"Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: Hearts of Dark Design"--The Animated Movie
A fancast for an animated feature based on the prestige format books "Hearts of Darkness" and "The Dark Design".
In 1991, the next entry in Marvel's line of prestige-format books was "Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: Hearts of Darkness", which inspired a sequel "The Dark Design" in 1994. (It also inspired a 2003 three-pack of action figures made by Toy Biz). Both were written by then-Ghost Rider scribe Howard Mackie, with HOD drawn by John Romita, Jr., and TDD drawn by Ron Garney.
In "Hearts of Darkness", Dan Ketch, Logan, and Frank Castle end up in the same place: a boarding house in a small mid-western town called Christ's Crown, where a few days earlier, a cult had conducted a bloody ritual on a hilltop that summoned Blackheart, the son of Mephisto. The house is run by a woman named Flo Crumm, who lives with her daughter, Lucy. It turns out all three were lured to the town by Blackheart, who had mentioned in the notes he sent that he had an offer they couldn't refuse, with a reward for their efforts. He calls upon them, specifically, in order to help him take out Mephisto so that he may take his place as ruler of the dimension he occupies, all before he goes mad from the punishment Mephisto inflicted upon him in the first place. He chooses Dan Ketch, Logan, and Frank because each of them occupies a gray area in the ideas of 'hero and villain', that only THEY have the capacity to cross the line enough to take down the lord of the demonic dimension. Each refuses, even when Blackheart tempts them with the following:
-Dan would get the answers to why he became the Ghost Rider.
-Logan would find out who gave him his adamantium skeleton.
-Punisher would get his family back.
Enraged by their refusal, Blackheart takes control of the entire town, and kidnaps Lucy (the one uncorrupted soul in Christ's Crown), threatening to fully corrupt the townspeople and kill Lucy if they don't comply. The three of them go after the demon, who further tempts Zarathos, the demon bonded to Dan. They must find a way to stop Blackheart in a fight to the very gates of "Hell" itself.
In the sequel, "The Dark Design", Blackheart returns to Christ's Crown a few years later, where he turns his followers into the Corrupt, his own personal kill squad. Flo was one of their first victims, which leads Lucy (now a young woman), who is revealed to be a mutant telepath, and her cousin Norma Jean to gather those who escaped in the newly created tunnels beneath the town. She then sends out a telepathic cry for help out to Ghost Rider, Wolverine and Punisher, leading to them returning to the town to aid in the fight against Blackheart--who wants Lucy to help him do what the trio of antiheroes didn't do: kill Mephisto.
Overall, this is a bit of a commentary on the subject of the antihero, and the lengths they go to to stay firmly between the lines, with the pressure of going over the edge at any moment.
I read Hearts of Darkness for the first time, and thought it would make a great animated film along the lines of my previous fancast of "Ghost Rider/Captain America: Fear". And, by including an adaptation of "The Dark Design", you get a double-feature. Like that previous fancast, I would have this be drawn and animated by a combination of Madhouse and Production I.G., who both worked on segments for 2008's Batman: Gotham Knight (and most of Marvel Anime)--so yeah, it would have a bit of an anime look. "Hearts of Darkness" would be on side A of the DVD, while "The Dark Design" would be on side B. The DVD cover art would be by a combination of Ryan Sook and Matthew Clark. Here is our voice cast:
Ian Somerhalder as the voice of Ghost Rider/Dan Ketch
I went with Somerhalder (again) because I could picture his voice easily for Ketch, and his experience on Vampire Diaries would be good for a supernatural character like Ghost Rider.
Jackie Earle Haley as the voice of Wolverine
As I stated before in my "Marvel Team-Up Presents: Wolverine", Haley, I noticed, was in one guy's fancast as Wolverine in live action--which was an idea that was shot down by one of the guys who commented on it. I decided that Haley would be great voicing the guy instead, and here, he would absolutely SHINE as Logan.
Bryan Cranston as the voice of the Punisher
For some reason or another, I just think that Cranston would have a GREAT voice for Frank, and with his experience on Breaking Bad and Batman: Year One, he'd do great with the role.
Kyra Sedgwick as the voice of Flo Crumm
I figured that Sedgwick would have just the right kind of voice for a small-town lady like Flo--reading that character's lines reminded me of Park Overall's character Alice on The Critic.
Ariel Winter as the voice of Lucy Crumm (young)
For picking Winter, I was inspired by her role in the DC Showcase: Green Arrow short (where she voiced Perdita, the young queen of Vlatava), and thought she would have the same magic in this story.
Nina Dobrev as the voice of Lucy Crumm (young adult)
Again, her Vampire Diaries experience came into play for this casting choice, though the older Lucy is a little more 'brighter' (not in terms of intellect, though she is a smart girl, but more in terms of her being the voice of reason in a crisis). I think Dobrev could easily pull off some small-town chops for her. (And people can control how they act, so she could NOT overact if needed.)
Allison Mychalka as the voice of Norma Jean
I could see Aly playing a scream queen in a horror movie sometime soon, but I'd want her to try being a tough girl in a horror movie first, hence my choosing her for Norma Jean, who at one point saves Ghost Rider from the Corrupt, shooting one with a shotgun.
Kevin Grevioux as the voice of Blackheart
Picking Grevioux was inspired by when he voiced Solomon Grundy in that one episode of "The Batman", while also taking his experience in the "Underworld" movies into account--he'd have a killer voice for the son of Mephisto. And speak of the devil.....
John Noble as the voice of Mephisto
I picked Noble obviously because of his near-maniacal character on Fringe, but also took into account his recent turn as Unicron (the devil of the Transformers) in the 3-part season finale of Transformers: Prime. He could absolutely nail the voice of Mephisto hands-down.
And that's that! Whaddaya think?
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