Spoilers for the graphic novels Identity Crisis, The Clone Saga, and DC vs Marvel Comics
“This is an imaginary story. Aren’t they all?” – Alan Moore, Whatever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow?
It’s funny how far the superhero movie has come. For years they were seen as kids’ movies or ads for toys. Now they’ve launched entire cinematic universes. People who didn’t know Deadpool from Spider-Man are now fans of Luke Cage, Green Arrow, and even the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The superhero movie genre has even made divisive storylines like Civil War popular. So what risky stories should the studios try next? Here are our picks for superhero movie longshots.
To qualify, a story can’t have been announced as a movie project or made into a movie.
#7: The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill
“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall posses the power of Thor” – Mjolnir’s inscription
Beta Ray Bill is the last hope of an alien race. When his homeworld was decimated by the Norse demon Surtur, Bill was transformed into a cyborg to battle Surtur’s army, acting as a diversion so his people could escape. He later searched for the demon’s homeworld and instead encountered Thor.
The two fought until Thor reverted back to his human form, which Bill easily defeated. Bill realized Thor’s hammer might be strong enough to defeat Surtur and grabbed it. Mjolnir decided Bill was worthy and gave him Thor’s godly power. Odin somehow mistook the equine Bill for Thor and summoned him to Asgard, leaving Thor to try and reclaim his hammer and figure out what the hell was going on.
Why This Story?: Age of Ultron had a running gag about who could wield Mjolnir. While it was a joke, the implications of a mortal being worthy of godhood are interesting. How would the gods respond to something like that? Please have 400 words for Monday. Or leave a comment.
Likelihood of a movie: 60% – Thor will meet a number of aliens in Thor: Ragnarok. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bill showed up.
#6: The War of Light
“In fearful day, In raging night
With strong hearts full our souls ignite
When all seems lost in The War of Light
Look to the stars – for hope burns bright” – the Blue Lantern Oath
While many people know about the Green Lantern Corps despite the horrible Ryan Reynolds movie, few know that there are as many factions as there are Skittles colors. Each group is powered by a different emotion and known by a different color. Shortly before the book series The Blackest Night, The Green Lanterns learned of a prophecy which told of a coming war that would destroy them.
The Red Lanterns gain their power from rage. Agent Orange is fueled by avarice. The Sinestro (yellow) Corps feed off fear. The Green Lanterns have willpower. The Blue Lanterns are empowered by hope. The Indigo Tribe use compassion. And finally, the Star Sapphires are powered by love.
Why This Story?: The Lantern Corps have dominated the Green Lantern stories for years. This story would work best as the second part of a trilogy, setting up The Blackest Night as the finale.
Likelihood of a Movie: 70% – All systems go if the superhero movie Green Lantern Corps is successful.
#5: Secret Wars
“I am from beyond! Slay your enemies and all you desire shall be yours! Nothing you dream of is impossible for me to accomplish!” – The Beyonder, Secret Wars #1
Mattel released a new line of Marvel action figures in 1984. Marvel released a crossover book of their biggest heroes and villains to promote the toys.
A cosmic being known as The Beyonder has abducted Marvel’s greatest heroes and villains, bringing them to a planet called Battleworld. He does not understand the concept of desire, why heroes desire peoples’ safety and happiness while villains want power and wealth. He tells them to fight to the death and promises the winners their greatest wish.
Why This Story?: Although it was created to sell toys, this is Marvel’s first major crossover. Imagine all the MCU heroes at war with all its villains. This superhero movie would be expensive, but damn cool.
Likelihood of a Movie: 20% It’s too expensive. Besides, many of the villains are boring or dead.
#4: Identity Crisis
“Anyone who puts on a costume paints a bulls-eye on his family’s chest.” – Elongated Man
Sue Dibny, the wife of a hero called Elongated Man, is murdered. But while most of the Justice League is trying to solve the case, a group of heroes pursues a criminal called Doctor Light instead. Why are they so hellbent on finding such an ineffectual villain?
We learn that Doctor Light discovered Elongated Man’s secret identity years ago. He infiltrated the League’s headquarters and raped Sue. He then threatened to return for her and reveal Elongated Man’s identity.
The team decided he was too dangerous and erased his memories, all but lobotomizing him. These characters mind-wiped villains who discovered a secret identity, morphing themselves from heroes to villains.
Why This Story?: Batman v. Superman and Captain America: Civil War both explored the concept of collateral damage in superhero universes. What they haven’t truly explored is the threat to their loved ones and the morality of protecting them at any cost.
Likelihood of a Movie: 50% While it could happen, this is a very divisive story. Some love it, others hate it.
#3: The Sentry
Hulk: “You don’t want this fight, Sentry.”
Sentry: “Yes. God help me, I do. Because you’re the only one I can hit…”
[Sentry punches Hulk in the stomach, knocking him several blocks away]
Sentry: …”like THIS.” – World War Hulk
Matt Damon as amnesiac Jason Bourne has nothing on The Sentry. Robert Reynolds wakes up one morning, remembering that he was a superhero called The Sentry. He doesn’t know much more and neither do the superheroes he seeks out for help.
It’s eventually revealed that he will be fighting an enemy called the Void. He also learns that the Void is a manifestation of his dark side. The Void had threatened to destroy Earth, but Sentry managed to stop him by erasing all knowledge of himself from everyone’s memories. Try that, Bourne.
Why This Story?: A hero searching for knowledge about his past is a cliche, but The Sentry kicks up the plot twist a notch. Throw in godlike power and multiple mental issues and you have one heck of a psychological thriller rolled into your superhero movie.
Likelihood of a Movie: 40% The Sentry had a good premise, but wound up being an overpowered, unlikable character.
#2 The Clone Saga
“I think I’m a clone now
There’s always two of me
just a hangin’ around” – Weird Al Yankovic, I Think I’m a Clone Now
Whoa! Torches and pitchforks down, folks!
In the 70s, a villain called the Jackal cloned Spider-Man. Spider-man defeated and seemingly killed the clone. Fast forward to the 90s and the clone returns, calling himself Ben Reilly and fighting crime as the Scarlet Spider. The Jackal manipulated their minds, making Peter and Ben wonder which one is the clone and which is the original.
Marvel was in bankruptcy protection then and milked the Clone Saga for all it was worth. Spider-Man comics became the most complicated soap opera of the next two years.
When the dust settled, Ben died and was proven to be the clone, several characters returned to life in convoluted ways, and the word “clone” became persona non grata in Spider-Man comics.
Why This Story?: The idea of two Spider-Men is good and could make for a great superhero movie if it doesn’t go on too long.
Likelihood of a Movie: 50% It could work, but it would have a lot of fan sentiment against it.
#1: DC vs Marvel Comics
Superman: “I’d prefer to consider you a friend, Hulk. But with everything that’s at stake, I don’t think I can. For me to save my world, my universe, and most of all, the woman I love, I have to PUT YOU DOWN!” – DC vs Marvel Comics #3
In 1996, Marvel and DC thrilled readers with a crossover series. Strange portals started transporting things between universes. The resulting chaos included J. Jonah Jameson running the Daily Planet and Wonder Woman wielding Mjolnir.
The portals were caused by the awakening of two brothers, each personifying a universe. They hated each other and threatened to battle each other, which would destroy everything. Cooler heads prevailed and The Brothers had champions fight each other. The losing universe would be destroyed.
The Brothers are swayed by the similarities between Batman, Captain America and their respective worlds. The Brothers make peace…for now.
Why This Story?: Batman vs Superman and The Avengers both banked on people wanting to see their favorite heroes unite. So how much money would studios make if The Justice League teamed up with The Avengers?
Likelihood of a Movie: Never happening. The rights issues would be insane.