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Edgar Wright Exits Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’ as Director

In a surprise announcement, Edgar Wright has left Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man” as its director, the company said Friday.

Marvel is zeroing in on a new filmmaker, but is not in negotiations with one yet, Variety can confirm. When announcing Wright’s departure, Marvel said “a new director will be announced shortly.”

Hollywood and Marvel’s fan community will be scratching its head for awhile over this one, considering Wright has been attached to “Ant-Man” since 2006 — before the first “Iron Man” film — as a screenwriter. He has regularly gone to San Diego Comic-Con to give updates on the project’s development, and even showed test footage in 2012 of his approach to bringing the size-shifting character to the bigscreen.

Marvel and Wright parted ways “due to differences  in their vision of the film,” the company and director said in a statement.

The decision to move on is amicable, they added, and does not impact the release date of July 17, 2015. The film had originally been dated for Nov. 6, 2015.

Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly star in the film, with Corey Stoll, Michael Pena and Patrick Wilson.

SEE ALSO: ‘Godzilla’s’ Gareth Edwards to Direct ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff

In addition to helming, Wright also co-wrote the script with Joe Cornish (“Attack the Block”). Wright most recently directed the comedy “The World’s End,” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead” before that.

Cornish could conceivably take over the project, given his close involvement with it over the years.

He had been considered for “Star Trek 3” but opted for Universal’s spy thriller “Section 6,” set to star Jack O’Connell, instead. Film revolves around the formation of British intelligence agency MI6.

Marvel is developing “Ant-Man” as a potential new franchise as part of its third phase of films, the way it hopes to introduce the characters in “Guardians of the Galaxy” in August to hopefully appear in multiple movies.

In the comicbooks, Ant-Man is the alter-ego of biochemist Hank Pym, who uses subatomic particles to create a size-altering formula and when tests go awry, realizes he can also communicate with and control insects. The character also plays a key role in forming the Avengers, but that role will have to change in the films.

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