Just because Marvel’s laid out their Cinematic Universe plans through 2019 and Warner Bros is doing the same with DC Comics blockbusters into 2020, who’s to say there actually isn’t room to squeeze in a few more super guys and gals? Here are 14 comic book properties we’d love to see on screen (in theaters or our living rooms), with entries from both the Marvel and DC canon, along with some exciting stuff from independent publishers!
The Illumanti (whose membership include the likes of Tony Stark and Professor X) banish Hulk from Earth, ultimately landing him on a planet where’s he enslaved into epic gladiatorial combat. This 2006-08 story gets complex after Hulk becomes involved with the planet’s citizenry, leads a rebellion, and even frees Silver Surfer from capture. Lionsgate’s excellent Planet Hulk animated movie gives the story a softer ending, while a blockbuster adaptation would not only capture the explosive spectacle of the arena battles for the big screen, but a sequel could adapt Marvel’s follow-up story World War Hulk, which sees Hulk coming after Earth for vengeance.
Back in the 1980s, the biggest heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe got swept away to a far-off planet and were told by the god-like Beyonder: “Slay your enemies and all that you desire shall be yours!” What follows is a 12-issue battle royale featuring the Avengers, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and (most of) the Fantastic Four fighting their most powerful foes, and sometimes each other. We think this would make an epic and action-packed movie trilogy, though we know that getting all of these franchises under one studio roof is unlikely to happen any time soon.
We know TNT is developing a Teen Titans TV series, and we are excited about that, so our Christmas wish regarding this super teen team is more about which version we would like to see on the small screen. And our pick is George Pérez and Marv Wolfman’s New Teen Titans from the 1980s, starting up with the classic lineup of Robin/Nightwing, Wonder Girl, Cyborg, Kid Flash, Starfire, Changeling and Raven. There’s a lot of potential in story arcs like “The Judas Contract,” “Terror of Trigon,” the war with Blackfire in Tamaran, and the Titans of Myth (to mention a few) to make some good seasons. Besides, it’s time we get Donna Troy back somewhere.
Imagine a teenager discovering that he’s the son of Superman, and shares his father’s powers. That’s the basic setup of Invincible, from Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. The story soon takes a very dark turn, and what starts out as a story of a teenager struggling to fit in at school turns into an epic tale about the fate of the Earth. This could make for a great movie series with a younger teen cast.
The Sandman‘s fantastic stories have huge potential to become beautiful and disturbing TV miniseries, and the one we picked as a first candidate is The Doll’s House. We imagine the show’s tone as a cross of American Horror Story and Hannibal, filled with escaped nightmares who walk among humans, serial killers at serial-killing-cons, and lots of psychological horror. Opening credits by Dave McKean, of course.
Though the film that was to star Bo Derek never happened, our wishlist includes a musical dramatic live-action TV series about the one-and-only Marvel disco queen: Dazzler. It’s Nashville meets Wonder Woman on skates! Taking place in the early 80s, mutant singer Alison Blaire must fight crime by turning sound into powerful light beams as a means of supporting her budding music career. CW-style music promotion branding could bring awareness to some hip, new (and vintage) bands.
Daniel Patrick Cassidy is a stuntman and special effects genius who creates a superpowered costume for a movie called Blue Devil. Cassidy is wearing this costume during an on-set battle with a real demon, and he ends up permanently bonded to the suit (and permanently looking like a blue-skinned, horned devil). He becomes a somewhat reluctant hero, while still trying to keep his movie career. We think this would make for a fun series about a man trying to balance supervillain battles and a show business career, something between HBO’s Entourage and CW’s The Flash.
In this sword & sorcery/scifi mashup from DC Comics, King Arthur comes back from the dead to fight a horde of alien invaders alongside Merlin and a group of reincarnated Knights of the Round Table. Between a lot of alien shooting and slashing, this 12-issue series explores both old plots, like the love triangle between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot, and new ones, like Sir Tristan being reincarnated as a woman and forced to reexamine his thoughts on gender roles and sexuality. Camelot 3000 is an original story with a good balance of drama and action, and would make a great couple of movies or TV miniseries.
Kurt Busiek’s Astro City is a sharply written series that often addresses the culture and society of a world filled with superheroes, while still telling exciting and engaging adventure stories. This anthology comic series would best be adapted into something like True Detective or American Horror Story, where each season tells a (mostly) stand-alone story. Two particular Astro City story arcs would make excellent 6-10 episode seasons: “Tarnished Angel,” about a washed up, ex-con supervillian turned private eye, and “Confessions,” about a sidekick that discovers his hero partner has a dangerous secret.
Seen — for better or worse — as the Canadian version of The Avengers, Alpha Flight is a Marvel team based out of Canada featuring a strange brew of heroes like an Inuit semi-goddess (Snowbird), a First Nations healer (Shaman), and their leader Guardian, wrapped up in the maple leaf as part of his costume. Artist/writer John Byrne began the series in 1983 with a focus on Alpha’s individual member conflicts, and an adaptation would work best as a movie or with characters appearing in Fox’s X-Men universe. This time the studio could shoot in Vancouver, and not just for the tax breaks.
DC’s answer to The Punisher was district attorney Adrian Chase, aka Vigilante of the 1980s. Chase, disillusioned by the liberal justice system’s habit of letting perps off easy, took it to the streets at night as Vigilante, the city’s most violent and amoral hero in ski wear. The book’s 50-issue run ends on a very final note, so it’s best adapted as a one-and-done movie.
This bleak adventure series focuses on a team of scientists (and a few others) who have created a way to travel between dimensions, but haven’t yet figured out how to get home. The terror of constantly jumping to unknown worlds can best be described as “Lovecraftian” and the team’s internal strife has led to some fatal consequences. This could make for a brooding and horrific series, similar in tone to Penny Dreadful or American Horror Story.
Luke Cage (Power Man) and Iron Fist team up with various heroes each week to solve crimes. But a la Murphy Brown and her ever-changing receptionist, the teamings don’t normally work out. With the door to their P.I. agency ever-revolving with superhero cameo partners like She-Hulk, Ant-Man and Deadpool, these Heroes For Hire could somehow find each crime-of-the-week’s culprit with some tricky, albeit comical, exploits along the way.
Ally McBeal with an attitude… and green skin! Unlike her angry cousin, Jennifer Walters, esq. is a likable attorney with her own 60-minute single-camera episodic TV show. Part comedy and part procedural, She-Hulk would defend unlikely civilians and superheroes alike, with a biting sense of humor and a bit of a temper. Crossover episodes with Heroes for Hire would be inevitable.