Classic comic books line the walls, depicting heroes throughout the ages. / PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA
Comic book movies are all the rage nowadays. With the genre experiencing a major renaissance thanks to the success of blockbusters such as Spider-Man, The Dark Knight, and the plethora of projects from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, heroes and villains of various powers and abilities have been dominating the box office for the past decade. As Marvel and Detective Comics (DC) continue to push out sensational sequels and fantastic new franchises, comic book fanatics and casual movie fans alike wonder – who is going to hit the big (or small) screen next?
A fan of the genre myself, I am certainly on the edge of my seat with anticipation as much as the next guy. Over the course of nearly 80 years, both DC and Marvel have introduced a vast variety of intriguing characters, and with the MCU multiverse coming into play, there are limitless possibilities when it comes to a potential new solo film or TV series. With so many unfamiliar characters who arguably deserve their screen time, here are five heroes and villains who should be considered for a film, or at the very least a cameo, in the near future:
Now, I know what you’re thinking – no, this is not Gwen Stacy as Deadpool. Although she was inspired by the popularity of Spider-Gwen in recent years, Gwendolyn Pool has evolved into a unique character with her own comic series, The Unbeatable Gwenpool. An avid comic book fan from our universe, Gwen is transported into the Marvel universe, where all of the heroes and villains she read about are real. After taking on the alias Gwenpool, she begins work as a mercenary before fighting alongside the West Coast Avengers. A drastically different direction than typically taken in the Marvel Multiverse, this fascinating series shows an exciting, self-aware meta adventure characterized with humor, action, and charm, without the self-insert cringe-worthiness expected in fan fiction within a similar vein. Gwenpool’s story could potentially make a binge-worthy TV show or tie into any of the numerous pre-existing franchises and heroes.
- The Spectre
Introduced in a 1940 issue of DC’s More Fun Comics, Spectre is one of the oldest and most prolific heroes in Detective Comics and in modern comic book history. Making his debut during the Golden Age of Comics, the story of Spectre began when police officer Jim Corrigan was killed by petty thugs while on his way to his and his fiance’s engagement party. Unwilling to accept his fate and join the afterlife, Corrigan is resurrected as the immortal being Spectre. He subsequently seeks revenge on his killers, vowing to rid the world of evil. A dark and brooding character, Spectre acts both independently and in a team, joining one of the earliest iterations of the Justice League, known as the Justice Society of America. An adaptation of Spectre would likely take a darker turn, similarly to adaptations like Watchmen and Marvel’s The Punisher, while providing a unique outlook on immortality and the afterlife. It is shocking that such a foundational and important character in the DC universe has yet to make a major on-screen debut, but hopefully, the wait will not last much longer.
The daughter of Golden Age hero Giovanni “John” Zatara, Zatanna is a powerful magician and illusionist, just like her father. Following his mysterious disappearance, Zatanna begins using her abilities to find John, encountering members of the Justice League along the way. Although she was a recurring character in the last three seasons of the CW’s Smallville, fans are excited to see a version of Zatanna more aligned with her role in the comics. A mysterious, wondrous figure with an at times complex moral compass, her persona would bring much intrigue to the DCEU or the Arrowverse.
- Black Cat
The infamous Black Cat is more than just your average cat burglar – a budding criminal prodigy self-trained in acrobatics, hand-to-hand combat, and gifted with the power to change probability, Felicia Hardy is a morally ambiguous villain with a tragic, but empowering backstory. Following a toxic and abusive relationship in college, Hardy trains herself in combat and follows in her father’s footsteps to swindle banks, museums, and high-end corporate operations. Although she was portrayed by Felicity Jones in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and was set to appear in a planned sequel before the Sony/Webb/Garfield duology was abruptly scrapped, we as viewers sadly never had the opportunity to see Hardy reach her fullest potential as the beloved villain/anti-heroine she is known to be in the comics. Her chemistry and tumultuous relationship with her rival turned lover Spider-Man provides a point of interest and character development in the comics, one that could potentially allow the navigation of the web slinger’s darker side and coming of age in subsequent installments. Black Cat’s backstory and role in the Spider-Man universe, and in Marvel as a whole, would make a fantastic addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the Sonyverse.
If the MCU wants an even bigger bad guy than Thanos, then taking on the almighty Galactus is certainly the way to go. Although he made an appearance in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Galactus had a starkly different look and a much less significant role than his literary counterpart. A god-like cosmic entity existing since the beginning of time, this “out-of-this-world” baddie is a seemingly unbeatable force in the Marvel universe. With immeasurable size and an unquenchable thirst supported by a diet of entire planets, this supervillain may come across as daunting and overpowered. Nonetheless, his presence could bring together heroes from multiple planets, dimensions, and universes, allowing even the most “OP” ’d superheroes to reveal the full extent of their powers, against the possibly most powerful villain of them all.
There are countless characters in both the DC and Marvel universes and in other comic books as well. Is there a hero or villain that you think is well-deserving of an on-screen debut? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to voice your hot take!