Re-posting this after the redesign. Only I don't have the effort to re-add the pics, so this won't have any. Sorry.
Okay, the title is a little misleading. The reasoning being that I’m ranking all of the unmade comic films. I’m taking all the unmade comic movies (though I’d be willing to place money that I forgot some) that were in production, but were simply abandoned for one reason or another, and ranking them in the order of how good they sounded. I’ll also be giving a little background on the film. So, let’s start.
25. Superman Lives
What is it?: Following the failure of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, DC and Warner Bros. had several films in production to try and revive Superman onto the big screen. The film would of been based off of the successful Death of Superman story arc. The film would of featured Brainiac and Doomsday as the villains, along with Lex Luthor. The plot involves Superman dying at the hands of Doomsday until being by a robot named the Eradicator. The film was set for a release date in summer of 1998, which was also the 60 year anniversary of Superman’s debut in Action Comics.
What happened?: The film was in production for a while. Kevin Smith wrote the first script for the film in 1996, under the conditions that Superman couldn’t fly, had to wear a black costume, and had to fight a giant spider in the climax. This was the beginning of the end. As time went on, the film became worse and worse, whether it was casting Nicholas Cage as Superman and Tim Allen as Brainac or whether it was Brainiac stealing Mr. Burns’ plot to block out the sun using a giant disc (high five if you get that reference). The script kept getting rewrites and the plot kept being changed for the film. The release date kept getting pushed back until Nicholas Cage dropped out in 2000. In October 2000, Keith Giffen attempted to give a treatment for the film involving Lobo as the main villain, though it was not picked up. In February 2002, the project was officially abandoned when J. J. Abrams was hired to write a new script which would of ignored the Death of Superman and reboot the franchise, with the reboot being named Superman: Flyby.
Is it a good thing the film was never made?: Yes it is. I didn’t go into too much detail for the film, but it’s even worse than how I described it. If it had been made, I think it would of permanently killed the superhero film business, regardless of how successful Marvel was with X-Men or Spider-Man.
What is it?: Following the success of The Incredible Hulk TV Series, Marvel attempted to give She-Hulk her own TV Series, though it was announced “dead” by ABC in 1991. Marvel decided to attempt to bring She-Hulk to the big screen in the early 1990s with Larry Cohen as writer and director while Brigitte Nielsen was set to play She-Hulk.
What happened?: Little is known about the film with the exception of writer, director, and who would play She-Hulk. Nielsen did appear in a few pictures as She-Hulk (shown above) and Jennifer Walters. The film was simply abandoned with no explanation.
Is it a good thing the film was never made?: Probably. She-Hulk does have a large fan base, but I seriously doubt she could hold her own film. Plus the pics we got of Nielsen as She-Hulk were horrible and didn’t even look like her.
23. Spider-Man (1985)
What is it?: 2002′s Spider-Man was in production for well over a decade until being released. In 1985, the rights to Spider-Man were bought by Cannon Films for $225,000 and a percentage of the profit. The rights would of reverted back to Marvel if the film was not made by April 1990. Cannon chiefs Menahem Golan and his cousin Yoram Golan were going to have the film about a scientist intentionally subjecting ID-Badge photographer Peter Parker to radioactive bombardment, transforming him into a giant, suicidal, eight-armed monster. The human spider refuses to join the scientist’s new master-race of mutants, battling a succession of mutations kept in a basement laboratory.
What Happened?: It turns out that Menahem and Yoram misunderstood the concept of Spider-Man, thus leading to this idea. Unhappy with the plot, Spider-Man creator Stan Lee pushed for a new story and screenplay, resulting in a new origin story involving Dr. Octopus. The idea of Peter transforming into a giant spider monster was later used in a 14 part episode of the 1994 Spider-Man animated series.
Is it a good thing the film was never made?: Yes. People criticize films like Batman Returns for ruining the characters (only example I could think of, I loved Returns and didn’t care about the changes), but this is just MUCH worse. It ruins what Spider-Man is suppose to be and I think would of prevented him from getting his epic Sam Raimi trilogy in the 2000s.
22. Superman V
What is it?: Before the massive failure of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Cannon Films considered doing a fifth film directed by Albert Pyun. Cannon’s bankruptcy resulted in the rights reverting to Ilya and Alexander Salkind. Ilya wrote the script for Superman V (also known as Superman: The New Movie), featuring a plot involving Superman dying and being resurrected in the shrunken, bottled Krypton city of Kandor. Christopher Reeve was set to reprise the role.
What happened?: Following the massive failure of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and the success of The Death and Return of Superman comic book, Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to Superman in 1993, leading to the planned film Superman Lives (see 24).
Is it a good thing the film was never made?: Probably. Superhero films’ reputation was low due to the failures of Superman III, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, and Howard the Duck. Add the terrible plot to it, and it might of killed superhero films even more. Plus, how many good films have actually had good fifth movies (or fourth for that matter?)?
21. Superman Reborn
What is it?: Before Superman Lives entered production, Warner Bros. had plans for Superman Reborn, also based off of The Death of Superman. The film would of had a kid-friendly approach, similar to Batman Forever. The film would of involved Clark Kent’s relationship troubles with Lois Lane and Superman’s battle with Doomsday. Just as Superman dies, he professes his love to Lois and his life force jumps between them. Lois has a virgin birth, and the child grows to become 21 years old in 3 weeks, becoming the resurrected Superman and saves the world.
What happened?: Warner Bros. did not like the script because of too many similar themes from Batman Forever. The script was rewritten, with a new plot involving Brainiac creating Doomsday who was infused with kryptonite blood. Clark still has relationship problems with Lois and goes to a psychiatrist until being killed by Doomsday. An alien named Cadmus steals Superman’s corpse and brings him back to life to defeat Brainiac. Superman wears a robotic costume that would mimic his old powers until he could use his old powers again, which according to the script, are a mental discipline called “Phin-yar.” Other villains included Parasite and Silver Banshee. The script impressed Warner Bros., but Kevin Smith was hired to rewrite, because he though the script did not respect the comic books. His rewrite resulted in Superman Lives, which was never made.
Is it a god thing this film was never made?: I think so. Really no reason for it to by made other than to cash in on the success of the Death of Superman storyline.
20. Batman Triumphant
What is it?: Before Batman & Robin was released, Warner Bros. planned to do a fifth film in the Batman franchise called Batman Triumphant, where Joel Schumacher would of returned to direct with George Clooney and Chris O’ Donnel reprising their roles as Batman and Robin. The film would of featured Scarecrow as the main villain, along with Harley Quinn as the Joker’s daughter who wanted revenge against Batman for Joker’s death. Jack Nicholson would of returned to play the Joker in a hallucination created by Scarecrow’s fear gas. Nicolas Cage, Steve Buscemi, Ewan McGregor and Jeff Goldblum were all rumored to play Scarecrow while Madonna was Schumacher’s first choice to play Harley. Alice Silverstone would of presumably reprised her role as Batgirl for the film also. Mad Hatter and Man-Bat were also rumored to appear.
What happened?: Batman & Robin happened. The critical and financial failure caused Warner Bros. to abandon Triumphant and work on ways to reboot the franchise.
Is it a good thing the film was never made?: Absolutely. The Batman franchise was already dead thanks for Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, we didn’t need another horrible Batman movie. In the long run, cancelling the film also gave us Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy which gave us The Dark Knight Rises, so it was good for everyone.
What is it?: Following Spider-Man 3, Avi Arad confirmed a Venom spin-off. Jacob Aaron Estes was set to write a script and Stan Lee could of cameoed.
What happened?: Nothing happened, which was the problem. After Estes dropped the project in 2008, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese were signed to write. They announced that they had two drafts and that the Studio was pushing the film forward. But they never did. In 2009, Gary Ross (who wrote the latest draft of Spider-Man 4) was hired to rewrite the script, with his script featuring Venom as an anti-hero instead of a villain. After that, nothing happened. No cast or director was signed on, no filming began, etc. Currently, Sony is considering a Venom film which would take place in the same universe as The Amazing Spider-Man and feature Flash Thompson as Venom.
Is it a good thing the film was never made?: While I do love Venom and think this could be a great debut for Carnage, I don’t think Venom could hold his own film (especially with this Flash Thompson crap). I hope I’m wrong and we get a good Venom movie (with Eddie Brock), but I seriously doubt it.
18. Batman vs. Superman
What is it?: While Superman: Flyby and Batman: Year One were in production, Andrew Kevin Walker pitched a film called Batman vs Superman. Warner Bros. put Superman: Flyby and Batman: Year One on hold to work on this film. The studio hired Akiva Goldsman to write the the script. His plot had Bruce Wayne in retirement for five years, with Dick Grayson, Alfred, and Commissioner Gordon all dead. Meanwhile, Clark Kent has recently gone through a divorce with Lois Lane. Clark is the best man at Bruce’s wedding to Elizabeth Miller. During their honeymoon, Elizabeth is killed by the Joker, forcing Bruce to put on the batsut once again while Clark begins a romance with Lana Lang in Smallville. Bruce blames Clark for Elizabeth’s death and the two fight each other. However, Lex Luthor is revealed to be behind the entire plot and the two decide to team up and stop Luthor. Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, James Franco, Jude Law and Paul Walker were all considered for both the roles, until the studio eventually offered Christian Bale the role of Batman and Josh Hartnett the role of Superman.
What happened?: The film was to begin shooting 2003 set for a mid-2004 release date. However, Warner Bros. (thankfully) decided to stop production and reintroduce Superman and Batman into their own separate franchises. Superman: Flyby resumed production, while Warner Bros. started making Batman Begins. A billboard showing both the Superman symbol in the Batman symbol appeared in the film I Am Legend.
Is it a good thing this film was never made?: Yeah. While I do think you could pull off a successful Superman/Batman film, this is not the way to do it. Plus, a straight up fight between these two is ridiculous, because Batman would be killed. It could of worked, but the script would of needed a massive rewrite.
17. Justice League: Mortal
What is it?: In February 2007, Warner Bros. hired Kieran and Michele Mulroney to write a script for a Justice League movie. The script was handed in June 2007 and got positive feedback from the studio. George Miller signed on to direct that September. The film was put on hold in 2008 due to the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America Strike. The cast would of featured Adam Brody as The Flash (Barry Allen), D. J. Cotrona as Superman, Common as Green Lantern (John Stewart), Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Armie Hammer as Batman, Santiago Cabrera as Aquaman, and Hugh Keays as Martian Manhunter, as well as Maxwell Lord and Talia al Ghul as the villains.
What happened?: Warner Bros. kept backing up the film and when shooting would begin. In August 2008, The Wall Street Journal reported that Warner Bros’ new plan was to release a few solo movies before doing a JL movie (hm… where have I heard that idea before?). In 2010, George Miller officially confirmed its cancellation. Warner Bros. is currently making another Justice League movie after the success of The Avengers, aiming for a 2015 release date (which would make the film rushed).
Is it a good thing this film was never made?: Really doesn’t matter since now they’re working on another JL movie now. I will say I think the cast is terrible, and there have to be better choices for villains than Talia & Maxwell (though I do like them both). To me, Warner Bros. should just forget JL for now and work on Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and The Flash.
What is it?: Little is known about this Aquaman film. In 2004, it was reported that Warner Bros. wanted to make an Aquaman movie written by Ben Grant.
What happened?: Not much. Which didn’t mean it was made. I don’t even think a script was ever written. Currently, Aquaman is “in production” like SO MANY other DC characters. I really don’t have much to say here.
Is it a good thing this film was never made?: I have no clue, because nothing is known about the film. I’d love an Aquaman movie, but I don’t see it happening any time soon.
15. Untitled Superman Returns Sequel
What is it?: Four months before the release of Superman Returns in 2006, Warner Bros. announced a 2009 release date for a sequel, with Bryan Singer returning as director, along with Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Specy, Sam Huntington, Frank Langella, and Tristana Lake returning. Brainiac and Bizarro were considered for the villains, while the “New Krypton” floating in space would of served as a plot device (haven’t seen Returns, so I don’t know what they’re talking about).
What happened?: Superman Returns received mostly positive reviews (though most people I see on this site hate it), though Warner Bros. were disappointed at how much it made in the Box Office, saying it should of make $500,000,000. This was the beginning of the end. Filming was suppose to begin in 2007, though Singer stopped production to work on Valkyrie. Filming was pushed back to March 2008, though the writers for the film also left. The 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike pushed the release date to 2010. Routh’s contrack for a sequel expired in 2009, while Singer left in favor of directing Jack the Giant Killer and Battlestar Galactica. Warner Bros. decided to abandon the film and begin rebooting Superman, resulting in the upcoming Man of Steel.
Is it a good thing this film was never made?: I’m not sure. I haven’t seen Superman Returns, so I have no clue if it was a good movie or not. I do like the idea of Brainiac and Bizarro finally getting roles on the big screen. I’m not sure how Man of Steel will turn out. If it’s good (which I hope it is), then it’s probably a good thing this film was never made.
14. James Cameron’s Spider-Man
What is it?: Spider-Man was in production since 1985. I’ve given the 85 plot with Peter turning into a giant spider monster, but that wasn’t the only plot. Several films were in production until Sam Raimi’s 2002 film. I won’t go into detail about ones with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Octopus (I don’t envy the writer who had to come up with Octopus puns) and others, but I felt this was worth a mention. The film would of featured Electro (Carlton Strand) as a megalomaniacal parody of corrupt capitalists, along with Sandman (Boyd) who is mutated by an accident involving Philadelphia Experiment-style bilocation and atom-mixing. The climax would of been a battle on top of the World Trade Center and Spider-Man revealing his identity as Peter Parker to Mary Jane. They then would of had sex on top of the Brooklyn Bridge, because why not?
What happened?:Cameron was suppose to make the film with Carolco Pictures. However, Carolco stopped production on Spider-Man due to financial and legal problems, leaving the film in developmental hell for several more years.
Is it a good thing this film never happened?: Yes. It’s just… ugh. Interesting I admit, but not in a good way.
If you want to check out the storyboards for the film, you can see them here: http://dantom.altervista.org/spider_ing_script.html
What is it?: In the early 2000s, New Line Cinema began production on a Shazam! film, with early drafts of the script written by William Goldman & Bryan Goluboff, while later scripts were written by John August. Peter Segal was set to direct the film while WWE Wrestler Dwayne Johnson, a/k/a/ “The Rock,” was in talks to play Black Adam. Shazam! was originally set to be made by New Line Cinema, which was absorbed into Warner Bros. during pre-production.
What happened?: Following the success of Warner’s darker themed film The Dark Knight, and the failure of their lighter kid-firendly Speed Racer, John August left the project when he was forced to make it more like The Dark Knight‘s serious tone. In 2009, it was announced that Geoff Johns was set to write the film, while Segal was still set to direct. However, in August 2010, Los Angeles Times columnist Geoff Boucher reported that discussions had begun to cancel the film and do a live action series instead.
Is it a good thing the film was never made?: No clue. Captain Marvel (or Shazam) could have a good film, but this was just stuck in developmental hell for years with nothing but the writer and director officially confirmed. I do think that Geoff Johns could write an amazing movie, but still.
12. Daredevil 2
Okay, this is technically a proposed film than a film that entered production but was never made. But either way, it’s here.
What is it?: Following the generally mixed reception of Daredevil, it was still profitable enough to consider a sequel. There were talks about basing it off of the Born Again storyline, as well as Mr. Fear being the main villain. Michael Clarke Duncan expressed interest in returning for the role of King, but saying that he would not be willing to gain wait. Duncan suggested that the plot involve Kingpin having been training in jail to become faster in combat against Daredevil as a away to work his weight loss into the story.
What happened?: The film never really started to be made, thus it’s hard to say exactly what happened. Ben Affleck said that would never reprise the role of Daredevil, feeling that “by playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero… Wearing a costume was a source of humiliation for me and something I wouldn’t want to do again soon.” It is probable that he made this decision after receiving a Razzie Award for his performance as Daredevil. In July 2008, Jason Statham expressed interest in appearing as Daredevil, and Frank Miller even said he should be Daredevil. In October 2008, talk of a reboot came up, though none was officially announced. On October 10, 2012, the rights to Daredevil reverted back to Marvel, who has said that they want to do a reboot. A reboot has not been officially confirmed, though it appears Marvel will happen at some point in the future.
Is it a good thing this movie was never made?: Not sure. I haven’t read Born Again, but it sounds like a very cool storyline that would make a great plot for a film. Mr. Fear would also be cool to see. I think that if they fixed the mistakes from the first film, I think it could of been a great movie. If not, I think it might of been worse.
11. The Batman by Tom Mankiewicz
What is it?: Before Tim Burton’s successful film Batman in 1989, there was a script written in 1983 by Tom Makiewicz, writer of three James Bond movies and had an uncredited hand in the scripts for Superman and Superman II. The film would of featured Batman’s origin story, along with him teaming up with Robin to take on the Joker and Rupert Thorne. The film would of also featured Silver St. Cloud as the love interest. A 1985 release date was announced with a budget of $20,000,000. The film would of combined a more darker atmosphere along with a more lighter tone, like in Superman.
What happened?: Nothing. At the time, Warner Bros. wouldn’t commit to a semi-serious Batman movie. In 1986, director Tim Burton was added to the project while Warren Skaaren and Sam Hamm wrote the script, giving us the masterpiece known as Batman in 1989. Mankiewicz went on to write Ladyhawke and Dragnet.
Is it a good thing this movie was never made?: Yes and no. I say no, because it sounds like a very good movie that I would of definitely watched. I say yes because it gave us Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989. So both some good and bad came out of this movie not being made.
I’m not sure if it’s the true script or not (I’m 95% sure it is, but I could be wrong), and I don’t know if it’s any good, but here’s the revised first draft for the script if you’d like to have a read: http://thebatmanuniverse.net/image/General/Downloads/Scripts/The%20Batman%20Revised%20First%20Draft.pdf
10. Spider-Man 4
What is it?: In 2007, Spider-Man 4 entered development, serving as the fourth film of the series with Sam Raimi set to return as directer while Toby Maguire and the other cast members were set to return. In October 2007, James Vanderbilt was hired to write the script, and Sony encouraged Vanderbilt to write scripts for Spider-Man 5 and Spider-Man 6. As time went on, Raimi expressed interest in turning Curt Connors into the Lizard in the film. It was reported in 200 what John Malkovich was in negotiations to play Vulture, while Anne Hathaway would play Felicia Hardy. However, Felicia wouldn’t become Black Cat like she did in the comics. Instead, she would become a new villain called the Vultress.
What happened?: The film kept getting pushed back. Originally set for a May 2009 release date, it had to be bumped back to May 6, 2011. With several rewrites for the script, it looked like the film was not going to be ready for the release date. In January 2010, Sony announced that Spider-Man 4 had been cancelled following Raimi leaving the project. Raimi said that he left the film due to his doubt that he could meet the planned release date while keeping the film as good as he could. He said that he was “very unhappy” with the way Spider-Man 3 turned out, and wanted the fourth film to be the best of the series to end on a high note.
Is it a good thing this film wasn’t made?: I’m kind of torn on this. I loved Spider-Man 3 and thought it was epic, and I couldn’t wait for a fourth film. If the film was made, we never would of gotten the horrible The Amazing Spider-Man movie last summer, thus no one would wanted to tear their eyes out. However, looking at this film, it does not seem good (why was Felicia Hardy going to become Vultress?). Plus, how many franchises have had successful fourth movies (look at Superman and Batman). So, I think whether this was made or not, we would of gotten a bad Spider-Man movie. But at least we would of gotten GOOD acting out of this one (Andrew Garfield was just horrible). So, I’ll say it’s a bad thing this film wasn’t made.
9. Tim Burton’s Catwoman
What is it?: Following Batman Returns, Tim Burton was set to direct two more movies in the Batman franchise. An untitled third Batman (we know that fate of that), and a Catwoman spin-off, where Catwoman would once again be played by Michelle Pfeiffer. Daniel Waters wrote the script for the film, and turned it in on June 6, 1995.
What happened?: June 6, 1995 was the same day that Batman Forever came out, which took the Batman franchise in a different direction, making a family-friendly film that eliminated the darker tone of Batman Returns. Walters joked and said “turning it in the day Batman Forever opened may not have been my best logistical move, in that it’s the celebration of the fun-for-the-whole-family Batman. Catwoman is definitely not a fun-for-the-whole-family script.” The film was stuck in developmental hell for years, resulting in Catwoman being recasted twice. The first time with Ashley Judd, the next Halle Berry, resulting in Catwoman in 2004, which is generally considered one of the worst films of all time and has nothing to do with the character Catwoman (Selina Kyle).
Is it a good thing this film wasn’t made?: No. Warner Bros. would of been better off trying to get the original Tum Burton Catwoman film released then creating something that’s considered one of the worst films of all time. Plus, why would you cast Halle Berry as Catwoman? That’s just… off.
8. Batman: DarKnight
What is it?: Following the massive failure of Batman & Robin and the cancellation of Batman Triumphant, this was another fifth film in the Batman franchise that would of once again been directed by Joel Scumucher, feeling that he owed Batman fans a real Batman movie. The film would of featured Bruce Wayne in self-imposed exile after loosing the ability to strike fear into his enemies as Batman (I don’t know. I’d be pretty scared after Batman Forever and Batman & Robin). Dick Grayson would be attending Gotham Academy, where Johnathan Crane is conducting experiments with fear. Crane’s run-in with Dr. Kirk Langstrom reults in Kirk becoming the terrifying Man-Bat. The citizens of Gotham think that Man-Bat is Batman’s “bloodthirsty” return. Bruce once again becomes Batman to clear his name and solve the mystery of the Man-Bat.
What happened?: Not much. Warner Bros. simply based the idea in favor of making either Batman Beyond or Batman: Year One.
Is it a good thing this film wasn’t made?: Overall, I think it might of been. I do LOVE the idea of Scarecrow & Man-Bat as the villains of a Batman movie, but I’m not sure how well the film would of done after Batman & Robin, no matter who the director was or how dark it was.
7. Green Arrow: Super Max
Also titled Green Arrow: Escapse from Super Max.
What is it?: Most comic book films follow the same formula, a 40 to 60 minute origin, throw in some love interest and villain, and that’s basically it. This one however, would of completely skipped over the origin and jumped right to Green Arrow being thrown in a Maximum Security Prison and trying to escape, and meets several A, B, and C list DC villains on the way. The script was written by David Goyer, who also wrote Batman Begins and Justin Marks.
What happened?: Nothing. The movie is still in production according to DC, though in reality, it’s in developmental hell. In 2008, Marks said during an interview with MTV:
“It’s a very, very awesome prison. I majored in architecture in college, and design is how I actually started in. For ‘Super Max,’ designing that prison, it had to be the kind of thing that was a character in and of itself…We’re in a world where instead of just trying to contain a guy who’s really big, you’re trying to contain a guy who can — in the case of Icicle — who can freeze things. What kind of a cell would a guy like that need in order to have his powers neutralized? So to escape from Super Max they have got to go through the most elaborate heist we’ve ever seen, involving superpowers. Because the prison itself kind of has superpowers!”
Nothing has been said about the film since.
Is it a good thing the film wasn’t made?: I’m a bit torn on that. When written correctly, Green Arrow can be an awesome character. However, he can also be very lame and boring. The concept of the film is very interesting and could of been great. However, it’s too easy to completely butcher it and make a horrible film.
6. Batman: Year One
What is it?: An adaption of Frank Miller’s successful graphic novel Batman: Year One. It would of featured Batman’s debut in Gotham and his relationship (not a romantic one) with Commissioner Gordon. Despite Joel Schumacher wanting to direct (hasn’t he ruined Batman enough?), the role of directer went to Darren Aronofsky, who also wrote the script, along with Frank Miller. Their goal was to completely reboot the Batman franchise. Christian Bale was approached for the role of Batman in the film.
What happened?: Batman: Year One ended up being too violent for Warner Bros., as Aronofsky and Miller were aiming for an R-rating (which will never happen for a Batman movie in a million years). The studio wanted a rewrite for the script. However, they abandoned Batman: Year One to work on Batman vs. Superman.
Is it a good thing this film was never made?: Not sure. I’ve never Read Year One, so I can’t say if it’s a good idea to make it into a film or not. I do like that they were finally planning on just doing a full reboot instead of the proposed fifth films. It sounds like it could of been a good movie, but I would of needed to know more.
5. X-Men Origins: Magneto
What is it?: In December 2004, the X-Men franchise was big and Fox hired Shaldon Turner to do a spin-off X-Men film. He chose to write Magneto. In April 2007, David S. Goyer (man, everyone wants him) was hired to direct. Turner’s script was set from 1939 to 1955, and shows Magneto trying to survive in Auschqitz. He meets a young soldier named Charles Xavier during the liberation of the camp. He hunts down the Nazi war criminals who tortured his. His lust for vengeance ends up turning Xavier and him into enemies. Ian McKellen was set to reprise his role as Magneto, using the computer generated facelift used on him in the opening scene of X-Men: The Last Stand.
What happened?: The film was planned to start filming in Australia for a 2009 release date, though the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike delayed this. The film continued production, including concept art and the official title, but Goyer said in December 2008 that they would only start filming if X-Men Origins: Wolverine was successful. The story and script was drastically changed, now set in 1961 and involving Xavier & Magneto battling a villain. McKellen confirmed in October 2009 that he would not be reprising his role at Magneto due to his age. No news was announced for the film after that, and it was officially cancelled on August 26, 2010. Elements of the film were put into X-Men: First Class.
Is it a good thing this film was never made?: I say no. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was simply… epic (I have no other words to describe it), and Magneto is an even better character than Wolverine. I think it could of been a fantastic film and would of been SO much better than the crappy X-Men: First Class.
4. Tim Burton’s Batman 3
What is it?: After Batman Returns, Tim Burton was set to return for a third Batman movie (presumably called Batman Forever, though that is still unclear). It would of featured Michael Keaton returning as Batman, as well as Marlon Wayans as Robin, who would of been re-imagined as streetwise black kid, who’s origin would have taken elements from both Dick Grayson and Jason Todd (there was some concept art for the costume, and I think it loos REALLY cool). Robin Williams was offered the role of Riddler, though he turned it down. Billy Dee Williams would of appeared as Harvey Dent, though it is unknown if he would of become Two-Face. Rene Russo would of played Chase Meridian, an original character created for the film and Bruce Wayne’s love interest. Michelle Pfeifer was rumored to return as Catwoman. There were also rumors for Johnny Depp appearing as Mad Hatter and Brad Doruif as Scarecrow, though these were never confirmed. There were also rumors that Robin would of been played by Winona Ryder, and would of been a female and an Amalgam of Dick Grayson and Carrie Kelly (from The Dark Knight Returns).
What happened?: When Warner Bros. learned that Batman 3 was going to be similar to the ultra-dark tone of Batman Returns, they freaked out and replaced Burton with Joel Schumacher as director, who planned to make it more family-friendly Some of the ideas remained the same (such as introducing Robin & Riddler, though their stories were changed), though the cast was completely changed up. Val Kilmer was cast as Batman to replace Michael Keaton (Keaton turned down $15,000,000 to return), Jim Carrey was cast as The Riddler (possibly the worst casting ever in a comic film), Tommy Lee Jones replaced Williams as Harvey Dent (and he became a complete Joker rip-off), Nicole Kidman replaced Rene Russo as Chase Meridian (Russo was deemed too old to play Kilmer’s love interest), and Chris O’ Donell replaced Marlon Wayans as Robin (Warner Bros. paid Wayans to leave the film). The end result being Batman Forever, one of the worst films I have ever seen and THE worst Batman movie ever made (yes, Batman & Robin is better. But not by much).
Is it a good thing this film was never made?: That’s actually a very good question. Yes, Batman Forever was terrible. PLUS, if Forever was never made, we wouldn’t of gotten Batman & Robin. However, if Burton’s film had been made, would we of ever gotten Christopher Nolan’s series down the line? It’s interesting to think about. I will say that some of Burton’s ideas for Batman 3 did seem a bit… out there (like Robin), the same could be said about his ideas for Batman Returns, and look how epic that was.
3. Batman Beyond
What is it?: For a brief time, Warner considered doing a film based off of the successful animated series Batman Beyond to reboot the franchise. Taking place in the year 2040, Bruce Wayne has retired as Batman (he’s 80 years old. How would he keep going out at night and doing what he does?) and high schooler Terry McGinnis takes up the mantle of Batman. Paul Dini, who worked on the show (and several other DC Animated stuff), was hired to write the script and Boaz Yakin was hired to direct.
What happened?: Warner Bros. abandoned the idea of Batman Beyond in favor of Batman: Year One and Batman vs. Superman, until finally settling on Batman Begins.
Is it a good thing this film was never made?: Well, if it was made, we probably wouldn’t of gotten the Nolan series. But screw Nolan!!! I want Batman Beyond!!!
2. Superman: Flyby
I’ve mentioned this film several times through out this thing, and now we’re here.
What is it?: Following the cancellation of Superman Lives, Warner Bros. briefly worked on the film until putting it on hold to work on Batman vs. Superman. Following the cancellation of that, Warner Bros. once again began working on Superman: Flyby. The film would of rebooted Superman and given him a new origin story. The planet Krypton is besieged by a civil war going on between Jor-El and his brother Kata-Zor. Before he is sentenced to death, Jor-El launches his son Kal-El to Earth fo fulfull a prophecy. Kal-El is adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent. When Clark grows up, he begins to work for the Daily Planet and forms a romance with Lois Lane. However, Lois is more interested in exposing Lex Luthor, a government agent obsessed with aliens and UFOs. Clark reveals to himself to the world as Superman, which brings Kata-Zor’s son Ty-Zor and other Kryptonians to Earth. Superman fights them, and is killed in battle. In Kryptonian heaven, Superman meets Jor-El, who committed suicide on Krypton in prison. He’s ressurected, and returns to Earth to defeat Ty-Zor and the other Kryptonians. The film ends with Superman flying off to Krypton, leaving the door open for a sequel. I admit, I did barely summarize the plot, but I got the main point across. Brett Ratner was hired to direct the film, with filming expected to start sometime in 2003. Josh Hartnett and Jude Law were both approached for the role of Superman. The studio was hoping for a summer 2004 release date. Christopher Walken was in talks to play Perry White, Anthony Hopkins Jor-El, and Ralph Fiennes as Lex Luthor. People considered for Superman were Tom Welling (who played a teenage Clark Kent on Smallville), Paul Walker, Ashton Kutcher, Brendan Fraser, Matthew Bomer, Jerry O’ Connell, David Boreanaz, Victor Webster, James Marsden. Joel Edgerton (who turned donw the chance to audition for Superman) auditioned for Ty-Zor.
What happened?: There were a lot of problems with the film during production. Ratner dropped out of the project in March 2003 due to casting difficulties and violent disagreements with Jon Peters. McG was signed on as director. Several actors were considered (including Robert Downey Jr. as Lex Luthor), but none were officially signed on. McG wanted Josh Schwartz to rewrite the Abrams script. He wanted to film in Canada, though Warner Bros. wanted Australia. McG felt it was “inappropriate to try and capture the heart of America on another continent,” though he later admitted that it was his fear of fighting. McG eventually left the project. Abrams attempted to get the chance to direct his script, but Warner Bros. went with Bryan Singer in July 2004, resulting in the cancellation of Superman: Flyby and the making of Superman Returns.
Is it a good thing this film was never made?: I say no. Superman Returns turned out to be a complete waste as it’s already being rebooted. I would of LOVED to see this movie. Yes, it does change up a lot about Superman. However, look at Batman Begins and how much it changed Batman’s origin (h was never trained by Ra’s al Ghul) and how successful that was. From what I’ve read about this film, it strikes me as an 8 out of 10, great, but has flaws. Overall, I think this was just an amazing idea for a Superman film that I wish would of been made. Hopefully Man of Steel is good.
Also, like The Batman, I do not know if this is real or not. However, here is a link to J. J. Abrams’ Superman: Flyby script. I really I had read it before I wrote this. But too late now. Here’s the link: http://www.supermanhomepage.com/movies/Superman-JJAbrams2.pdf
And now, I present the greatest comic book movie never made…
1. Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman
What is it?: A Wonder Woman movie was in production in 2001, though that did not go anywhere. In March 2005, Warner Bros. and Silver Pictures announced that Joss Whedon would write and direct. For those who don’t know, Whedon wrote and directed The Avengers, the third highest grossing film of all time. With an amazing character like Wonder Woman and the extremely talented Joss Wheadon, how can you go wrong?
What happened?: When Whedon was hired for Wonder Woman, he was directing Serenity. Since he needed time to research Wonder Woman’s background, he was not able to begin the script until late 2005. After nearly two years, Whedon had not managed to write a finished daft for the script. He said “It was in an outline, and not in a draft, and they [studio executives] didn’t like it. So I never got to write a draft where I got to work out exactly what I wanted to do.” In February 2007, Whedon officially left the project due to script differences with the studio and went to work on Goners. Whedon said “I would go back in a heartbeat if I believed that anybody believed in what I was doing. The lack of enthusiasm was overwhelming.” A spec script was bought by Warner Bros. shortly before Whedon departed set during World War II. It was written by Matthew Jennison and Brent Strickland. However, Silver Pictures did not want it to be a period piece. In April 2008, Jennison and Strickland were hired to write a new script which instead of explaining Wonder Woman’s origin would explore the history of Paradise Island. No news of the Wonder Woman film was reported until 2010, saying that it was in production. However, in reality, the film was in developmental hell along with several other DC films.
Is it a good thing this movie was never made?: I say no. Whedon is very talented and could of made an epic Wonder Woman movie. Instead, he left and went on to make Marvel over a billion with The Avengers. Way to go Warner Bros., way to go. Then again, would The Avengers of been as good as it was if Whedon wasn’t writing and directing?