There are a lot of superhero movies these days; by the time 2018 wraps up, we’ll have been given nine blockbuster comic book features. That’s a lot. Given the popularity of the genre, the bubble doesn’t appear to be popping anytime soon. So as studios continue to experiment with genre, form and function within the superhero structure, we thought it was time for a few characters in particular to get their own solo adventures.
Why these characters? Each represent a unique opportunity for their respective studios that can appeal to new demographics and add to the bigger picture of the superhero genre. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Noah Hawley, the brilliant showrunner behind FX’s Fargo and Legion, is technically slated to write and direct his own Doctor Doom movie following Fox’s repeated failures to launch the Fantastic Four franchise. Unfortunately, with Disney purchasing Fox and the characters expected to be folded into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), that doesn’t look like it’s on the table any longer.
Which is a real shame because Hawley’s vision for the beloved comics character sounded absolutely fantastic.
“As with Legion, my thought was that the [superhero] genre has a certain kind of movie covered, but what else can the genre do,” Hawley told Observer back in March. “What’s interesting to me about Doom’s character is he’s the king of an Eastern European country and is there a version of this that is more of a political thriller that mixes genre?”
He continued: “It’s something that [Captain America] Winter Soldier did really well, which was kind of make a Cold War thriller movie out of a superhero movie. This is different than that, but it does have this idea of, and I don’t want to say too much about it, but it is a mixture of genres. The mandate is not to re-launch the Fantastic Four franchise as much as it is to take this fascinating and under-served character and really build a movie about him where we ask the question: Is he a hero? Is he a villain? What does he really want? We’re able to explore these questions in a serious way.”
Doctor Doom is a genius-level villain who doubles as the leader of the fictional nation of Latveria which is a pretty fascinating character basis. If Disney doesn’t want to move forward with Hawley’s version, might we humbly suggest Robin Wright for the role. It’s time to throw a curveball into the mix after two poor attempts at breathing life into this character.
Static starred in his own animated series, Static Shock, from 2000 to 2004, garnering a strong mainstream following in the process. There are plenty of millennial adults who look back at the cartoon fondly and would be thrilled with a live-action adaptation. I know Warner Bros. and DC Films doesn’t want to paint every one of their movies with a comedic slant like the upcoming Shazam!, but a movie following teenager Virgil Hawkins could be the studio’s answer to Spider-Man. He’s young, he’s relatable, he’s charming and entertaining and he has electric-based powers which haven’t been thoroughly explored on the big screen yet.
Now it’s perfectly understandable if some DC fans argue that it’s too early for a Static Shock movie—after all, we haven’t even been given solo films for each member of the Justice League yet. But new DC Films president Walter Hamada has been purging the development lineup of extraneous fluff and reshaping the brand’s focus since he took over in January. Static aligns with his forward-thinking strategy and could fit in either the shared DC Universe or under its new standalone banner that exists in a separate continuity (Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker movie falls under this category).
With the Cyborg movie presumably shelved and Green Lantern Corps up in the air, Static could be DC’s first film headlined by a black lead that also serves up an enticing helping of nostalgia.
Again, I realize the Disney-Fox merger complicates any and all plans for future X-movies, but Dafne Keene’s Laura/X-23 was such a universally beloved hit that the Mouse House would be foolish not to leverage the existing popularity. Bob Iger has already said that any future Deadpool movies under Disney would retain its R-rating, so the same should apply for this pseudo-follow up to Logan.
Disney-Marvel is a younger-skewing business model anyway, which is one of the reasons why studio head Kevin Feige went with an age appropriate Spider-Man in Tom Holland. We likely won’t see any MCU X-Men films until at least 2021, when Keene would be 16. Given Hugh Jackman’s beloved 17-year run as Wolverine, allowing Keene to continue in the role would be a smart way to keep a similar mutant in the mix without rebooting Wolverine too quickly and still appealing to multiple demographics. Then, down the line a few years from now, Marvel can cast Tom Hardy in the Wolverine role.
Marvel gets another young lead with a built-in fanbase to serve as a bridge to the new iteration of X-Men titles, and fans get to see the ass-kicking X-23 once more. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Okay, so this would technically be a Batman movie, but it still counts.
*Warning: Spoilers Ahead*
For those who don’t know, Batman’s second Robin, Jason Todd, was murdered by the Joker in the comics and later resurrected as the villain/anti-hero Red Hood. It’s a thread that Zack Snyder hinted at in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as we know Ben Affleck’s Batman has lost at least one Robin during his crime fighting career, though Snyder is said to have had his own ideas in mind. Still, the precedent is there in this existing universe.
Now, Matt Reeve’s The Batman will almost certainly reboot the character with a younger version of Batman just a few years into his vigilante escapades. But as one of the most beloved arcs for the Dark Knight and one of WB’s most popular animated superhero films, the studio would be crazy not to eventually adapt this for the big screen in one form or another.
Todd was a surrogate son to Bruce Wayne who was killed by his arch nemesis and brought back as a revenge-seeking enemy. It’s a deeply emotional story that resonates even if you strip away the superhero trappings. Hopefully we’ll get a live-action version in the near future.
Yes, I realize Magneto has now made six live-action big screen appearances and that Fox was even considering giving him his own origin movie at one point. But Magneto is one of Marvel’s most fascinating characters in my mind: a holocaust survivor who fights for mutant rights because he’s seen first hand man’s capability for evil when persecuting a particular people. He is very much a product of Auschwitz. There really aren’t any Jewish characters in superhero blockbusters, and it would be great to represent that in a solo feature.
Disney will reboot and recast the role once it adds the X-Men to the MCU, but Magneto offers the Mouse House the opportunity to tell a nuanced story about pain, loss and shaded morality. His methods are extreme, but his intentions aren’t entirely wrong. He’s a wounded leader, forever trying to fill that hole inside of him that was created when he lost his parents. His relationship with his own children—Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch—reflects his complicated upbringing.
You could go in any number of directions with a Magneto movie: period piece war drama, revenge thriller, activist impact story. The source material offers an array of moving options.