I don’t think Edgar Wright stepping down asis going to ruin Ant-Man.
But I do think it will look like Marvel betrayed their fan base.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has done wonders in breeding interest for comic book films. It’s actually created the same kind of rabid curiosity that comic book fans hold for their favorite comic series. It gives fans something special to look forward to, a series of interconnected films that they can keep up with and pick apart, looking at how all the storylines and characters factor in with one another, not to mention that they’re blockbusters among mainstream audiences. It’s the first of its kind in the medium of film, and it’s actually pretty special.
Edgar Wright is a cult director. Not everyone has seen Shaun of the Dead, or Hot Fuzz, or The World’s End. And if you look at the box office results of Scott Pilgrim, you know that it was definitely lacking in viewership. But the people who have seen and like those movies, REALLY like those movies. So you combine this director who creates films that seem to speak to certain people, and you combine him with Marvel Comics characters, creations that have spoken to certain people for decades, and you have a storm of interest.
And finally, you have the character of Ant-Man, who the general public is mostly unaware of. But if there is one person in the world who can make an awesome movie about a character with limited exposure, it’s Edgar Wright.
And then, for reasons that aren’t totally certain (creative differences and being behind schedule are usually cited), Edgar Wright leaves the project, pushed away by Marvel.
Now, despite the way that movies are made, Marvel/Disney looks like the bad guy. They instantly go from being the company that has done their best to promote a love for these superheroes, in a way that appeals to both diehard and new fans of them, to the corporate bully, obsessed with money and power. Movies require a lot of money, and are made within a limited amount of time. And if someone isn’t delivering on their end in the eyes of the heads of the company, especially someone as important as the director, they’re quick to get replaced. That’s how things have worked for years, especially with someone like Wright, who doesn’t have the clout of a guy like Steven Spielberg to do everything his way if he wants.
I’m sure that Ant-Man is still going to at least be a decent film. But to hardcore fans, it’s going to forever be a “what could’ve been.” Interest for the actual movie will be mostly replaced by interest in how Edgar Wright would’ve made the movie had he not dropped from the project. And while that probably won’t severely damage the money that this movie will make (I have no way to predict the amount. Ant-Man is a B List character, but Marvel definitely knows how to market their films), fans are going to hold it against, and be wary of Marvel for a little while.