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For a moment after Edgar Wright left the production of Marvel Studio's Ant-Man, the entire project looked like it had the possibility to fall apart at the seams. Not only did the film lose a director, but shortly after Wright's departure, it started to lose cast members due to re-writes and schedule conflicts. What we didn't know, until now, is that Evangeline Lilly almost left the project during this point of turmoil, and it was on her own accord.
BuzzFeed interviewed Lilly as she was promoting The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies, as well as her children's book, "The Squickerwonkers." During the interview, Lilly had nothing but admiration for Edgar Wright's filmmaking prowess, but at the same time she reflected on the split between him and Marvel as the right thing to do for the Ant-Man project. In particular, her feedback in the quote below focused on the Marvel mandated re-write showed just how much of a divide the Wright draft could have created.
"...I feel like, if [Marvel] had created Edgar’s incredible vision — which would have been, like, classic comic book — it would have been such a riot to film [and] it would have been so much fun to watch. [But] it wouldn’t have fit in the Marvel Universe. It would have stuck out like a sore thumb, no matter how good it was. It just would have taken you away from this cohesive universe they’re trying to create. And therefore it ruins the suspended disbelief that they’ve built."
Evangeline Lilly's comments confirm that the big sticking point that was the cause of the Edgar Wright/Marvel split was, in fact, Wright's disconnection from the Marvel Cinematic Universe at large. Lilly further explained in the following comment just how right Marvel was to execute their re-write.
"I saw with my own eyes that Marvel had just pulled the script into their world. I mean, they’ve established a universe, and everyone has come to expect a certain aesthetic [and] a certain feel for Marvel films. And what Edgar was creating was much more in the Edgar Wright camp of films. They were very different."
It's no surprise that Wright's Ant-Man would have fallen in line with the tone of such films as The World's End, or even Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. That's just the type of films that Edgar Wright makes, and Marvel should have kept that in mind when hiring him to work on their project so many years ago. Had Edgar Wright made the film before Jon Favreau's Iron Man started the ball rolling, there would have been plenty more room for Wright to clown around with his typical schtick.
However, once Ant-Man was properly moving forward, the Marvel Cinematic Universe had already changed so much that Ant-Man needed to change with it. While it's easy for Wright's fans to decry Marvel for facilitating the split, Evangeline Lilly has an angle of insight most of us wish we'd had: she's read both versions of the script. Her remarks aren't an ill tempered snipe, they're a constructive criticism that's leveled with the heart of both a Marvel and Edgar Wright fan.
We'll see if the Marvel approved/Adam McKay re-worked version of Ant-Man is as good as Evangeline Lilly says when it hits theaters on July 17, 2015. If you're a big Lilly fan, you'll next be able to see her in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies on December 17th.