FEATURE: Comic Book Movies That Almost Happened

Despite today being a great time to be a comic book movie fan, the comic book genre wasn't always this great. In fact, it could have turned out much worse than what we could have imagine had these select films been made. Hit the jump for more!

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By MrBlackjack - 3/22/2014
Today most fans would agree we are in the golden age comic book movies, or are about to set sail into the golden age. We are lucky enough to have comic book movies that not only respect the source material, but are enjoyable for everyone. Sadly, years ago we were not anywhere near where we were today. Let us reflect upon what unfortunately could have been.

George Miller's Justice League: Mortal

This mysterious yet well rumored catastrophe has been something fans have been wondering about for years. Warner Brothers hired screen writers Kieran and Michelle  Mulroney to pen the film, with George Miller directing. The infamous Writers Strike put the film on hold for a period of time but when the strike was over major changes were made. The (questionable) decision was then made to shoot the film in full motion capture (think Beowulf). But, problems started to occur and quickly at that. The film's budget was looking to be near or upward of $300 million! The production was so large that Weta was required to focus 100% of its attention to one project. Not only that, but producers of the film couldn't secure a tax credit in Australia (where the film was suppose to be shot), and Miller had fluctuating ideas regarding the plot of the film (i.e. at one point he wanted to take over the script and make it "dark and gritty" like Watchmen). The project was eventually given up on and Warner Brothers focused their attention elsewhere. The film would have featured DJ Cortana as Superman, Armie Hammer as Batman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Common as Green Lantern, Adam Brody as Barry Allen/Flash, Santiago Cabrera as Aquaman, Hugh Keays-Burne as Martian Manhunter, and Jay Burachel as Maxwell Lord. The script (or one of them) has leaked, and to save you guys some time, here is a brief summary:
 
Batman has created Brother Eye, a Skynet-like program that watches the worlds metahumans and can terminate them at any given time, if need-be. Batman doesn’t trust people with powers as he’s afraid that they could, at any moment, snap and take over the planet. However, characters like Iris Allen, The Flash, Wally West, and Superman (among others) prove Batman wrong in the sense that maybe trusting people isn’t a bad thing and that you should try to look at the good in people, even powerful people, as opposed to the bad.

James Cameron's Spiderman

Back in 1992, coming right off of the all time classic Terminator 2: Judgment Day James Cameron was going to attempt to finally bring us our favorite friendly neighborhood Spiderman. A Spiderman film from the guy that brought us the Terminator franchise? What could  possibly go wrong? Cameron's idea was to make Peter Parker a little more "realistic", meaning a angered, horny, adolescent loner who hates just about everybody he knows. The script, if I may say so myself, contained some big deviations from the source material and "questionable" scenes. To get into specifics, there was no Uncle Ben monolog, a Peter and Mary Jane sex scene, JJ is a television station owner, and a weird scene depicted in the concept art above. The villains would have included Sandman and Electro, and both would end up dead atop the World Trade Center by film's end. There have actually been two Spidey films planned by Cameron, but details from one are scarce. Casting wise, Edward Furlong was rumored for Peter Parker and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doctor Octopus (the latter was up for the "second" Cameron film). The film(s) was/were dumped and MGM eventually traded the rights to Sony for James Bond. And as a side note, when Sony gained the rights to Spidey, one of their original choices to portray him was none other than Leonardo DiCaprio, although he has stated in the past he declined the role.

Batman Triumphant

There are a plethora of defunct Batman films out there, ranging from Bill Murray as Batman vs David Bowie as the Joker to a Johnny Depp Black Mask vs a Marlon Wayans Robin, but I think this one trumps them all. Warner Brothers were very pleased with what they had seen from Batman & Robin (this is prior to its release) they began lining up a sequel (go figure). The film would have featured the cast of Batman & Robin returning along with their bat nipples and asses, and would have seen none other than Nicolas Cage as Scarecrow and Madonna as Harley Quinn, and possibly even Jack Nicholson returning as The Joker via hallucinations. The plot involved Harley Quinn being revealed as the Joker's daughter who wants revenge for her fathers death. Not much besides those few details have emerged, but then again not much is needed to know how this would have turned out. After Batman & Robin's release, WB quickly tired to cut ties with every and anything involving this project.
 
Superman Lives

That just screams Superman, doesn't it? Anyway, in the late '90's Warner Brothers were looking to "reinvent" Superman by hiring Tim Burton to direct and Kevin Smith to pen the screenplay. Superman in the film would be, unique, to say the least. He was going to don an all black suit because the original was "too faggy" (producer Jon Peter's words), and wasn't allowed to fly. However, these "rules" would be ignored in favor of other crazy ideas down the line in production. At one point Superman was to fight a giant spider, Brainiac would fight polar bears, Lex Luthor was given a dog from space as a companion, and Brainiac had an assistant named L-Ron, who was described as a "gay R2-D2 who attitude". Other strange plot points include Doomsday blocking out the sun, Superman being resurrected by the Eradicator. Eventually the script underwent rewrites (yet again), leading Brainiac and Lex Luthor to become one person and would have been cleverly called "Lexiac". There were even rumors of children being brought in to see how much toy value character and set designs had. Finally, Warner Brothers dropped the project and moved on to another project. Tim Burton originally wanted Ben Affleck as Kal-El, but Jon Peters put an end to that and cast Nicolas Cage. Courtney Cox was set to play Lois Lane, Tim Allen as Brainiac, Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen, and Michael Keaton was confirmed to be involved with the project. Keaton himself dropped hints that he was reprising his role as Batman. This (thankfully) canceled film endured and sounded like hell, but it is still astonishing to look back at what could have been. Be sure to check out the documentary The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? this summer.


Darren Aronofsky's Year One

Now that the worst of the worst is out of the way, let's turn our attention to the one that is probably the radical out of them all. In 2002, when Warner Brothers were wanting to reboot Batman in a dark fashion, famed director Darren Aronofsky was brought on to helm the new reboot. Frank Miller was brought in to help with the script as well. Aronofsky and Miller envisioned a very dark Dark Knight that's full of profanity, along with deviating from the source material that Miller himself wrote. In this, Bruce Wayne was no longer a billionaire but was raised by a large African-American mechanic nicknamed "Big Al" on the streets of Gotham. Bruce underwent a transformation to Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver and developed the Batman personality over time. Selina Kyle was an African-American prostitute who was out for vengeance, and Jim Gordon was based off of Dirty Harry. Recently, concept art has hit the internet and has left fans wondering what could have been once again.

As always, don't forget to hit the red glove and until next time, stay classy ComicBookMovie...
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41 Comments
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Minato - 3/22/2014, 12:14 PM
Im glad none of these ever seen the light of day.
Odin - 3/22/2014, 12:37 PM
BatManHeisenberg - 3/22/2014, 12:39 PM
I knew about these movies. They were awful just reading them.
DaVinci31 - 3/22/2014, 1:40 PM
This is exactly why I'm worried about Batman Vs Superman





DrunkenNukem - 3/22/2014, 1:44 PM
Great article...

Imagine a Spiderman movie made by James Cameron...jeez...could have been epic
BatManHeisenberg - 3/22/2014, 1:45 PM
If James was to direct any CBM I would want it to be Batman. Just imaine!
BatManHeisenberg - 3/22/2014, 1:46 PM
*imagine
DrunkenNukem - 3/22/2014, 1:46 PM
I readed that JL´s script....and i actually think it wasn´t bad at all....
DrunkenNukem - 3/22/2014, 1:49 PM
Cameron can direct X-men, Green Lantern, Daredevil...


I think they should give Aronofsky (long halloween) a chance to direct Batman..or David Nutter...
DrunkenNukem - 3/22/2014, 1:51 PM
@Anno....damn i didnt notice that before...


JoJo1982 - 3/22/2014, 2:07 PM
Thankfully that Nic cage superman didn't happen


That would've been weird
DrunkenNukem - 3/22/2014, 2:37 PM
SonGoku - 3/22/2014, 2:51 PM
Superman Lives sounds like the best bad movie ever.

Oh, just so you know, Adam Brody was going to be Barry Allen in JL: Mortal while Anton Yelchin was going to be Wally West.
AC1 - 3/22/2014, 3:38 PM
I'd hate Aronofsky's Batman as a film, but I'd actually really like to see it as a graphic novel. Would be interesting to see his version of it.
DrunkenNukem - 3/22/2014, 3:43 PM
that superman lives movie looked bad all over it
staypuffed - 3/22/2014, 3:49 PM
Great feature, BJ!
THEDARKKNIGHT1939 - 3/22/2014, 4:34 PM
Great feature dude! I have always thought about this myself. How the cbms today would be so dramatically different if some of these films were put into production.
CherryBomb - 3/22/2014, 6:57 PM

Megan Gale was a fine choice for Wonder Woman.




It's a shame.
CherryBomb - 3/22/2014, 7:00 PM

No mention of the "Darkchylde" movie that was almost made with John Carpenter?
It didn't get far but it does have some test footage that's available on youtube.
Minato - 3/22/2014, 7:11 PM
Im sitting here reading the script for Camerons Spiderman and (yes its bad) its not as bad as I thought it was so far at least.
MightyZeus - 3/22/2014, 9:10 PM
Great article. Most of these movies i'm glad they did not happen. Justice League Mortal could have been something great if some minor and bigger changes where made to the script and the casting of the characters. James Cameron's Spider-man could have worked but the technology back then would have been too difficult and also changes to the script would have been better. An R rated Spider-man film would have been bizarre.
batz11 - 3/23/2014, 5:40 AM
Nicely done, good read...
batz11 - 3/23/2014, 5:49 AM
Agree @Cherry, Megan looks much more WW to me...

Ceejay posted this on another article...



I know she's working out, but they must be using cgi to fill her out, if not, *shutters*...Gal may do a fine job, I like her voice & 'exotic' looks, but hope she looks much bigger...

JorEllinator - 3/23/2014, 6:47 AM
@CherryBomb
But what about her acting capabilities?
MantiniuMan - 3/23/2014, 7:10 AM
Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen the one thing I would love in the MOS sequel,Chris Rock and Batfleck were the bomb in DOGMA,yo!
MrNiklander - 3/23/2014, 7:15 AM
Damn Mortal would have been beast Miller is a great director but hey he might have a shot once MAD MAX:THE FURY ROAD comes out and make a DC movie
SugarYumYum - 3/23/2014, 7:23 AM
Cameron directing Spidey and Aronofsky doing Batman actually sound like good matches... as long as they ONLY direct and none of their wacky ideas get used in the script. Yikes.
ThePowerCosmic - 3/23/2014, 7:40 AM
All awful ideas, but I would love to see the train wreck that would have been Superman Lives. That sounds so strange and stupid!
revloveR - 3/23/2014, 9:35 AM
lol. i knew this would be a primarily dc article.
DarthBatman - 3/23/2014, 12:01 PM
I'd actually like to see Aronosky's Batman as a film. It probably would have a financial failure but it is a very interesting and unique concept

If Superman lives had been made, it would have been a train wreck and the franchise would be dead forever. All of the ideas for it were awful

Dandy - 3/23/2014, 12:24 PM
Great article.

But let's also not forget Spider-Man 4, which would have seen Spidey going up against John Malkavich as the Vulture and Black Cat....who would not have been Black Cat but would instead have become a new character called the Vultress.

Apparently the script and development process was so bad that it was enough to make Raimi drop the project entirely.
Dandy - 3/23/2014, 12:29 PM
Also attempts at a Silver Surfer film, Fantastic Four 3, and a Daredevil reboot from the Marvel side. But I don't think any of those were far enough along in the production to be included on this list.
Holmes - 3/23/2014, 12:42 PM
mother of god
ComicBookGoth - 3/23/2014, 12:44 PM
not not to mention




AsianVersionOfET - 3/23/2014, 2:09 PM
My dream is to one day see a Batman film directed by David Fincher...that would be too. [frick]ing. awesome....
CPBuff22 - 3/23/2014, 3:13 PM
Thats a lot of DC Films that were started and never completed. And Batman vs Superman was left off the list. That was suppose to happen like 13 years ago.
chronoxiong - 3/23/2014, 3:47 PM
Thank god none of these projects happened.
Leradomi - 3/23/2014, 7:17 PM
in response to an earlier comment they are not all DC, Spiderman is Marvel
Snotzo - 3/23/2014, 8:40 PM
Peter Parker and Mary Jane Sex scene how quaint.
mgeoff88 - 3/24/2014, 12:20 AM
Great article! The only cast member of JL:Mortal I was on board with was Megan Gale as Wonder Woman. Every other character was so miscast.

I think James Cameron could is a good choice to direct a Spider-Man movie, but his ideas are bad. I don't even want to know what's going on in that concept art. Nicholas Cage needs to be banned from starring in CBMs. The hallucinations scenes with Jack Nicholson's Joker should've happened in Batman Returns.

Superman Lives would've killed Superman for the big screen. Huge kryptonite bullet dodged.
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