Back in 2014, Marvel Studios took some major heat from its fans when Edgar Wright abruptly departed from Ant-Man. I still remember being upset myself after seeing how many years Wright dedicated towards that project, and then to see him suddenly depart. Marvel was considered by many at the time as a studio that restricted directors from the ability to get creative with these properties. Jon Favreau reportedly had a brief feud with the studio during Iron Man 2. Patty Jenkins left Thor: The Dark World during its development over creative differences. This information was rubbing not just comic book fans the wrong way, but film fans in general.
The truth is that Marvel has discovered a system of creative process that works, and through each Marvel phase is continuing to improve that formula. Part of that includes giving the directors the creative freedom to explores their characters and worlds through their own directing style. Its a two way street, and in return directors have to understand the bigger picture and where their film fits in. Ant-Man proved that not every qualified director is able to adjust their vision to fit with Marvel’s, yet it doesn’t make them any less of a director than those who can.
Since the Edgar Wright situation, Marvel has changed the perception of how they work with directors. Joe and Anthony Russo are not only returning for Captain America: Civil War, but are given the responsibility of directing the two part Avengers: Infinity War. Peyton Reed is also returning to direct Ant-Man & The Wasp in 2017. Finally, there’s James Gunn who is currently shooting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. His recent tweet during a Q&A with fans further shows Marvel’s willingness to allow directors the ability to create.
To put this tweet into context, Gunn revealed that he nearly signed on to do a TV show before returning for GOTG Vol. 2. A fan responded by accusing Marvel of limiting his creativity.
Perhaps Marvel trusts Gunn, after what he did with the first Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a terrifically fun movie, unlike anything Marvel has done. But again, Gunn is a director who has proven to Marvel his understanding for what they’re doing. Directors are always going to have to make compromises when working within a shared/cinematic universe. And Marvel has our trust to find the right people to help tell their stories.