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6 Comic book characters who need their own movie

There’s an absolute plethora of comic book characters out there – there are around 244 X-Men at last count – so it’s somewhat of a surprise that the same ones keep getting movies. Batman, Spider-Man, Superman and Wolverine are the main culprits. That’s led to a constant criticism of origin stories being relentlessly repeated and misguided steps when it comes to producing something new. Even Marvel’s increasingly shared continuity keeps Tony Stark and Steve Rogers at its core, while characters like Black Widow only end up with supporting roles rather than their own feature.

With that in mind we’ve compiled a list of those characters who haven’t managed to make it to the big screen (or any screen for that matter), and those that would benefit from their own moment in the cinematic sun (we haven’t included any characters that have got their own movie on the way but hasn’t yet been released, so Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, Shazam, and Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel are ruled out, as are characters that have already had their own movie, like The Punisher, Blade, Green Lantern and Catwoman – we also ruled out Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, because she’s already taken a major part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even if she hasn’t had her own movie).

Image via DC Comics

Image via DC Comics

Booster Gold

Who is he?
Booster Gold is convinced you’ve heard of him – even if you haven’t. There’s several incarnations of him throughout DC’s myriad history, but his backstory in a nutshell is this: Michael Jon Carter is born in 25th Century Gotham City, and being a bit of a non-entity (and very poor), decides to steal a job lot of technology and superhero paraphernalia from a museum, including a time travel device, go back in time, and become a superhero, making himself fabulously wealthy in the process. He’s somewhat of a joke at first, and his name even comes from President Ronald Reagan (who he saves in one issue), failing to remember what he’d called himself. Eventually, he becomes a time travelling hero and joins the Justice League, and has a role in bringing together all of DC Comics’ different continuities in the Convergence crossover.

How would it work?
Sadly, DC seems to be going down a non-comedy route for its increasingly dark take on it’s characters, leaving no room for a wisecracking know-it-all like Booster Gold. The only way it would work would be as a comedy, the same way Deadpool is set apart from the rest of Fox’s Marvel properties. Lots of laughs and a hero’s redemption would be the way to go.

Image via DC Comics

Image via DC Comics

Who could play him?
Booster is naive, not the sharpest tool in the box, but carries a self confidence bordering on arrogance. He also needs to be likeable though, and not many actors have that package. Nathan Fillion expressed an interest in playing Booster, and he would tick all those boxes. Sadly with him joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Guardians of The Galaxy 2, and DC’s unwillingness to have a laugh in any of their movies, it seems a very long shot.

Batwoman

Who is she?
Katherine, or Kate, Kane is more or less exactly what it says on the tin – a female Batman. She’s not as well known as Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl, but probably has a better and more rounded story. A wealthy heiress inspired by a meeting with The Dark Knight, the many versions of Kate Kane all have her eventually donning her own armour and fighting injustice with the benefit of her considerable resources. She’s also Jewish, and her faith plays a strong part of her character, as does her homosexuality. Neither of these things get in the way of what is a compelling character, but for a medium that it quick to change backstories for the sake of it, making her a lesbian before there was a huge drive for diversity showed foresight on DC’s part, but also made her a character worth sticking with, as she fought prejudice at every turn.

Image via DC Comics

Image via DC Comics

How could it work?
If DC are now committed to a standalone Batman movie, and the idea of a Robin (seen in the Batman v Superman trailer), there’s no reason why an extended Bat-universe, including Batwoman, shouldn’t exist. Her sexuality and religion needn’t come into play unless it was relevant to the story.

Who could play her?
Intelligent and rebellious, as well as more than a little brutal, Batwoman is just as happy outsmarting her foes as she is beating on them. Jessica Chastain would be a great choice through her work in Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar and The Martian. She combines the right type of toughness and vulnerability required – and has the right colour hair too!

Billy Butcher

Image via Dynamite

Image via Dynamite

Who is he?

The swearing scumbag protagonist from Garth Ennis’ comic book series The Boys, Billy Butcher is a very nasty piece of work. Somehow though, you can’t help but admire his manipulations and outright brutality when it comes to dealing with undesirable people. The Boys is set in a world where superheroes are controlled by mass conglomerates, and protect their public image at all costs. That image of wholesome heroes is reinforced by their burgeoning comic book sales – while at the same time hiding the truth: That many people with superpowers would be arrogant beyond belief, flawed, and more often than not, seriously debauched. His wife murdered by one such “hero”, Butcher forms a CIA squad called The Boys, with their purpose being to police the superhero community. Ultimately, he uses his power to try and get revenge and destroy those who’ve wronged him – but even in doing that, he remains a compelling character.

How could it work?
A black comedy, with moments of sheer gore and brutality, the fact The Boys isn’t owned by either Marvel or DC is a double edged sword. While it means that it wouldn’t be bound by a need to appeal to a mass audience, it does mean it would lack the funding to get off the ground. Columbia Pictures held the rights for a long time, before eventually being binned (maybe we should be thankful for this if the abhorrent Ghostbusters reboot is anything to go by). The good news? A TV series is in the works (which you can read more about here). The bad news? Seth Rogen is involved.

Image via MoviePilot

Image via MoviePilot

Who could play him?
Butcher is a violent, confrontational man, with few scruples and penchant for getting people to act against their own self-interests. His charisma is what makes him more than just a one dimensional anti-hero. His tragic backstory makes you have sympathy for him, but at the same time his nasty streak makes him difficult to get fully behind. That kind of moral ambiguity and wry wit, plus the London accent, makes Tom Hardy the ideal candidate.

 

 

She-Hulk

Who is she?
Jennifer Walters is Bruce Banner’s cousin. She’s also a successful lawyer who could give Matt Murdock a run for his money in the courtroom. She’s also 7ft tall and green skinned, and can throw cars around. Created by Stan Lee back in 1980, she was actually an insurance policy for Marvel Comics. With the success of The Incredible Hulk TV show, there were fears that the show’s producers would introduce a female Hulk – so Marvel decided to act first to ensure the rights to a live action She-Hulk would remain with it. They still do. The nearest there’s been to a movie is a photoshoot Marvel commissioned in 1980 with Brigitte Nielsen playing the role. It never got further than that. As She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters can control her transformations after initially changing when her adrenalin increased like that of her cousin – and that’s because her powers come from a blood transfusion from Banner after she was gunned down in an attempted assassination.

Image via Marvel Comics

Image via Marvel Comics

How could it work?
With the success of Mark Ruffalo’s big screen Hulk, creating a female version of the character wouldn’t be a huge stretch (and particularly ironic, given the reason for her creation). The only danger is how she’d be inevitably measured against Ruffalo’s alter ego, and the fan reaction to whoever ended up being cast in the titular role. As evidenced by Wonder Woman’s divisive casting, for some, looking the part is more important than being able to act the part. With She-Hulk being much smaller than her male counterpart, there wouldn’t be a need for too much CGI, but it does mean that a movie that emphasises her inability to fit in would work best, plus a hint of courtroom drama, showing her brains as well as strength, would be nice to see too.

Who could play her?
Brigitte Nielsen is now too old to take on the part, and the WWE wrestler Joanie Laurer, who was rumoured to be connected to a proposed project at one point – has now passed away. Law & Order actress Angie Harmon was linked and has always been the fan favourite. Excluding the Ronda Rouseys and Gina Caranos who may look the part, but haven’t got any acting chops, maybe the best choice would be someone with an air of authority and determination – Maggie Gyllenhaal would be a strong contender.

Namor

Image via Marvel Comics

Image via Marvel Comics

Who is he?
Namor is similar to DC’s much more high profile Aquaman character – they are both kings of the undersea realm Atlantis, have joint Atlantean/human parentage, can control sea life, have split loyalties between the surface world and their own kingdom, and are often viewed as an outsider to the main teams like The Avengers or the Justice League. Namor though, first appeared in 1939, while Aquaman didn’t emerge until 1941, so technically, Namor is the elder statesmen of the two. He’s quite a high profile figure in the comics, commanding vast undersea armies, and rarely agreeing with the surface world (to the extent he’s not above a bit of industrial espionage – stopping short of all out war). His power levels mean he’s played a prominent role in The Fantastic Four, the Defenders and The Avengers. He can take on The Hulk and Thor in hand to hand combat, can swim at superhuman speeds and has an intellect to rival that of Reed Richards, Hank Pym and Tony Stark. He’s also a bit of a womaniser and makes a habit of trying to woo women in the Marvel Universe who are already attached.

How would it work?
The main reason Namor hasn’t made a live action appearance on movie or TV screens is one of rights. When Marvel sold off the rights to The X-Men and Fantastic Four to 20th Century Fox, it was thought Namor went with them, due to his comic ties to both series. There was also talk that his rights were tied up with Universal, in much the same way The Hulk’s were thought to be. It seems that neither of those is the case – with Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada indicating Namor is the property of Disney, and therefore Marvel Studios, in a podcast you can listen to here. With all that in mind, and DC’s impending Aquaman movie likely to cover similar ground, introducing Namor could be problematic. Inserting references in the forthcoming Doctor Strange movie, leading to a team up with him in the future (due to their membership of The Defenders) might work.

Who could play him?
Within hours of the Namor rights issue seemingly being cleared up, Jurassic World actor Brian Tee declared an interest in the role – and he has both the acting chops and the look, he’s possible not a big enough name to get Marvel Studios interested. Someone with all those skills, plus a higher profile would make the proposition of a Namor movie more likely. Luke Evans could be the ideal person to take on the role.

Deathstroke

Image via DC Comics

Image via DC Comics

Who is he?
Yes, yes, we already know he’s been on TV, but we’re talking about movies here. Slade Wilson is far too good a character not to make it to the big screen. He’s been rumoured to have some role in the Suicide Squad movie, but so far that doesn’t look like that’s going to ring true. A mercenary with a healing factor, Deathstroke is a longtime adversary of Batman, after having first appeared in the Teen Titans book, proving Batman’s equal in combat, but lacking his morals. He also hates Robin, and especially Green Arrow, due to their different philosophies on life. He quite simply, sells his services to the highest bidder. He’s Boba Fett, but more badass. He first appeared back in 1980, with a background in special forces and his natural fighting abilities enhanced by a serum which grants him increased stamina, strength and virtual immortality. He’s also missing a eye (and even when he gets it back, he ends up ripping it out), and his moral ambiguities make him a compelling character.

How would it work?
His rumoured inclusion in Suicide Squad would be a good way to incorporate him into the wider DC movie continuity. It’d also expand on his military background in a way that the incarnation of him in Arrow, played by Manu Bennett, never did. The TV Deathstroke was motivated by love and revenge. The comics version, and arguably the way the potential movie character should do it, is to be motivated by the highest bidder – a mercenary who has a code, but cash comes first. A high end espionage thriller with a hit that goes wrong would be the best way to showcase Deathstroke’s morals, his intelligence and ruthlessness.

Image via DC Comics/Deadline Hollywood

Image via DC Comics/Deadline Hollywood

Who should play him?
Australian Manu Bennett did a fine job with Slade Wilson in Arrow, but he himself was unhappy with the way they turned him from major threat to punching bag in the space of a few episodes of season 3. His appearance on the small screen may also rule him out. Scott Eastwood is rumoured to be the man playing Slade Wilson the soldier in Suicide Squad, but that is by no means confirmed. For the physical build of Deathstroke, and the look, Stephen Lang, late of Avatar, would be a possible candidate, but to add that extra touch of menace, you need look no further than Ron Perlman.

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