Joss Whedon & James Gunn Support Ex-Marvel Director Edgar Wright

May 26, 2014

Joss Whedon / James Gunn

We're still reeling over last week's news that director Edgar Wright had departed the production of Marvel's comic book adaptation Ant-Man. After working on the film for eight years, word on the street is that a recent rewrite ordered by Marvel's higher-ups didn't sit well with Wright and co-writer Joe Cornish, so they decided to leave the project rather than compromise their vision. Now some familiar names from behind the camera of Marvel's films have shown support. The Avengers helmer Joss Whedon paid tribute with a single image, and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn had a more practical perspective.

Here's the awesome image Joss Whedon posted to his followers on Twitter over the weekend:

That's a Cornetto wrapper that Whedon is holding like Bender from The Breakfast Club. This is a reference to Wright's thematic film trilogy that became known as The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, named for the fact that Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End all featured some sort of funny reference to the British ice cream snack. Whedon is careful not to make any blatant statements about his feelings on this matter between Marvel and Wright, but the image pretty much indicates where his allegiances lie.

Meanwhile, director James Gunn was a little more practical about showing his support for Wright, and didn't make Marvel the bad guy. Posting to his Facebook page, Gunn equates this situation to a romance:

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.

After eight years of development, that would be a pretty tough break-up. We can't imagine how difficult it might have been for Wright to walk away from a project he's been working on for that long, but if the rumors are true, we're glad that he stood his ground and didn't stick around to make a film that he didn't necessarily believe in. If we're fortunate, this means Wright can get to work on something original that we can get excited about. Or maybe Disney can round him up to take on one of their gestating Star Wars spin-offs to follow director Gareth Edwards signing on to helm the first one for December 2016. Thoughts?

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  • Xerxexx
    Methinks Wright and Marvel needs to work this out. Wright has given 8 years. Marvel needs to cut a deal with Wright and vice versa. Work it out! Stoked for Rudd!
    • shane willett
      Marvel needs to suck wright off, and then clean his bits and pieces with a golden napkin while saying "please" the whole time, they screwed up, but they'll never know what success could have been ...
  • DJ Jack Ryan Hardy
    Marvel simply f'ed up. You can't deny that fact. You had a great director like Wright with so much fan support to direct a potentially great film. What was so important you just had to force in Marvel, yet again studio interferences strike again like we haven't seen that before especially with Marvel. Marvel drove out Jon Favreau, and can we add Edgar Wright to that long list of f'ups (I know there is plenty more but wow what a long list). Get your sh*t together Marvel. It seems like only a few directors (Joss Whedon / Russos) are getting lucky with them and that's not a good sign if you can't establish directing continuity.
  • Chris Groves
    Clearly some parties just don't gel. Does anyone think that Edward Norton is a terrible individual with no talent? I don't. But he and Marvel DID diverge creatively. I mean, Marvel cast him as the lead and had him re-write the script, he was an overall creative partner. They disagreed on final cut and things of that nature, which was unfortunate. But this also isn't a case of 'big bad Marvel only wants directors who make generic cookie-cutter movies'. Case in point: Jon Favreau with Iron Man, Joss Whedon with The Avengers, The Russo Brothers with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. They all did fantastic work, and I think each director shined creatively without clashing with Marvel. But in the case of Edward Norton, Alan Taylor, and Edgar Wright...clearly the relationship wasn't as conducive. That is okay, not every party is going to work well with every other party. Is Martin Campbell a crappy director? Not at all, Goldeneye and Casino Royale are considered two of the better Bond films. But was he a horrid choice for Green Lantern? Absolutely. It isn't as simple as "well they suck, or he sucks, they rule, they screwed up, he ruined this, so and so are always terrible etc etc". Guillermo Del Toro left The Hobbit, is that because they were shaping up to be terrible, or because Del Toro is a terrible director? Hell no. When a fit isn't right, it isn't right.
    • shane willett
      Del Torro is so much better than Jackson in my opinion .. Hollywood wants who they can bark at, and they follow orders.. If it was under Fox, as they just wouldn't care movie would have been out this year... Disney is fucking everything up
      • avconsumer2
        No insult intended... but labeling Peter Jackson as a "complete moron," is probably not going to help your credibility.
        • shane willett
          LoR is great, and if anyone would direct it true to it's style would have been Del Toro.. Jackson is great in animation and compositing, but he takes to much time to tell a story. My favorite movie he ever did was Frightners, It's hard to say what else he's done other than King Kong and a few indie films like Bad Taste and Meet the Feebles and horrible zombie movie... so Wingnut Studios is all there and do quality on a technical level, but as a story teller, Jackson should less dwell and just tell... 3 Hobbit films Really ?
          • Chris Groves
            I do agree that he can be a little over-indulgent(King Kong could have easily been 2 hours and 30-45 minutes and been virtually the exact same movie) but Jackson is still quite talented. Del Toro's Hobbit film would have been a sight to see, especially since he was talking about blending live action and CGI on a seamless level we'd never seen before. But I think Jackson has still done a good(not perfect) job on the Hobbit films, and the sequel was superior to the first, and I imagine the final film will deliver as well.
          • shane willett
            I agree I was a little harsh, I just didn't like Jackson's casting choices, but Seeing the Hobbit at 48 frames on 4k video is so cool, he's doing what Lucas did with Attack of the Clones, reassuring hollywood that digital film is here to stay and is only getting better.. the motion you see when he shot Hobbit on the Red Epic camera is going to re-shape movies, it has already started... I am a Red Cinema owner and Jackson has helped make that company, but at the same time his technical vision can't be touched, he's always a few years ahead of the bar... Hobbit looks so good, better than most films, but I still fall asleep when the dialogue starts ... but they look so good
          • Chris Groves
            Yep, regardless of our diverging opinions on his technique(sometimes he handles everything well, other times...not so much) I can 100% agree that he is one of the more forward thinkers/movers in the industry today. One day I believe that the Hobbit being filmed in 48 FPS will be considered a move that was ahead of its time.
  • Tuomas Lassila
    Only thing I hope is that this will not effect the production and release date of the movie.
    • shane willett
      well if theres a re-write maybe not, but bringing in a new director like what happened to AI with Kubric and Spielberg took 10 years
  • Avi
    It's from both sides possible this is isn't the way the make the movie. Marvel has the right to say no because opinions differ... Sad for Wright but marvel has the last word...
  • shane willett
    dude, the fact that Edgar Wright has more successful and smart films , shows that they want all there movies to follow a specific formula, which is make movies where you don't have to think, instead the movie holds your fucking hand the entire time explaining every little thing like your a fucking 4 year old, who just learned that shitting his pants is wrong. Fuck Marvel, Fuck Disney, Fuck Star Wars there movies are pure mindless shallow films, that try and make 33 year old mean feel like there 10... and the films plots keep repeating themselves like a 65 year old college teacher who should have retired 10 years ago. Mr. Wright was going to bring a fun, comical British style to a boring ass franchise that suffers from actors who have self esteems larger than most 3rd World Countries is wrong and they should all be forced into to doing Lifetime movies until they keel over.
  • shane willett
    Disney is a complete joke after Walt died they turned so corporate, there horns are like 3 feet tall and curve to a sharp point, and are shoving there pitchforks so far up are ass we are going to feel so bad will never sit comfortably again.. I mean serious no one hasn't smelled the sulfur and seen the brimstone a burning ???
  • TK
    So sad to see it come to this really. I can see both sides of the story here but I must say that I personally would have loved to have seen Wright's vision for Ant-man.His style and storytelling abilities lend themselves perfectly into this particular world. I can definitely see where he is coming from having worked on it for 8 years and someone telling you to change it would almost feel as though being told that it wasn't good enough. That mere order for re-writes would have poisoned the relationship and I feel that Wright did the right thing and stepped away. His vision being compromised and his feelings definitely would have influenced the final product in a way even he would not have wanted. Having a fresh director in will hopefully see a clearer perspective of what Wright always wanted and hopefully keeping Marvel happy as well. Marvel is a business and every business must make sure that their company values are being followed (artistically speaking as well). That sometimes means you have to be a total dick, but that also means streamlining your products so that they all fit together. Especially if you want them all sitting within the same universe. They have made billions of dollars by doing this and so far have been very successful in doing so. Not one individual, no matter how brilliant they are, is ever going to change that. As sad as it is to see this relationship over, maybe James Gunn is right, it just wasn't meant to be.
  • 311
    James Gunn's words are deep
    • Aaron Chan
      Not really. Seems like he's trying to stay neutral like Switzerland or more like France.
  • Aaron Chan
    Who's James Gunn? Seems like a tool.
  • Marvelite
    Go Joss Whedon! James Gunn needs to grow some balls and take a stand.
    • Payne by name
      He hasn't yet got an Avengers under his belt, so not really surprising that Gunn couldn't be 'F**k Marvel!"
  • W.
    Ok ok I'll directed it then. If I must.
  • si1ver
    Marvel should have let Wright have freedom. People are already talking about the homogenized feel and look of Marvel movies. Wright would have brought a fresh and unique perspective. Very disappointing, but luckily for them they don't have much competition right now (DC- trying to start, Fox- can only do one XMen movie at a time and F4 restarting, Sony- lol). Iron Man, The Avengers and Winter Soldier (even Cap 1) were all different from previous Marvel and comic book movies. Hopefully, Marvel can learn to keep things special while still interconnected.
  • Payne by name
    It's a shame that with all their success, Marvel couldn't be a little braver.
  • VAharleywitch
    It's not as if there will be "mass" bitching if Ant-man isn't an OMG Awesomesauce success. While he is probably known more widely than GotG, he's certainly not top-tier in the character roster of Marvel. Most likely, if you were to ask John or Jane Doe on the street, you might get "he goes from being tiny to being big, right?" vs him being a scientist or any of the other stuff attributed to his history. And I say this as a gal who likes her Marvel comics, with parents who did their time collecting & reading the older ones (and who are enjoying greatly the MCU and even most of the comic-based movies of the past decade). So Marvel/Disney should have just let Wright tell his story. Even if it was a little "off", I don't think it's the KOD the Marvel suits think it is. Do we even know if it was *Marvel* that had issues w/ Wright, or *Disney* who is bankrolling Marvel Films?




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