For nearly 10 years, Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy mastermind Edgar Wright worked on Marvel’s Ant-Man and was eager to direct the tiny superhero adventure. Then in May 2014, Wright left the project due to creative differences and personality issues. Nearly two weeks later, Bring It On’s Peyton Reed was hired as his replacements and the script went through rewrites at the hands of the film’s lead Paul Rudd and comedy superstar Adam McKay. Fortunately for Wright and his fans, many of the elements the previous director drew on have remained intact, according to Reed.
When asked by Uproxx whether he felt any pressure taking a project with this much baggage, Reed noted that, although he wanted to make Ant-Man his own, he liked much of what was in Wright’s script, like one of the big battles. Said Reed:
I read all of the existing drafts that Edgar and Joe wrote. It was clearly Edgar and Joe’s idea to make this a heist movie and to sort of loosely base it on Marvel Premiere “To Steal an Ant-Man” that introduced Scott Lang. It was also their idea to create this Hank Pym/Scott Lang, mentor/mentee relationship. And, also, their idea to kind of do a Marvel movie where the third act battle take place in a little girl’s bedroom. Genius. It was great.
Ant-Man shows Scott as a thief before being recruited by Hank Pym to steal the Yellowjacket armor from Darren Cross. Unlike in the 1979 comic story, where he deliberately stole Pym’s shrinking technology to help his sick daughter, Scott will stumble upon the Ant-Man suit by accident in the film, later learning how to use it under Hank and Hope Van Dyne’s supervision. While the age difference between Hank and Scott is more noticeable in the movie, Hank did act as an unofficial mentor to Scott in the comics, and after seeing that the former thief was a good man, he let Scott continue to be Ant-Man, provided he used the suit for good.
While Reed kept the bedroom fight (complete with Thomas the Tank Engine) and other Wright elements, he understandably threw in unique contributions of his own. Collaborating with Rudd and McKay, some of these additions included introducing the quantum realm (a.k.a. the MCU’s version of the Microverse) and pitting Scott against another established Marvel character. Reed also made sure that the movie would work as a standalone tale despite existing in the MCU, though Scott will get the chance to interact with the Avengers next year in Captain America: Civil War. Despite the creative shift, Wright’s contributions to the films won’t go unnoticed, as he’s been given a “Story By” credit.
Ant-Man hits theaters on July 17.