11 Cancelled Superhero Movies You'll Never See
Believe it or not, over 100 comic book movies have been made since 1990. As soon as Tim Burton's original Batman started making money, film execs started combing comic book stores for anything they could turn into a profit.
And we mean anything. Remember Steel? Or Witchblade? But as more studios and more legal wrangling got involved, Hollywood became littered with unfilmed scripts for comic book movies that never happened. Some rejects were lucky escapes, and some were downright criminal. Hell, if Barb Wire can get a movie, why not Plastic Man?
1| Plastic Man
He might have been dreamt up during WWII, but there's something very '90s about Plastic Man. Maybe it's because he looks like a cross between Max Headroom and The Mask—or maybe it's because the long, long-rumored film adaption has been kicking around since 1995, sitting in the Wachowskis' desk drawer since before they made The Matrix.
Keanu Reeves was all set to star as the bendy avenger when DC axed it. Now that they've moved on to more serious supers, there's next to no chance we'll see him anytime soon.
2| Superman Lives
Who's the first person you'd pick to write a Superman movie? Kevin Smith. Who's the last person you'd pick to star in it? Nicolas Cage. Something about this clearly didn't add up in 1998, and Tim Burton (fresh from resurrecting Batman) had to bail on Superman Lives.
Clearly the most disappointed person in all of this was Cage, who, despite looking and acting like an insane person, might actually be the biggest Superman fan in the world.
Neil Gaiman's surreal, mythological masterpiece isn't an easy one to adapt—let alone by the two blokes who wrote Aladdin. To be fair, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio reportedly wrote such a good first draft of the script that Gaiman signed it off immediately.
Unfortunately, this was 1996—20 years before American Gods showed everyone how a really weird Gaiman story could work on screen. The producers asked for more action, the writers balked, and the project collapsed.
4| James Cameron's Spider-Man
Few superheroes have had quite as many stops and starts as Spider-Man, but the one that could have been the most interesting never got off the ground at all.
After Roger Corman, Tobe Hooper and Tom Cruise all attached and detached themselves in the '80s, James Cameron wrote a 47-page Spidey treatment that got greenlit after Terminator 2—before being buried in legal disputes so big they'd bankrupt a whole independent film studio.
5| Justice League: Mortal
Right after Batman Begins began, DC decided to fast-track their new dark knight straight to the front of a super team—hiring George Miller to direct a fully mo-cap Justice League movie in 2009, starring Armie Hammer as Batman and DJ Cotrona as Superman.
The script was written, the costumes were designed and even the sets were built—before everyone realized it was going to cost over $300 million to finish. Cue the whole thing getting the axe.
Pitched as 'Indiana Jones meets The Da Vinci Code meets Ghost', a Hawkman movie cropped up on DC's slate back in 2008, before never being heard of again. Presumably lost somewhere in the studio's bigger plans, there was still a chance we'd see him make a solo big screen appearance—until he turned up on TV shows Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow without really making much of an impact.
One of the oddest curios in Marvel's vault, Dazzler was originally created in the late '70s as part of collaboration with a record company to promote the actress Bo Derek. The original plan was for Marvel to invent a sexy, roller-skating disco-diva mutant for Derek to star as in a film vehicle.
Unfortunately, Derek proved more of a diva in real life, insisting on so many changes that the project got canned. Interestingly though, Dazzler survived in the comic world—and ended up joining the X-Men.
A member of the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Defenders and SHIELD, Jennifer Walters—AKA She-Hulk—might be the biggest superhero yet to make it to the cinema. Not that it didn't almost happen.
Wanting to resurrect the old Hulk franchise in the early '90s, Brigitte Nielsen was cast in a feature film that picked up where the Lou Ferrigno TV show left off. Nielsen shot a few make-up tests, but the project got dropped by nervy execs right before the superhero genre really took off.
9| Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman
It might be geek treason to say so, but there are a few good reasons to believe that we're better off without Joss Whedon's take on Princess Diana.
Now that the other Wonder Woman has arrived in enough style to sink Whedon's version for good, the details of his script have revealed a film with a "naive" heroine modelled on Angelina Jolie, a giant mechanical hydra and an invisible plane that's played for laughs. That said, it surely would have had sharper dialogue and a lot more references to '90s TV shows.
10| Silver Surfer
Remember the end of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer? (No one's blaming you if you don't). The film wasn't exactly great, but the best thing about it was the mo-cap surfer who was shown in the end credits to have survived the climactic showdown with Galactus.
When the film was being made, there were plans to give the Silver Surfer his own origin story. Unfortunately, those plans all hung on whether anyone actually liked the Fantastic Four sequel...
11| Oliver Stone's Elektra
Don't blame Jennifer Garner for this one—the deal that sank another great could-have-been story was signed long before the 2005 Daredevil spin-off that tanked at the box-office.
Something about Frank Miller's ultra-violent, OTT revenge satire saga appealed to Oliver Stone in the early '90s, who signed on to the project and reportedly cast professional volleyball player Gabrielle Reece in the role.
When Marvel sold the Daredevil rights to Fox in 1992, Elektra went with them—and Stone moved on to Natural Born Killers instead (an ultra-violent, OTT revenge satire saga...).
From: Digital Spy
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.