The story of how Marvel’s ANT-MAN inched its way to the big screen is practically the stuff of legend in fanboy circles. From Edgar Wright pitching the film before there was any “Cinematic Universes” to discuss, to the English writer-directer working on the film for years, to murmurs of clashes with Kevin Feige over the direction of the film now that the studio wanted to incorporate the film into its larger plans, the deceptive casting campaign where major star Paul Rudd was revealed to be playing the titular hero after months of denials, and- ultimately- Wright’s departure from the film, there was a lot to digest. For many, the loss of Wright was monumental because he would’ve been the first really unique voices to sit in the director’s chair of a Marvel film.
While Jon Favreau, Joss Whedon, and others did great work bringing Marvel’s plans to fruition, you could always sense that they felt compelled to work within the studio’s strict guidelines. For now, the closest we’ve seen to a real auteur getting the chance to shape his corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is James Gunn- and look how refreshing his GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY was. Wright’s ANT-MAN probably would’ve been a very off-beat, very original film. One that would’ve stuck out when placed alongside Marvel’s mostly very square-jawed slate of films. Alas, we’ll never know what might’ve been, as Peyton Reed stepped in to direct, and Adam McKay took over scripting duties.
While Reed’s resumÃ© had a couple of admirable entries, the hiring of McKay- announced rather quietly- was a fairly sizable “get” for Marvel. He’d crafted a couple of the most-quoted, most-beloved comedies of the new millennium in ANCHORMAN and STEP BROTHERS, and had other notable hits like THE OTHER GUYS and TALLADEGA NIGHTS to his credit as well. Even now, his film THE BIG SHORT, the writer-director’s first real foray into drama, is up for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. So the fact that Marvel was able to reel him in to work on the script for one of their smaller films was, to quote Ron Burgundy, “kind of a big deal.”
As such, some have wondered if McKay would be willing to stick around to be part of Marvel’s creative backbone with regard to its ANT-MAN plans. We already know there’s a sequel in the works, and there’ve been murmurs that the studio would consider a WASP solo adventure for Evangeline Lilly. Would McKay be around to help bring these films to the big screen, this time from a more from-scratch starting point as opposed to reworking someone else’s script?
IGN had the chance to speak with McKay about THE BIG SHORT and asked him about these matters.
On the subject of returning for future ANT-MAN films:
“I donâ€™t know what my involvementâ€™s going to be yet. Iâ€™ve been talking to Peyton Reed and to Rudd, but you know Marvel has a process that they do so they may have other writers working on a script â€“ the only thing I tell â€˜em is â€˜If you need me, Iâ€™m here.â€™ I love working on those â€“ itâ€™s really fun. It was also very fun just writing. And fortunately we had a great director in Peyton Reed so we wrote all this crazy stuff and then he did it really well. I was like â€˜I could get used to this!â€™ Itâ€™s certainly a lot easier â€“ I just showed up at the premiere and was like â€˜Good job!â€™”
What about a WASP movie? McKay’s answer includes an interesting observation, about how Marvel has almost been going chronologically in terms of unveiling certain characters in a similar fashion to how they were handled in the books.
“Possibly. I think it all depends on this sequel and how the character plays. Certainly thereâ€™s a lot of female superheroes in the Marvel universe so Iâ€™m sure youâ€™re going to see them start to spread out. They sort of started with their kind of bedrock characters from the 60s and the 70s and I think you saw more of an explosion of female characters happening in the 80s and then the 90s. […] But thatâ€™d be interesting, a Wasp movie. I donâ€™t know, thatâ€™d be very interesting. I always think of the two of them as kind of together â€“ they always were in the comics â€“ but why not. Sure.”
And would he ever direct one of these, despite enjoying being just a writer on ANT-MAN so much?
“I would. I would direct one down the line. Iâ€™d also like to create my own superhero too. Thereâ€™s a lot of great Marvel characters but I always think of ‘The Matrix’ really as a comic book movie where they created an original comic book, and I would love to do something like that.”
What do you think out there, Fanboy Nation? Would you want to see McKay back at the writer’s desk for a Marvel film? Would you rather have him pull the kind of double duty he’s known for and also sit in the director’s chair? Or would you rather he drift off to make another seven Will Ferrell movies? Sound off!