Is ‘Ant-Man’ in Danger of Missing Its 2015 Release Date?
When it was announced that Edgar Wright was leaving 'Ant-Man,' Marvel said in its statement that the planned July 17, 2015 release date would not be changed. But, as the reality of the situation sets in and Marvel scrambles to find a suitable replacement, it's becoming apparent that, despite their assertions, Marvel is very much in risk of missing their 2015 date and will be short on superhero movies next year.
The Hollywood Reporter has some backstory on Wright's departure and it's nothing we haven't heard before (the two sides clashed over Marvel's rewrites of Wright's script, etc.), but does include some new and important bits of information. Namely, that Wright wasn't the only part of the creative team to depart the film: the heads of department also left the film once it became clear that Wright was no longer with the production. As with Wright's replacement, Marvel is busy scrambling to find new key crew members.
The good news is that star Paul Rudd is still attached to the film (although, if we had to guess, likely less by his own choice - he's already signed his contract), so no actors need to be replaced. But, replacing Wright will still be a substantial effort. As has been mentioned ad nauseam, Wright had been working on the film for over 8 years and the project is very much infused with his own personal style. It won't be easy to find a director who's comfortable working with what is given to him/her instead of something they developed on their own. (When this last happened on 'X-Men: The Last Stand,' Fox hired Brett Ratner to replace the departed Matthew Vaughn last minute and we all know how that turned out.)
One final note that should be surprising, is that there is some hand-wringing among Marvel and Disney execs about James Gunn's upcoming 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and they internally wondered whether they should be sinking so much money into another quirky superhero movie that doesn't fit neatly into the 'Avengers' universe.
'Ant-Man' was originally set to begin filming next week, then was pushed back to July 28, but it won't make that start date either. As production continues to be delayed, one has to wonder whether a new director will be able to keep this film on track for next summer.