10 Superhero Movies Stuck in Development Hell
In the past few decades, Hollywood has become increasingly obsessed with bringing superhero properties to the big screen. As a result, there are still hundreds of untapped characters that haven’t made it to the cinema, with many falling into development hell in the process. We’ve seen a massive influx of characters brought to life in the past ten years. As many superhero movies we’ve seen get made, there have been far more movies that never make it off the ground.
We often hear of tales from development hell in Hollywood, movies that just seem impossible to make for one reason or another. The superhero genre is no exception to this, offering countless examples of characters that might not be right for the big screen. As a result, here are 10 examples of superhero movies that will probably never get made.
A Lobo solo film has been in active development since 2009. The big debut of the alien interstellar bounty hunter was once set to be directed by Guy Ritchie. Ritchie eventually left the project, and in 2012 talks for Dwayne Johnson to star also fell through. Earlier this year, WB began courting Michael Bay to direct. WB commissioned a rewrite in an attempt to “scale down the project”, while also keeping Bay’s interest. Based on the lack of forward movement on the project recently, there’s a good chance that it may be a long time before we get a Lobo movie.
Gambit has long been a fan favorite X-Men character. The Ragin’ Cajun made his much-maligned big screen debut in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But a Gambit solo movie has been in active development since 2014, with Channing Tatum attached to star. Unfortunately, the movie hasn’t had any luck making it into production. Since 2015, Directors Rupert Wyatt, Doug Lyman and Gore Verbinski have all boarded the project, only to depart for various reasons. Although the film was moved to a March 13, 2020 date, there still hasn’t been much forward movement on the project. Regardless of how long Tatum is willing to stay attached, it will be several years before we see this movie – if ever.
Out of all the entries on this list, the Cyborg solo movie is perhaps the biggest enigma. Actor Ray Fischer was cast in early 2014 and a 2020 release was set for Cyborg’s first solo outing a few months later. Although Fischer made appearances in both Batman v. Superman and Justice League, those ended up being minor supporting turns for the character. Ever since the release of the latter, Cyborg has kind of been put on the back-burner, at least from the outset. Although WB hasn’t budged on the release date, it seems highly unlikely that this movie will come out in 2020. Taking into account the special effects required in bringing the character to life, and it’s easy to see why this movie will be hard to justify making on a business level.
Namor The Sub Mariner
Aquaman often overshadows Namor The Sub-Mariner in terms public awareness. As one of the oldest golden-age heroes, you’d think that Namor would be a prime candidate for a movie adaptation. Even though Hollywood has been working on a big screen adaptation of Namor since 1997, nothing has managed to surface. The rights to the character finally reverted back to Marvel Studios in 2014. According to Kevin Feige, the reason for the lack of development is “complicated”, citing the fact that Universal still owns the distribution rights to the character. If the upcoming Aquaman movie can manage to be a success, it might very well pave the way for Namor to get made sooner rather than later. If not, it could very well never get made at all.
In 2017, it was revealed that Fox would be developing a Multiple Man movie as a starring vehicle for James Franco. Jamie Madrox is no stranger to audiences, being teased in X2 and a full-on supporting role in X-Men: The Last Stand. Although the character was portrayed as a thug in that movie, Multiple Man has become an increasingly complex character in the past few decades. Unfortunately for Franco, sexual assault allegations hit the actor shortly after this announcement, causing some to question whether Franco was still attached. Although producer Simon Kinberg confirmed that the film is still in development, the Fox/Disney merger potentially might doom this film before it can even get off the ground.
Considering WB’s obsession with Batman properties, you’d think that a solo Batgirl movie would have been made long ago. Although Batgirl has had numerous live action and animated incarnations, neither Barbara Gordon nor Cassandra Cain have yet to be given their own film. The big screen adaptation of Batgirl finally made headway in early 2017 when Joss Whedon was hired to write and direct. Whedon left the project earlier this year, citing the fact that he “didn’t really have a story” to gravitate towards. Most recently, Bumblebee scribe Christina Hodson was brought on to write and WB is actively looking for a female director to helm the project. Considering that Cain is about to make her big screen debut in Birds of Prey, the success of that film could very well shape the box office viability of a Batgirl movie.
The Incredible Hulk 2
The Incredible Hulk is the only MCU movie that hasn’t garnered a sequel. As one of Marvel’s most popular and recognizable characters, many have wondered why a sequel has yet to been made. The 2008 film made enough money to be considered a success, but had a mixed response critically. Mark Ruffalo eventually replaced Edward Norton, resulting in several crossover appearances that have culminated in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War. Marvel studios has certainly nailed the character, so what gives? As it turns out, Universal also owns the distribution rights to the big green guy, creating several conflicts of interest. As much as we all want another Hulk movie, it seems that – as Mark Ruffalo put it – “A standalone Hulk movie will never happen.”
Another character that should’ve probably already made it to the big screen, Dick Greyson’s alter-alter ego is long overdue for a movie. In early 2017, WB announced a feature film adaptation of Nightwing with Chris McKay directing. What is surely one of many casualties of Justice League, the Nightwing movie has stalled as of late. This February, McKay stated that they were “taking their time” writing the screenplay. Nightwing’s slow development is surely part of this restructuring of the DCEU, but it may also already be on life support. Most recently, McKay told fans to “keep hope alive” for a sequel – so there’s that glimmer of hope.
Earlier this year, it was reported that a Kitty Pryde standalone movie was in development by Deadpool director Tim Miller. Little is known about the project at this time, or if this project will even survive the Disney/Fox merger. As one of the more notable X-Men characters in the comics, Kitty/Shadowcat is pretty well exposed to audiences. Including Ellen Paige’s performances as the character, she’s appeared in four X-Men movies to varying degrees. If anything, Kitty Pryde has more of a chance to get a series at this point, and the character might ultimately be better off for it.
The Crow Remake
The Crow remake has been in active development for nearly ten years. The original film is famous for causing the death of actor Brandon Lee. Although the franchise managed to gestate three awful direct to video sequels, audiences have largely abandoned the series. In the past few years, the remake has seen a revolving door of potential actors and directors aboard the project. Most recently, Jason Mamoa was set to star with Corin Hardy directing. In May of this year, both dropped out of the movie, leaving the potential reboot dead in the water. The Crow remake seems to be a cursed project. As a result, there’s a good chance that The Crow remake will never see the light of day.
Which of these characters would you most like to see get their own solo film? Let us know in the comments below!