Originally, the Ant-Man movie didn’t need a director. There was no search to be launched, no shortlist, no dream team, no meeting-taking. Weirdly, the movie really needed a studio — sort of. Of course an Ant-Man movie would be a Marvel movie, but Marvel Studios was long resistant to launch the title, even with filmmaker Edgar Wright so famously gung-ho on the gig and so firmly attached to directing the thing, no matter when the studio finally decided that the mid-level, ant-sized superhero really could fit into its grand vision of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The director and the studio went back and forth for years before Marvel officially set Wright for the job and announced that, hey, they’re actually making the movie.
That, of course, all changed two weeks ago, when Wright left the project (one he’s been working on for nearly a decade) over creative differences. In the relatively scant time since, Marvel has scrambled to find a new director (or, at the very least, that’s what it looks like from the outside) with continually disappointing results. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Is there some kind of timeline we can look at? There is! Behold — a brief history of the search for the Ant-Man director who was already in place for nearly this entire time before everything went to hell.
March 11, 2008 – Wright confirms the film is his next movie and that he’s already got a draft done.
April 26, 2010 – Wright and Marvel reportedly ready for a sit-down chat to plan out the film, still slated to be his next movie.
January 13, 2011 – Wright and Marvel apparently have that chat — but it’s casual — and Wright preps to take another pass at the script with Joe Cornish.
April 20, 2012 – Marvel head Kevin Feige claims the Ant-Man movie is “as close as it’s ever been.” This eventually sounds like a wholly philosophical claim, which is…fun.
May 9, 2012 – A September production start is announced for Wright’s The World’s End, the final film in his Cornetto Trilogy and the project he decided to film before Ant-Man (for both personal and professional reasons, and apparently with the full understanding of Marvel). The film opens in August of 2013.
July 14, 2012 – Marvel finally officially announces that they will be making an Ant-Man film — directed by Wright! — during their Comic-Con presentation in Hall H. (Guardians of the Galaxy is announced during the same chunk o’ nerdy goodness.)
July 30, 2012 – It’s reported that Wright will film Ant-Man in London right after Thor: The Dark World shoots.
September 10, 2013 – The film’s release date is pushed up from November 2015 to July 2015.
October 2, 2013 – Wright posts some tantalizing looks at the film on his Twitter.
December 19, 2013 – Paul Rudd is cast as Ant-Man.
May 23, 2014 – Wright leaves the production over creative differences, while Marvel claims that this will not effect its release date and that the search for a new director is going strong.
May 30, 2014 – The Hollywood Reporter reports that Marvel has a current shortlist that includes Adam McKay, Rawson Marshall Thurber and Ruben Fleischer.
May 30, 2014 – AICN reports, mere hours after the first THR list, that McKay is already in talks for the gig.
May 30, 2014 – The Wrap reports that Thurber is the “top pick” for the job, even as news leaks out that McKay is in talks. A head-scratcher.
May 31, 2014 – One day after McKay’s potential attachment is widely discussed, Variety reports that he has passed on the job.
June 3, 2014 – ThisIsInfamous reports that Thurber has been offered the gig and has also passed on it.
June 4, 2014 – But wait! AICN’s Mr. Beaks tweets that Thurber hasn’t passed on the job — because he hasn’t actually been offered it.
This moment right now, until we actually have to update this post – Ant-Man still doesn’t have a director, and Thurber could be a) the top pick, b) not the top pick, c) already out of contention. You pick!