UPDATE: I just heard back from some folks at Marvel at they categorically, up and down, completely and without hesitation deny that there is any delay on The First Avenger: Captain America or that the production is any trouble. Everything is moving forward right now, they tell me. As I suspected this story looks to be just a bullshit rumor that got spread by the internet, as bullshit rumors do, and it holds no water.

Some guy in Edinburgh is loitering around the set of John Landis’ new film Burke & Hare, and apparently he’s made friends with some members of the crew. My guess is that he’s met a PA or two, because nobody higher up on the food chain than a traffic wrangler is going to risk his position making buddies with a dude who is standing around the shoot taking pictures all the time. Anyway, this guy hears from his friend that Marvel is delaying The First Avenger: Captain America and they’re doing it so they can replace Joe Johnston as director, thanks to The Wolfman not doing well.

I don’t think this is true, and even if it is true, I still don’t think it’s true. Let me explain.

First of all, Johnston’s essentially blame-free on The Wolfman. Everybody knows he walked into a movie that was to start shooting two weeks from his hire date. While The Wolfman is pretty much a disaster at this point, Johnston is at the very least insulated. And I have to imagine that when Marvel was making their deal with Johnston the spectre of that movie tanking was very obvious (and probably allowed Marvel to get a better deal out of him). But on top of that, Johnston signed a deal. They can’t just fire him because they don’t like his last movie’s box office. They’d need another reason.

If the movie is being delayed and if it’s because they’re replacing Johnston the reason that makes more sense is that he’s being a pain in the butt with Marvel. It’s been reported that Johnston has fought with them about the budget of the movie, going so far as to threaten to walk. Maybe Marvel let him do just that after another round of budget battles.

What seems more likely to me is that the PA who is feeding this guy info is in on the local film industry gossip loop. You have to be if you want to work in film; you have to be up on what’s coming and who’s doing it and what they need. So this PA is in this loop and there are rumors that start, perhaps being sparked by the fact that Johnston did threaten to walk from Captain America some time in the recent past.

I don’t know. It’s also possible that the film is getting delayed for other reasons, like trying to work out a schedule with a star (there are a couple of Cap candidates who weren’t on that leaked list the other day because their schedules wouldn’t permit them to come aboard; could Marvel have decided to get the right guy as opposed to hitting a date? Very possible with these folks). And it’s possible that the movie isn’t delayed at all.

I put in a call to Marvel Studios and got nothing, so I’ll leave this one to folks with better contacts on the inside than what I have. This is a production that’s got a lot going on with it. Casting Cap is potentially too important to be left to a hard deadline, I’ve heard that the script really needs some serious work and Johnston has been battling the studio for every nickel and dime he can get. A delay isn’t beyond belief, but until it comes from a more reliable source I’m not going to assume it’s the case.

Thanks to Robert R for the link to the original story.