Although it seems like every comic book character under the sun has been turned into the latest feature motion picture, this is definitely not the case. Walk into any comic book store on a Wednesday afternoon, while fans are anxiously picking up their weekly haul of new issues, and you’ll probably hear about more than one of their favorite characters that absolutely must have their own movie.
Every fan has their own idea about which characters need to get their big moment on the silver screen next. Some of the more common ones, that really should've had their own movie by this point, are below.
5) Black Panther
Created by the two most prolific architects of the Marvel Universe (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) in 1966, Black Panther is the first African superhero in mainstream American comics. In recent years, T’Challa has been portrayed as a rather enigmatic figure, extremely wise and serving as monarch to the nation of Wakanda. Beyond this, though, he has several powers granted to him by the panther god of his home land. Unlike other mantles, which are often chosen as a creation of the single hero, the Black Panther is a royal title, passed on within a family, though it still must be earned by the one who personifies it.
Ideally, a Black Panther movie would be able to include the character of Ororo Munroe, aka the X-Man Storm. She and T’Challa have a long history, and at one point in the comics Storm was even the wife of the Panther. The best of these scenarios would be the return of the X-Men to Marvel Studios. Beyond that, though, he's often been an important ally of the Avengers and could probably make for a very interesting supporting cast member in a near-future Marvel Studios film. Panther is currently one of the main characters in writer Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers comic book series, and his cautious yet forceful wisdom and regality definitely make him a unique character, which could likely lend itself to a very different kind of film.
Yeah, yeah. I can hear the fish jokes already. The fact of the matter, though, is that Aquaman’s very recently experienced a heavy and steady resurgence in the pop culture thanks to a couple of specific areas.
The first, most primary one is his current ongoing comic book series, written by DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns (Green Lantern, Action Comics). When Aquaman #1 premiered as a part of the "New 52" publishing initiative in September 2011, it surprised a lot of people that had written the character off. Johns’ self-reflexive writing took the notion of Aquaman as a joke head on, and with stunning visuals by artist Ivan Reis, Aquaman outsold every single Marvel Comics title for six months, paving the way for a rebirth of sorts in hearts and minds everywhere as less of a joke, and more of a badass.
The second way Aquaman has started to shed his previously unflattering reputation recently was due to his appearance as a no-nonsense fighter in the DC/NetherRealm Studios video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. At international gaming tournaments where Injustice is featured, Aquaman is a common choice for championship players due to his sheer brutality. The story mode also emphasized what makes him a formidable character: a cold demeanor and a complete willingness to shove his trident in his enemies’ faces.
With the kinds of visuals that can be pulled off with a film like this, and the mythology that the unknowns of the deep can bring out, I know I’m not alone when I say that Warner Bros. should definitely give the King of the Seven Seas a shot. Check out the character trailer for Aquaman from Injustice below, just for a taste of what might be.
3) Wonder Woman
In a lot of ways, this argument speaks for itself, but I’ll still give it a shot. With a distinct lack of female superheroes on the silver screen, the most obvious choice is the most timeless example. As part of DC’s “Trinity” of heroes along with Superman and Batman, Wonder Woman doesn’t seem to get her fair share of the limelight, which is a shame. A feature film would likely go a long way in beefing up her status in the public consciousness, and rarely is there a character that is more deserving of it.
While she's enjoyed success on the small screen in both the Lynda Carter series from the 1970s, as well as her appearances in the DC Animated Universe of the early 2000s, Wonder Woman is a constant source of award-winning stories in the source material, from writers like Gail Simone (Batgirl, Birds of Prey), Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Joker) and Greg Rucka (Lazarus, Gotham Central). Her 2009 solo animated film, partially written by Gail Simone, was well-received critically, but didn't cultivate a great deal of commercial success. I'm mostly convinced that it's because Warner Bros. isn't being loud enough about its most iconic and definitive superheroine icon.
While there have been recent efforts to get Wonder Woman onto the small screen, with the impending crossover between Superman and Batman in 2015’s Man of Steel sequel, it appears as though DCE is starting to get its ducks in a row for some kind of shared DC cinematic universe. If that’s indeed the case, I think it’d be excellent to have a film between DC’s “big three” before it inevitably launches into a Justice League film project. In the comics, the bond between Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman is a unique one of trust an understanding. It didn’t get to that point with any semblance of ease, though, and that seems like perfectly fertile territory for a feature film.
All you need to do is read Matt Wagner’s wonderful graphic novel Trinity. You’ll see what I mean.
With the inherent popularity of Deadpool at this moment in time, there really is no excuse why his film hasn’t been made yet. It seems that ever since he was somewhat of a breakout character in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, interest for Deadpool has been steadily growing. His ongoing comic book series has been a regular sellout for Marvel for several years now, he recently had his own video game released, and he’s showing up in practically all of its other animated shows as well as really odd, seemingly esoteric comics (like Deadpool Killustrated, where classic literature is reimagined with Deadpool’s influence. Or, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, which is exactly what it sounds like).
So, why hasn’t 20th Century Fox managed to get a Deadpool film in theaters? According to Ryan Reynolds, the man slated to embody the Merc With a Mouth once again, it’s part skittishness and part uncertainty. He recently told Total Film, “That movie is alive and kicking, and then it’s dead as a doornail. Then it’s alive and kicking and then it’s dead… it’s like the worst relationship I’ve ever had!”
He went onto say that Deadpool isn’t quite as commercial as studio heads would prefer, because the character is aware that he’s in a movie, and knows all the players involved. “It’s a property that is excessively popular and successful, just as a comic property. So you certainly don’t want to mess that up. And if you’re a studio you certainly don’t want to be put something out there that you can’t get back.”
1) The Flash
The character that I really think has no excuse for a lack of a feature film, though, is DC’s Scarlet Speedster, the Flash. Speed isn’t a concept that’s been explored in great depth in any superhero films (which is likely to change due to Quicksilver’s inclusion in both next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron), but by all accounts the Flash is the best possible character to explore that theme.
Recent Flash stories featuring the Barry Allen iteration of the character (in stories like Geoff Johns' The Flash: Rebirth and the New 52's Move Forward) have had the advantage of giving the protagonist a clear niche to fill. Allen is a forensic scientist with the Central City Police Department, who always had a reputation for taking too much time with his cases. When his life kicked into high gear due to a late-night accident at his lab combined with a lightning bolt, the hero was born. The concept of the Flash is really very easy to explain: he's CSI, at super speed.
He also has one of the best rogues galleries in all of DC Comics, leading off with the group known as, well, the Rogues. Common members include Captain Cold, the Trickster, the Weather Wizard, Mirror Master, the Pied Piper and Captain Boomerang. In modern-age stories told particularly by the likes of Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul, the Rogues have proven to be some of DC’s most interesting characters. Without the money at their disposal like that of Lex Luthor, or the insanity like that of the Joker (though they have their eccentricities), the Rogues operate like “blue collar” supervillains, having trouble getting the right chemicals for the freeze gun. Or the trick weapons.
The Flash is commonly known as one of the most iconic members of the Justice League. While the current state of affairs look as though Flash may be headed for television soon, I know he deserves a bigger track to run on. Let’s hope that sooner rather than later, he gets it.
Hot Buy This Week
This week’s hot buy is for the little Avenger that may be running around your house. It’s called the Iron Man Arc Reactor Lab, and for prospective Tony Starks ages six and up, it could be the beginning of some scientific curiosity. Use the 24 different power-chip combinations to get different light effects and power pulses. You can take it apart and rebuild it in a bunch of different scenarios, so if your child fancies themselves the next Armored Avenger, it should prove to be a fun gift. It retails for $29.99, and is available at ThinkGeek!
That does it for this week at Comics on Film. Which characters do you think should’ve had their own movie by now? Let us know in the comments below!
Chris Clow is a geek. He is a comic book expert and retailer, and freelance contributor to GeekNation.com, The Huffington Post, Batman-On-Film.com and ModernMythMedia.com. You can find his weekly piece Comics on Film every Wednesday right here at Movies.com. Check out his blog and follow along on Twitter @ChrisClow.