Who’s to blame for Ratchet & Clank, a movie that was roundly rejected by both critics and moviegoers?

Well, we know who’s not to blame: screenwriter T.J. Fixman. And the reason we know that is because he’s letting everyone know how little he had to do with the film in which he’s listed as one of its three writers, as well as associate producer.

T.J. Fixman.
T.J. Fixman.

In a post published on his website in early April, Fixman took the unusual step of distancing himself from a film before its release while attempting to give most of the credit for the final product to the movie’s other two writers: Kevin Munroe (who also directed the film) and Gerry Swallow. Despite writing the original draft of the film, Fixman, a key writer on the Ratchet & Clank video game franchise, wrote, “If anyone deserves credit or accolades for the final product, it’s them.”

In the post, Fixman states that he left the film over two years ago, which may seem like a long time, except that Rainmaker CEO Michael Hefferon recently told Animation Magazine that the film was completed in March 2015 and had been awaiting distribution. That means Fixman left the project roughly a year before its release, perhaps a bit early but not unusual for a screenwriter whose work is finished on a lower-budget film.

Fixman wrote that he left for a number of reasons, with “the first and most important” being his schedule:

“At the time that Ratchet was moving into production, I had jumped into my Fox project (The Men Who Kill) while also working on a Disney project and a New Line project. I never want my output to be anything less than 100%, so I needed to make some tough decisions. My contract for Ratchet was wrapping up, and it seemed like a good time to pass off the baton.

The other reason he cites was “a simple difference of opinion” with director/writer Munroe. “This happens on pretty much every project in development, so it’s very normal,” Fixman noted. “No one is ever right or wrong. I didn’t create the Ratchet franchise, so I certainly have no hold or authority over its story, characters, or tone—and Kevin deserved to have his handcuffs taken off so he could create his own unique vision for the movie universe. He’s a talented director and it was a very amicable split, so I wish him and the team the best.”

Fixman eventually concedes that his “fingerprints are still on the movie, and several of my jokes and plot points are still in.” The careful wording of his post, and the deflection of credit, suggests that Fixman had a pretty good idea how the film was going to turn out, even if he hadn’t seen the final cut at the time that he wrote his post. Over a month after he published the post, he’s still pinned the tweet promoting his “I didn’t do it” post to the top of his Twitter account.

Fixman has every reason to distance himself from the project, too. As he noted in his post, his screenwriting career is heating up and he’s sold multiple scripts to major studios in the past few years, and has other projects in development.

He’s not entirely done with animation either. Last January Sony brought him in to rewrite the post-Genndy version of Popeye.

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