Fans of filmmaker Edgar Wright only have a few pieces of cinema they can turn to when they need their jaunty pop-culture riffing fix: “Spaced,” Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and trying to discern which of the undead extras in the re-make of the Dawn of the Dead are he and Simon Pegg. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I could use a little bit more Wright in my life. Not that there’s any rush, because it seems we might have an embarrassment of riches in the not-too-distant future. Wright has been circling several projects since wrapping Scott Pilgrim, most notably Ant-Man for Marvel and The World’s End, the concluding chapter in his pseudo-trilogy with Simon Pegg; he’s also been attached to the Night Stalker adaptation, but that’s still in the earliest stages. These other two, however, could both, possibly, if we imagineer it, begin shooting this year.
The World’s End is already scheduled for a September start date, but with the recent, records breaking success of The Avengers, Marvel is understandably very excited about the future of the franchise, and Ant-Man (Hank Pym, if you’re nasty) is a comic mainstay and fan favorite. Wright has stated that he could somehow shoot both movies this year, but considering 2012 is nearly half over and the Mayan Apocalypse is still penciled in for December 21, it’s probably more likely that he could finish World’s End and begin pre-production on Ant-Man this year. Undoubtedly, it would take a super human effort to actually complete both, and make them worthwhile. Or, Marvel could pony up the big bucks (relatively speaking, they’re notoriously cheap bastards) and quietly demand their property gets top priority. Or, Wright could throw up his hands about the whole thing and quit the industry altogether, proving to the Internet once and for all that he’s not a monkey! He’s a man! A monkey… man!
If I were Wright, I’d find this a terrible position to be in, because by choosing one project over another you instantly leave open the possibility that the other project might not happen with you, or not at all. Look at Guillermo del Toro, who’s first movie since 2008 still won’t be out until next year and it’s merely the first he’ll actually seen through to completion since Hellboy II. For Wright, he likely feels the pull to get the band back together with Pegg and Frost, and he also knows his audiences’ patience for World’s End (or something like it) can only last so long. But he’s merely a hired gun for Marvel, and just because he and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) have been working hard on their Ant-Man script for years that doesn’t make the studio beholden to their talents. It’s entirely feasible Marvel gets, well, antsy and decides they can no longer wait, and nobody would blame Wright for abandoning the super hero for his passion project. After all, Scott Pilgrim wasn’t received as positively as everyone expected, this might be his next (maybe even last) chance to become the next Favreau (Iron Man) or Whedon (The Avengers). Here’s hoping he can find a way to balance passion with finances, and become the next Spielberg instead.
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his wares can be purchased here (yes, you read that right, there’s another issue finally available). Actually, he hopes Wright improves upon the Spielberg formula and avoids cinemabetes in his middle age.