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Unmade Superhero Movies

With all this talk of Batman:Year One, what other unrealized flicks would make good comics?

 What Miller and Aronofsky's YEAR ONE turned into?

Years before BATMAN BEGINS made it to theaters, Darren Aronofsky and Frank Miller worked on an adaptation of BATMAN: YEAR ONE that a BLACK SWAN-related interview at Clothes on Film recently put back into the collective online dialog.The script caused a lot of stir in the early 2000s when reports leaked of the radical liberties it took with the Bat-mythos. Among other changes, it had Batman working out of a junkyard and Alfred recast as a chubby mechanic. When asked about the unrealized project, Aronofsky said he was currently working on turning a difficult-to-produce screenplay into a comic. It’s unclear as to whether he was referring to YEAR ONE or an unrelated screenplay, but I could easily see his and Miller’s vision executed as an Elseworlds mini or a Tale of the Multiverse.

What’s fascinating about following these unrealized stories is that you can see how they subtly influence later works from the creators. In the case of YEAR ONE, I suspect that Miller’s iconoclastic ideas about Batman eventually fed into ALL-STAR BATMAN. Similarily, considering how Aronofsky previously tried to make a movie out of Miller’s RONIN, I see strong influences from the comic in his flick, THE FOUNTAIN. Swap samurai for conquistadors and you’ll notice a lot similarities in these alternately cerebral and visceral stories that weave together parallel plot threads across space, time and consciousness. 

Bringing this talk full-circle, it’s fitting that Aronofsky actually commissioned Kent Williams to adapt an earlier, more ambitious draft of THE FOUNTAIN’s screenplay into an OGN. There is, of course, a whole slew of unproduced comics-based screenplays floating around online and they're interesting curiosities in themselves. I don't know if we'll ever see the Wachowskis’ script for PLASTIC MAN, Roger Avary’s adaptation SANDMAN or Kevin Smith’s infamous SUPERMAN LIVES manifest in some officially printed-and-released form, but I'd love to take this opportunity to highlight some unrealized movies I'd love to see realized as comics someday.  == TEASER ==

    

BLADE III 

David Goyer’s original idea for the finale of this movie trilogy was to set the third one 20 years after the second, in a future where the vampires had actually succeeded in their world domination plans. Blade would literally be the last remaining resistance, still young because of his Dhamphiric biology (saving Snipes from cumbersome old man make-up, of course.) Ultimately, this was deemed too dark and we got the mess that BLADE TRINITY was. Oddly enough, we basically got to see this in last year’s horror flick DAYBREAKERS, but I’m still intrigued to see how it might’ve spun out. It not only would’ve been a fitting evolution of the vampire nations' scheming, it also would’ve raised some interesting issues of whether Blade was a savior or a terrorist in a world where the whole population had been turned. 

THE CROW 2037: A NEW WORLD OF GODS AND MONSTERS 

Years before he got to make HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, shock-master Rob Zombie was hired to write a script for a third CROW movie with the idea that he’d direct it, too. White Zombie had previously contributed to the CROW: CITY OF ANGELS soundtrack, so he was a fitting, if unorthodox, choice. This would’ve been a radical departure from the tradition of gothic romance established by James O’Barr’s comic, recasting the Crow as a swashbuckling hero who wandered across a nightmarish, rock n’ roll future and sought revenge on a demonic overlord who'd murdered him as a child. The script was honestly pretty messy, but I loved the whole notion of moving the core concept of the Crow into such a daring new direction with a setting that was in some forbidden no man's land between MAD MAX's post-Apocalyptic desert and the nightmarish funhouse vision of New York in THE WARRIORS

THE BATMAN 

Going back even farther (before the release of the '89 Burton BATMAN movie!) is a script that's probably the purest translation of the Caped Crusader I’ve read. Tom Mankiewicz was a well-established screenwriter who’d worked on the first SUPERMAN movie and his telling of Batman's origin is in much the same vein as that classic, following Bruce Wayne from childhood through adolescence and up until his early days as the Dark Knight. Drawing heavily from the classic O'Neil/Adams run, this featured Rupert Thorne, the Penguin and the Joker as villains (with the clown price of crime having the same eloquent speech style he use in those days,) and Silver St. Cloud as the love interest. Robin showed up in the third act and the climatic fight did, indeed, take place on a giant type-writer (although not in a tongue-in-cheek way.) This didn’t have the gothic edge of Burton’s Batman, nor the gonzo camp of Schumacher's, nor the gritty realism of Nolan’s - - it was Batman as he was in the comics. While I wouldn't necessarily prefer to see this version, I'm still intrigued by what a more straightforward Batman movie would've looked like in the early 80s.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS!  &  UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon   here  &   here .  Follow him on Twitter:  @tompinchuk

29 Comments
Posted by Jabor

Unmade superhero movies..... Blade, batman......And The Flash? when is going to be a movie about the fastest man alive???

Posted by dondasch

Unmade superhero movie=Wonder Woman.  Long past due.
 
Frankly, anything involving the writing of Kevin Smith and the directing of Rob Zombie should be immediately canned.

Posted by Mumbles

i didnt think blade 3 was a mess...just not on the same page as 1 and 2.

Posted by longbowhunter

I've never seen the Fountain. I'll check it out.
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Posted by Doctor!!!!!

They really need a Flash movie.... its a real shame!

Posted by eldestrisk

I didn't knew about that Batman script, it sure sounds interesting.

Posted by Rowen545

If Del Toro directs a Dr. Strange movie I would see that in a heartbeat

Posted by KRYPTON

Batman Year One is a Dc Universe Animated film that is said to come out later this year

Posted by Video_Martian
@Doctor!!!!! said:
" They really need a Flash movie.... its a real shame! "
Posted by JonesDeini

Interesting stuff.

Edited by MysterioMaximus

I wouldn't mind seeing Dr. Strange done. Between him and Flash, they're the two untouched I'd probably want to see most. I think they have the most solo movie potential of the yet to be done. I could sincerely care less about Wonder Woman frankly. 
 
I also have to confess that while it would never be jaw-dropping and probably not even especially successful, I do have an authentic desire to see an Ant-Man movie.
 
As for characters done but story-arcs I'd like to see, I always wanted to see a Kraven's Last Hunt Spider-Man film with the Lizard in the Vermin role. I went as far as to begin writing elements of it.  
 
For down the road reboots:  Daredevil I think is the one that has the most potential but was originally the most botched. Love to see him done some justice on screen. I wouldn't mind seeing Fantastic Four re-done eventually. Even X-Men, despite the fact that I love the first two films, I would enjoy seeing retouched with more comic continuity and accuracy in mind. Make the first class the actual first class (Cyclops, Jean, Beast, Angel, Iceman), for example.

Posted by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge
@dondasch: I agree about the WONDER WOMAN project.....it's been on hold for nearly 10 years.....and yet an animated movie was made instead.....
Posted by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge

I know another unused film project.......KEVIN SMITH'S GREEN HORNET  BACK IN 2004 (now the hit comic book series at DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT)

Green Hornet and Kato
Posted by They Killed Cap!

When marvel bought the right to Marvel Man there were also plans for a movie...i read somewhere. That would be a great movie. I also read that Batman Beyound had been kicked around.
Posted by aouric

First off great topic! David Goyer's version of blade I would had love to see that story made into a movie! I can't understand why Marvel don't have faith in their darker heroes to hold their own weight at the box office without feeling they have to please the 12 and under crowd.  
 
They've made the very same mistake with Daredevil, Elecktra, Ghost Rider, and Punisher, those movies I've mention should be G or R rated movies, P-13 will not do these characters justice in my opinion!

Posted by darthelmo

I may be the only one, but I'd like to see a movie about Firestom or the Wil Payton incarnation of Starman.
Posted by Metatron_Da_Don
@JonesDeini said:
" Interesting stuff. "
2 say the least, Blade as the sole survivor though? If they did that now would Marvel b compelled to have all sorts of cameos from other now introduced supers? that would be a messy movie.
 
I wonder how the original script  ended,
Posted by JediXMan
Wonder Woman - Come on! Complete the DC Trinity already! 
Captain Marvel - Eh, I'd just like to see this. With a good fight at the end (Black Adam vs Marvel)
Spectre - Now this could be interesting. I'd see it.
 
That's all I can think of right now.
Posted by mickoreo_LZ

There's a reason some of these ideas never really came to fruition. Although Marvel really dropped the ball of the Blade III thing. Blade Trinity really was a mess, and they even had Jessica Biel in it.  
 
Seriously though, lets make The Flash happen. I wanna see Barry on the big-screen (provided its Barry, not Wally, although both are great Flashes)

Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir
@AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge said:
" I know another unused film project.......KEVIN SMITH'S GREEN HORNET  BACK IN 2004 (now the hit comic book series at DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT)

Green Hornet and Kato
"
We need more things like this, if a script won't work on the screen, try it out on the small page
Edited by Kid_Zombie

Cool Idea!
 
Would love to see;
Singers X-men 3
Singers superman returns sequel
James Camerons spider-man
Sam Raimi's Spider-man 4

Wendons Wonder Woman
 
All would be cool to see put on print

Posted by dementedtheclown

Rob Zombie is the only one who could have saved The Crow franchise.

Posted by Dude4
@dementedtheclown:
I completely agree.  Zombie couldn't have done any worse than the Crow sequels we got.
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Posted by NightFang

interesting ideas, but I don't think any of them could work as movies, unless the animated and  
hopefully these failed movie ideas could work as comics.

Posted by SuperXAsh

I would've liked to have seen Kevin Smith's Green Hornet. He seemed to have a good idea.  
 
There was also that "Super Max" movie that Goyer was working on, that would've had Green Arrow get arrested by police, had his equipment taken away, his goatee shaved off, and stuffed into a maximum security prison for superpowered types. There'd be loads of b and c-level villains in this prison (as well as proposed cameos by Lex Luthor and Joker), and I guess it would've involved Ollie trying to get out and find the people who apparently set him up or something. 
 
Sounded like it could've either been awesome... or incredibly stupid. 
 
Of course there was the proposed "Captain Marvel" movie that got canned after the success of Dark Knight, because suddenly Warner Brothers wanted more serious and dark movies. Supposedly they're bringing it back to the table, but who knows who will helm it. One of the popular options for Black Adam was Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, which would've been cool IMHO. 
 
Brian Synger's sequel to "Superman Returns", which got canned due to the relatively poor performance and reception of the previous movie. Though I personally would've liked to have seen what he would've done now that he had gotten the new setup out of the way. 
 
and of course Wonder Woman. Poor f'n Wonder Woman. She's one of the most recognizable heroes of all time, one of the "Big Three" of DC Comics, but nobody seems to have any idea of what to do with her movie-wise. When Joss Whedon (of all people) can't get a movie made about you, you know you're gonna be in development limbo for a while. Whether it's her origin, her costume, or both... is anyone's guess.

Posted by Shadow_Thief

I'd like to know how much cocaine you need to ingest before you think that scrapping a "too dark" vampire/superhero film in favor of a two-hour iPod commercial is a good idea.

Posted by dvorak

"Years before he got to direct HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, shock-master Rob Zombie was hired to write a script for a third CROW movie with the idea that he’d direct it to."   
 
You guys need to self-edit better or hire a copy-editor.

Posted by Vixen

Diana movie please. Thank you.

Posted by Digifiend

I wonder how the Fantastic Four movies would've handled the Sue's pregnancy storyline? Particularly as that storyline meant her temporary replacement on the team.