Ant-Man Stars Considered Leaving the Movie After Edgar Wright's Exit

Since the Marvel Cinematic Universe started there's seemingly been very little turmoil on the inside at Marvel Studios, more often than not the director that is announced to make a project ends up doing it. There are exceptions though like Patty Jenkins on Thor: The Dark World or Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson who was attached to the 2021 sequel but departed after creative differences. The biggest example of this is fan-favorite director Edgar Wright, who was announced to direct an Ant-Man movie back in 2006 but ended up departing the project after 8 more years of development and not a frame of footage shot. Now we know that when Edgar left, his cast almost went too.

In the extensive new book, The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, authors Tara Bennett and Paul Terry reveal that the fallout of Wright's departure had stars Paull Rudd and Evangeline Lilly reconsidering their place in the film. Rudd said, "When I found out I was buying groceries in upstate New York, and I got a call. My manager said, 'Well, I've got some bad news.' I knew immediately. Then Edgar called, and I clicked over. And then I stood in the parking lot of an A&P for about an hour and a half talking to Kevin [Feige] about, 'What are you gonna do? We have to try and get Edgar back.' I mean, I was really worried and nervous."

Lilly added, "Being the blue-collar, underdog person that I am, I assumed the big brass were muscling out this passionate creative who had built something over eight years with all of his blood, sweat, toil, and love, and that it was an injustice," shares Lilly. "And I was so glad that I hadn't signed my contract yet. I really was prepared to walk with him." Then, Lilly admits, she took a breath. "I went through the process I'd been through already: I'd read the script, gone through script notes and creative discussions, and I thought, 'That doesn't reflect what my experience has been, so maybe I shouldn't jump to conclusions. Maybe there's a good reason for the split, on both sides.'"

Rudd went on to reveal that staying on the project and working on the script with Adam McKay ended up causing him to fall back in love with the material and remain the hero.

For fans that have always wondered "What Might Have Been," Brad Winderbaum, a production & development executive at Marvel Studios, revealed that Wright's Ant-Man almost certainly would have been made if it had happened after it was announced and not seven years after the MCU began.

"Edgar Wright's Ant-Man could have only been made in 2006," Winderbaum revealed. "If he had made it then, instead of doing Scott Pilgrim, there would be an Edgar Wright Ant-Man. And it would have been part of Phase One. And Ant-Man would have been in The Avengers. By the time we were making Ant-Man, however, we were in a post-Guardians of the Galaxy world. We were in a post-Winter Soldier world. We had learned a lot about ourselves and about how to build a [cinematic] universe. And that was: We could play all different songs, tonally-we could bring in wildly different directors, like Shane Black versus the Russos versus James Gunn-but there was always going to be a sandbox. Shane Black's Iron Man 3 has a lot to do with Tony having PTSD, and that's about the events in The Avengers. There was always going to be a Captain America who has a history with the Avengers. There was always going to be a Thanos who was eventually going to be a 'big bad' in an Avengers movie. There's a universe outside a single film that can't be ignored...Edgar, to his credit, really did try to make it work. It just was untenable."