As I said in a recent post, good superhero films got passed on by a number of different studios. It almost makes one wish they were more willing to take a chance and try something new. Then again, had they actually listened to that advice, we might have gotten a number of superhero films that would be more bizarre than awe inspiring. Such films include:

1. Terry Gilliam’s Watchmen

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Whether or not you liked the Watchmen adaptation Zack Snyder released in 2009, you have to admit it stuck pretty closely to the original graphic novel. Or at least it did more than other scripts based on the source that were floating around for years beforehand. One of those scripts (which was actually considered by Warner Bros for a period of time) was written by Sam Hamm for Terry Gilliam, who was hired by Warner Bros in the early 1990s to create a Watchmen film. The script became controversial among fans of the graphic novel; while the story is claimed to have played out in the same way it did in the original story, the ending received a massive overhaul. Rather than an ending with the giant alien monster (like the source material) or the giant energy wave (like in Snyder’s film) Gilliam’s planned ending had Ozymandias convincing Dr. Manhattan to erase his origin from history, which somehow causes all of the Watchmen characters to become nothing more than characters in a comic book. Rorschach, Nite Owl, and Silk Spectre II would have been transported into Times Square as performers instead of the actual superheroes. Thankfully, Gilliam couldn’t raise the money necessary for the film, and it was eventually dropped.

2. Cannon’s Spider-Man

While a whole list could be devoted to failed Spider-Man projects, this one ranks among the webslinger’s more interesting attempts at film. Started in the 1980s, Cannon acquired the film rights to Spider-Man, allowing cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus to create the film, despite their complete lack of understand about the character. Their treatment, which involved Peter working for a “Dr. Zork”, has Parker mutated in an accident before he fights Zork’s monsters. Despite the ridiculousness of the script, another one was drafted in which Parker actually turns into a real spider. Yet another script brought back Dr. Octopus, while another draft had a Morbius type villain. The scripts kept coming, each one with a different villain, until the cousins were not able to acquire enough money to fund the project, leading Cannon to scrap the film.

3. Darren Aronofsky’s Batman: Year One

As mentioned in the post about good superhero films, before there was Batman Begins, DC looked for a new director to put a fresh spin on the Dark Knight. In steps Darren Aronofsky and his take on Batman: Year One, which deviated a great deal from the source material. In this film (which is set in the 1970s), Bruce grows up to be somewhat of a psychopath, and after watching his parents get gunned down, is raised by a father son duo, named Big Al and Little Al (Little Al filling the Alfred role in this story). Rather than gadgets, a Batmobile, and a Batcave, Bruce would have used whatever tools were lying around, a Lincoln Convertible, and an abandoned subway station. Apparently, this never got made because of Aronofsky’s belief that the film was a lot like Rocky at this point in development.

4. Gary Goddard’s Dazzler

Believe it or not, Dazzler, the X-Men team member and mutant who can turn sound into beams of energy, almost got a movie. In the early 1980s, writer Gary Goddard wrote for the film, which would have starred Bo Derek as Dazzler, as that character, Spider-Man, and the Avengers are sent into the future and had to fight musicians. Apparently, musicians waged war on the streets all the time, while also riding unicorns. The film, with names like Rodney Dangerfield, Robin Williams, and Cher attached at different points, also would have had a fight scene between the Village People and KISS. Sadly, the project fell through, and Goddard wrote Derek a part in Tarzan, the Ape Man instead.

5. Wesley Snipes’s Black Panther

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Even though we’ll be seeing T’Challa in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe relatively soon, we could have seen him in his own film in the late 1990s, had Wesley Snipes gotten his way. Apparently, Snipes is a big fan of the Black Panther, and tried to get the film made starting back in 1993, commenting how it would be his next film after Demolition Man. He even managed to get Stan Lee and Columbia Pictures interested in the idea. How does any of this make the film crazy? Well, Snipes announced in 2003 that he would star in either Blade: Trinity or Black Panther, depending on which film he felt like doing at the time. As history shows, Snipes went with the third Blade film, smoking a large amount of pot, skipping out on his scenes, and nearly strangling his director in the process. Since there’s nothing to suggest he wouldn’t have done the same thing on the set of the Black Panther film, it’s probably for the best he stayed with Blade.


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