporting his replacement is Steven K. DeKnight, a fellow Buffy and Angel alum. The show will still feature a number of Goddard's scripts as work was underway, but it's hardly a good sign when the genre's beloved creatives start jumping ship.

Guardians of the Galaxy director Jame Gunn also wrote something sentimental on the Marvel-Wright break-up on his facebook page, being more diplomatic than Whedon and not picking sides:

Sometimes you have friends in a relationship. You love each of them dearly as individuals and think they’re amazing people. When they talk to you about their troubles, you do everything you can to support them, to keep them together, because if you love them both so much doesn’t it make sense they should love each other? But little by little you realize, at heart, they aren’t meant to be together – not because there’s anything wrong with either of them, but they just don’t have personalities that mesh in a comfortable way. They don’t make each other happy. Although it’s sad to see them split, when they do, you’re surprisingly relieved, and excited to see where their lives take them next.

It’s easy to try to make one party “right” and another party “wrong” when a breakup happens, but it often isn’t that simple. Or perhaps it’s even more simple than that – not everyone belongs in a relationship together. It doesn’t mean they’re not wonderful people.

And that’s true of both Edgar Wright and Marvel. One of them isn’t a person, but I think you get what I mean.

Wright has been involved with the Ant-Man movie since 2006, which means two things: That his imprint will likely still be in there somewhere considering the release date hasn't been pushed back at all — and that something pretty big must have went down to result in a departure. Latino Review's got a theory about the departure that actually sounds pretty convincing:

6 weeks ago Marvel took the script off [Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish] and gave the writing assignment to two very low credit writers. One of the writers were from Marvel’s in house writing team. Edgar stayed cool, agreed to stay on the project, and read the draft.

The script came in this week and was completely undone. Poorer, homogenized, and not Edgar’s vision. Edgar met with Marvel on Friday to formally exit and the announcement went out directly after.

Of course, this is mainly conjecture, and all we've got is a big soup of rumors to sooth us — or freak us out, alternatively — as we try to adjust to this flurry of changes.