Ever since Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment started building shared superhero universes on TV and in the movies, fans have wondered about crossover possibilities. While there may be rules and boundaries, they don’t always seem hard and fast. For example, 2020’s “Green Lantern Corps” movie apparently prevents Alan Scott from appearing on “Legends of Tomorrow,” but Superman can be on two episodes of “Supergirl” this fall and in “Justice League” next year.
This may mean more opportunities for “media-jumping.” It risks being controversial because it involves putting another actor in the role, but it can also offer a sufficiently different take on a character. Indeed, for our purposes I’m assuming that these characters can be interpreted differently (and most likely by different actors) in the other medium. It is a multiverse, after all.
Also, for simplicity’s sake I’m limiting the two media realms to TV’s “Arrowverse” and “Gotham-verse” and the cinematic DC Extended Universe of “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman,” “Suicide Squad” and their follow-ups. Therefore, in the spirit of fan-friendly speculation, here — in no particular order — are 14-odd DC Comics characters currently associated with various TV shows who I’d like to see to jump (at least temporarily) to the movies.
12. BLACK CANARY
If and when Katie Cassidy’s Laurel Lance comes back to the Arrowverse (and her new cross-show deal certainly makes that likely), I’ll be very happy. Black Canary has long been one of my favorites, and both Laurel and Caity Lotz’s Sara have done well with the role. However, Black Canary is also an important part of the Justice League. In the comics she gave the team a bit of history and/or legacy, whether as an Earth-Two/Justice Society transplant or as the daughter of a JSAer. For the most part she also has an uncomplicated costume (all of Laurel’s buckles notwithstanding) and skill set (martial artist plus sonic-energy projector) and she’s fit well with every League from the Satellite Era to the JLI. I doubt she’ll be in next year’s “Justice League,” but my fingers are crossed for the sequel.
11. THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER (AND THE WHITE MARTIANS)
Twenty years ago in their first “JLA” arc, Grant Morrison and Howard Porter showed readers just how dangerous a small group of White Martians should be. “Supergirl’s” first season only had one of each kind of Martian, and they both proved plenty powerful. That hypothetical “Justice League” sequel could do a different kind of invasion, using the White Martians as sleeper agents. It could also take a page from Steve Englehart and Dick Dillin’s classic “Justice League of America” #144, and have the disguised Commander Blanx and his men hunt the fugitive J’Onn J’Onzz. Because that story flashed back to 1959, its Cold War paranoia would transfer well to “Man of Steel” and “BVS’s” anti-alien subplots.
10. LESLIE THOMPKINS
Created by Denny O’Neil and Dick Giordano and portrayed originally as Crime Alley’s personification of goodness and compassion, Leslie Thompkins first appeared in “Detective Comics” #457 as a sweet little old lady who had comforted young Bruce Wayne under those unforgiving streetlights. Several years later, Mike W. Barr and Alan Davis revamped Leslie as an old friend of Thomas Wayne’s who ran a free medical clinic in Crime Alley and occasionally patched up Batman and Robin. This version of Leslie had helped Alfred raise Bruce and disapproved of her young charge becoming Batman. While her name’s not Martha, I wouldn’t mind seeing “foster-mother” Leslie team up with Jeremy Irons’ Alfred for some verbal sparring with Ben Affleck’s Batman. Extra points for Bruce uttering some form of “you’re not my real mom!”
9. THE ATOM
There are also two strikes against the Atom: he has an Avenger counterpart as well; and with Cyborg and the Flash on the team, he might not be the only resident scientist. Still, Ray Palmer (or Ryan Choi)’s intellectual curiosity isn’t informed by an accident which gave him his powers. Instead, Ray ended up field-testing his size-changing technology during a rescue mission which might have resulted in him exploding. I would also argue that while the MCU’s Scott Lang risked being trapped in the Microverse, the Atom spends a lot more time at the subatomic level, traveling through phone lines and whatnot. (Could he hitch a ride on a packet of Wi-Fi data? Hmmm…) Next year’s “Justice League” may be big and explode-y, with lots of heroes-vs.-parademons action; but if it warrants a sequel, the Atom could help take it to a whole new dimension.
It seems safe to say that by the end of the “Justice League” movie, Earth’s collective consciousness will have been expanded considerably. By that point the planet will have seen two different alien invasions and will have been saved from them by (among others) a Kryptonian, an ageless Amazon who fought in World War I, a half-mechanical man powered by interdimensional technology and the King of Atlantis. The Justice League will no doubt have a global perspective, so it needs members from all over. Vixen would be a great fit. Her powers are probably closest to Aquaman’s in theme, but different enough in effect.
She’d also bring this fantasy-draft movie League up to ten members, same as the Avengers during “Age of Ultron’s” Sokovia battle (Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye, Hulk, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, War Machine). We can debate the speed at which the different shared universes have introduced their characters, but there’s probably enough time to worry about that before the “Justice League” sequel’s planned 2019 release date.
7. PROFESSOR IVO
Remember Professor Ivo from “Arrow’s” Season Two flashbacks? Remember how his floating laboratory-slash-prison was called “The Amazo” for no apparent reason? A TV version of Amazo might be fun — a super-speedy, shrinkable archer and martial artist with molecular-restructuring powers and heat- and cold-guns — but wouldn’t you rather see a movie version of Professor Ivo build the android Amazo so it could duplicate all the powers of the movie Justice League? It could even use Cyborg’s nanotechnology to accomplish that — which, come to think of it, would make Amazo a pretty awesome opponent for the “Cyborg” solo movie.
Because Melissa Benoist is one of the best things to happen to a red “S” since Christopher Reeve, this suggestion may be even more controversial than Green Arrow; but hear me out. Built into Kara Zor-El’s origin — whether it’s comics, movies, or TV — is the notion that she feels Krypton’s loss more deeply than her cousin does because she left it as a kid, not as a baby. The New 52’s take on this made Supergirl more “pro-Krypton” and therefore slower to assimilate. I think a “Man of Steel”-style take on Supergirl, starting with this sort of mindset, could contrast it with both the Phantom Zoners (who wanted to build a new Krypton out of Earth’s ashes) and Superman. It would definitely be different from the TV show, but it could also demonstrate Superman’s own relationship to the people of Earth, and vice versa. Depending on how much the public likes Superman, she could even be his “secret weapon” for a while.
In her capacity as ruler of the planet Almerac, Maxima came to Earth looking for a suitably-powerful mate to be the father of her royal heir. This is, to put it charitably, not the best introduction. However, if Maxima were to show up in a future Superman movie as just another extraterrestrial troublemaker (albeit with a little more screen time than she got on “Supergirl”), it wouldn’t have to be mentioned much at all. Maxima is just the kind of foe to give Superman (or Wonder Woman, the Flash or Green Lantern) a decent workout without having to be a final-boss-type villain. Nissan might have something to say about her name, though.
4. MAXWELL LORD
I mentioned above that Max Lord was basically “Supergirl’s” version of Lex Luthor. However, in a shared movie universe where Lex has already started causing trouble, Max would be free to perform his original duties as a smarmy Justice League liaison. He was set to be the mind-controlling, OMAC-unleashing villain of George Miller’s “Justice League” movie, but future films don’t have to go down that road. In fact, making Max Superman’s chief media strategist (whether Supes wants it or not) would be a complete about-face from the superhero-hating mastermind Max eventually became. Therefore, if future DC movies are still concerned with Superman’s public image, I hope Max is on the front lines of the charm offensive, providing positive spin until it hurts.
Okay, Harbinger per se isn’t on television, but her alter ego Lyla Michaels is the (non-powered) head of ARGUS on “Arrow.” With all due respect to that character, I’m not asking for her to be transplanted to the movies. Instead, I’m talking about full-on Harbinger, with the red helmet, poofy blonde hair and green cat-eyes, who splits into dozens of duplicates and warns super-people across space and time that bad things are coming. I understand why “BvS” used the Flash to deliver its dire warning, but if you want to get really cosmic, you know who to call.
2. BRONZE TIGER, COUNT VERTIGO AND KING SHARK
Since all three of these characters have been part of the Suicide Squad, I think you can see where this is going. “Arrow”-fied versions of Bronze Tiger and Count Vertigo both appeared in the show’s second season, and King Shark — who, it bears repeating, is a shark — showed up in “Flash’s” second season. Now, you can argue that the film version of Katana basically fills Bronze Tiger’s mysterious-enforcer role, and King Shark is likewise superficially similar to Killer Croc. However, if “Suicide Squad 2” wants to go bigger and badder, I say the more the merrier. For one thing, King Shark is marginally more articulate than Croc; Count Vertigo’s powers are well-suited for the big screen (especially for 3-D); and Bronze Tiger’s skills don’t duplicate Katana’s, they complement them.
1. GREEN ARROW
I can think of a couple of reasons why Green Arrow might not be a high priority for a “Justice League” movie, and their names are Stephen Amell and Clint Barton. Certainly Amell’s portrayal of Oliver Queen has become so familiar that any movie version would have to work hard to distinguish itself. It would also have to distinguish itself from Jeremy Renner’s regular-guy take on Hawkeye.
That said, there’s a place in the movie League for the outspoken activist Green Arrow, especially the guy who wants the League to make people’s lives better. Certainly a League founded in the wake of Metropolis’ devastation would be acutely aware of its responsibilities in this area, and Green Arrow could be their conscience. Also, I hear he makes a mean pot of chili.
Don’t forget to check out 10 DC Movie Characters Who Could Jump to TV if you missed it.
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