The elephant in the room was not largely addressed during Marvel’s Comic-Con “Ant-Man” panel. Onstage, there was little talk of the older iteration of “Ant-Man” that was going to be directed by a filmmaker you might have heard of named Edgar Wright (though there was a guy loyally standing outside of the convention center all day with a sign that said “Edgar Wright was right”). If the “Ant-Man” snafu in May was a PR disaster for the studio, all was forgotten by the Comic-Com faithful once the celebrity glad-handing began and teaser footage unspooled (ahh, those fickle fans, who initially insisted they’d no longer pay to see this film…).
But Wright’s departure from the series was gently addressed by “Ant-Man” director Peyton Reed and star Paul Rudd backstage. In case you’re wondering, “Ant-Man” is a “heist movie, also a mentor/mentee movie, a hero passing the torch which we haven’t done [before],” Marvel honcho Kevin Feige said in an interview yesterday.
"It was pretty bumpy for sure and I was really sad about it,” Rudd said of the “Ant-Man” imbroglio, noting that Wright is his friend and he still talks to him almost every day. “That being said, I love where we’re at now and [the movie has] opened up and grown in a new exciting way.
"While it wasn't terra ferma there for a while, my enthusiasm and passion is certainly there for where we're at now and what Peyton's going to do. I’m excited about this new direction,” Rudd added. "So many new aspects have come on to it, but It's still Edgar and Joe [Cornish's] story," Rudd said. “But we’ve added a lot of different things to it.”
“It’s definitely evolved,” Reed acknowledged. “There’s some new character stuff that didn't exist before, and also some subtle things that bring it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s still very much the DNA of what Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish wrote."
In an interview with MTV (see the video below), Rudd was a bit more off-message and indicated that getting past Wright's departure from the movie required “a rethinking of things.” The actor also said director Adam McKay, with whom he had worked with in the "Anchorman" movies and who was brought on to help revise the screenplay, helped smooth the transition. "There are a lot of things involved that I’m really psyched about. It’s been fun sitting down with Adam and coming up with stuff."
Reed and Rudd are clearly slinging stock answers here, but it's hard not to feel some sympathy for them in terms of what they can and cannot say. We’ll pass it to you. Does “Ant-Man” still interest you? If you’re one of the fans that angrily vowed early on to never see the movie, has your mind been changed?
“Ant-Man” hits theaters July 17, 2015, though note the teaser footage said Summer 2015. Giving themselves some wiggle room? “Ant-Man” starts shooting in two weeks in Atlanta. Watch interviews and the full Comic-Con panel below. [Some video collated by ComicBookMovie]