Beyond a tweeted-and-deleted photo of Buster Keaton, Edgar Wright has yet to make a public statement on his "Ant-Man" exit. Not so for Marvel Studios CEO Kevin Feige, who has been asked about Wright's departure multiple times throughout the press tour for "Guardians of the Galaxy," the studio's next entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"We sat round a table and we realized it was not working," Feige told The Guardian in a recent interview. "A part of me wishes we could have figured that out in the eight years we were working on it. But better for us and for Edgar that we figure it out then, and not move it through production."
At the time of Wright's divorce from "Ant-Man," Marvel cited creative differences between itself and the director as reason for the split. "The Marvel movies are very collaborative, and I think they are more collaborative than what he had been used to," Feige told The Guardian. "And I totally respect that."
What was not respected, at least in some fan circles, was Marvel itself. The blockbuster production company was at the center of a swift backlash in the wake of Wright leaving the project.
"I expected it," Feige told HuffPost Entertainment when asked if he was surprised by the reaction. As for whether he thought the studio deserved some benefit of the doubt from fans, Feige was pragmatic with his response: "I expect the benefit of the doubt when the lights go down and the movie starts. That's really the only time we need the benefit of the doubt."
In the end, Wright was replaced on "Ant-Man" by Peyton Reed, a man Feige first met with almost 10 years ago to discuss a version of "Fantastic Four" that 20th Century Fox would later abandon. "Things work out for a reason," Feige said. "A lot of the times it feels that way for us, but in particular with what is happening on 'Ant-Man.'"
And while it was Wright who cast stars Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas in the film that Reed will now direct, Feige said that the cast and crew of "Ant-Man" have meshed nicely with their new director as production gets underway.
"It's all working out very well. They couldn't be more enthusiastic now for where the movie is headed under Peyton's direction," Feige said. "Yeah, there was a certain amount of shock and disappoint, as there was for all of us, when we parted ways with Edgar. But they're all professionals and all excited for the film and for the ideas behind the film and for where we're taking the film. Now it is an awesome and unified cast and crew moving forward."