It’s been a long time coming, but the deal has finally been struck.
The separation of Marvel’s character rights between various studios (necessitated by a bargain basement sale of property rights when the publisher faced bankruptcy in the ‘90s) may be coming to an end.
That’s right fandom feeders, Disney have bought 20th Century Fox for a reported $52bn. It’s easy to see why so many fans are even more excited by the merger. With the acquisition of Fox, numerous beloved properties that have floundered outside of the stewardship of Marvel Studios could be brought back into the fold. The endless chanting of “Give it back to Marvel” has (circuitously) paid off. Given Sony’s apparent amenability to co-operate with Marvel studios on their comic book properties (a-la Spider-Man Homecoming) and the recent acquisition of Fox’s catalogue of characters, Marvel’s many properties could well find themselves all under the same roof.
As the properties that made the MCU; Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the like appear to wind down, the net of Marvel Studios is cast wider with each passing year. With that in mind here are some properties that are or have been owned by other properties that are ripe with potential…
Gladiator & The Imperial Guard (Fox)
An homage Superboy and The Legion Of Superheroes, this group of space-faring soldiers are the honour guard to The Shi’ar Empire; comprised of many worlds each with their own unique abilities.
Gladiator also know as Kallark (get it?) is a Strontian and the most powerful of all. The Imperial Guard are honour bound to serve all who sit on the throne of The Imperium no matter matter who they are or what their beliefs. Take, for examples Majestor D’Ken a devoutly religious evil tyrant who almost brought on the destruction of the universe.
If you thought that Guardians of the Galaxy was Marvel’s Star Wars, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! This could give us an intergalactic war movie with undertones of fascism and religious fanaticism along with the old “I was only following orders” trope. Perhaps a cameo by everyone’s favourite space-pirates The Starjammers could reveal the truth behind D’Ken’s evil ways. Throw in some battles with The Brood or The Brotherhood Of The Badoon and I’ll be one happy sleazoid! I mentioned using these characters in a previous article, so c’mon Fox when are you going to get the message?!?
Jessica Drew & Julia Carpenter are both the longest serving and most interesting of the characters that have used the name Spider-Woman. Both have been hugely relevant and influential in the Marvel Universe and both extremely powerful and have outshone their male counterpart on many occasions. Of course it would be really cool to see a female spider-heroine grace the big screen but here’s my pitch… Both of these characters are parents, whether to relatively new children or old which could makes this film a whole lot more interesting.
Imagine a scene where Spider-Woman has to change a nappy, avoiding bullets and crawling up the walls while doing so! Wonder Woman has shown the world what how great female superheroes can be but we’ve never seen a superhero Mum at all ever! I would keep their origins simple, just to get us to the good stuff quickly.
Mums are basically superheroes any way and I’m sure they’d appreciate being represented.
Alpha Flight (Fox)
Speaking of representation there’s must more than one super powered Canuck? Oh Canada, there’s a whole team of them! That’s right we’re talking aboot Alpha Flight! A cross somewhere between The X-Men and The Avengers Wolverine’s first team includes the likes of Vindicator, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Marrina, Snowbird, Aurora and Northstar. You couldn’t get a more diverse and unconventional group. A dwarf, a schizophrenic, a closet homosexual, an alien mermaid, a shaggy intelligent Hulk and the list goes on…Alpha Flight are rich with story telling opportunities and have a huge fan-base.
Their original comic ran over a 100 issues. Not many comics do that ever! I have a soft spot for obscure and under appreciated “B-List” characters and I’m not a fan over-exposure *cough Logan cough*.
I think it’s about time we took our first flight…
Spider-Man 2099 (Sony)
Warner Bros. have been trying to make Batman Beyond a viable film property for years but Marvel cornered this market years before Miguel O’Hara. Working for corrupt corporation Alchemax in the year 2099 (Where corporations run the world… trust me it sounded much more far fetched in 1992). After pissing off his employer while trying to recreate the original Spider-Man’s powers, his boss tricks him into taking a highly addictive drug Rapture that bonds to his genetic structure.
The only way to reverse its effects is to rewrite his DNA but in another act of sabotage his DNA becomes 50% spider; so much so his eyes turn permanently white, he grows fangs and barbs in his fingers along with (to my knowledge) the first organic web shooters.
A slightly darker Spider-Man with a Cronenbergian body-horror flavour along with future tech, a skyline and just a sprinkling of Robocop-esque satire might just be different enough yet similar that the movie going audience will eat it up.
Future Foundation (Fox)
There have been some rumours floating around that Fox may attempting an animated movie featuring the children of The Fantastic Four; Franklin & Valeria Richards. If this is the case I think this pre-teen think tank is the way to go.
Mr Fantastic assembles the brightest young minds to solve the world’s problems… however they just so happen to be less than conventional. The motley crew includes Moloids, Atlanteans, Supervillain Clones, Mutants and their guardian just so happens to be a super-smart super strong robotic dragon.
As much as I enjoy adult takes on my favourite superheroes, they are also for kids and that sense of adventure and wonderment would fit right in the world of the F4. Along with Franklin’s reality altering abilities I can see these Goonies getting in to all sorts of trouble.
In the comics they were even able to do what all the great minds in the marvel universe couldn’t… they managed to cure The Thing. Sure, it was only for one week a year but for that Ben will be eternally grateful. It brought him to tears… and me too.
If you were offered the chance to be a superhero, would you take it? That’s what happens when four youngsters were offered the costumes and identities that Spider-Man used when he was wanted for murder. But who is their mysterious benefactor and what exactly do they get out of all this? Can these fan boys and girls resist their fondest wish?
Prodigy, Ricochet, Hornet and Dusk make for an interesting bunch and something a little unusual like a not-so violent Kick-Ass type film about vigilante pretenders trying to find themselves and do some good along the way.
Lean hard into the geek/nerd culture with the hero worship of modern day movies making pastiches on other movies and we could see these heroes slinging their way towards the silver screen. I’d love to see Spidey save their asses and tell them to give it up as they’re nothing but knock offs.
Deep within the Antarctic, hidden from view lies a prehistoric land heated by extraterrestrial technology that has been long abandoned by those aliens. Life carried on in The Savage Land as if the dinosaur never became extinct. In an unfortunate accident, the baby Kevin Plunder was left alone and his only protector became a Sabretooth Tiger known as Zabu who raised him as Ka-Zar, Son Of The Tiger! Part-Tarzan Part-John Carter but the best of both worlds! In this Ray Harryhausen-esque world anything can happen from being trampled by a Wooly Mammoth, to being experimented on by Mutates or being drained of your life-force by the vampiric pterodactyl-man Sauron.
What about that doesn’t scream viable film property?
Gang War! (Sony)
One part of the Spider-Man mythology that they’ve never really addressed in the movies is the super powered mob racket. You can’t move too far in the comics without bumping into a story about organised crime and Spidey’s books are full of them. Several gang wars have occured in his books where he is always caught in the middle including a recent storyline called “Spiral” featuring characters like Hammerhead, Tombstone, Mr. Negative, The Rose, The Crime Master, The Big Man, Silvermane and the list goes on.
Imagine The Godfather or Scarface but with super weapons and super powers! I love a good crime drama and with the introduction of these characters and with an undercover vigilante thrown in i.e. The Wraith or The Prowler it just might be an offer we can’t refuse…
Bishop was one of the most popular X-Men of the ’90s… most likely because he was a time traveller and had a big gun! But unlike Cable Bishop’s backstory is nowhere near as complex. Raised in a mutant internment camp by a mysterious old African woman with white hair who would regale Lucas with stories of the legendary X-Men who fought for their kind until they were viciously betrayed by one of their own.
He would soon escape the camp and become a Xavier Security Officer (a law enforcement agency inspired by the work of Charles Xavier). While following a fugitive into the past he finds himself standing alongside his heroes with one mission; to discover who betrayed the X-Men and kill them before they have a chance to do it. I’m getting goosebumps already! Sure we saw Bishop in Days Of Future Past but we didn’t get into his delicious backstory and motivations. Plus time travel is always fun…Unless you’re Bishop of course.
Picture the scene…
Spider-Man has just fought his final battle with Norman Osborn, The Green Goblin, but not without a terrible loss. Before dying himself The Goblin severs one of Spidey’s legs forcing him to prematurely hang up the webs and return to his pregnant wife Mary Jane.
Flash forward 15 years and their daughter May “Mayday” Parker is exhibiting some very familiar abilities which neither parent is that happy about it… all the while The Green Goblin’s Grandson wants a piece of Peter Parker! One of the longest running comics not set in the main 616 universe, Spider-Girl is an incredibly likeable character who has the brains of Peter and the social standing of MJ.
As for her spider-skills, they need a little work but she has great group of superhero friends to keep her feet on the ground along with new and old Spider-Villains she has her hands full. All of these alternative movie Spider-People could be linked across the multiversal Great Web, that Madame Web could oversee culminating in an actual Spider-Verse movie!
I’m starting to think I should running these movie studios!
Hope you enjoyed the list fandom feeders, and if your favourite Marvel hero had yet to make the cut don’t worry! You may well see them in part two…