The superhero genre is as strong as ever. What was once considered to be a momentary fad or even a declining market has turned into a multi-million dollar blockbuster industry. After years of resisting the subject as juvenile and silly, studios and distributors are now tripping over themselves to be part of the next big superhero endeavor. The Marvel Cinematic Universe still going strong nearly 10 years later is a testament to how viable comic books are for adaptation into television and film.
The enormous success of the MCU has other companies looking to do what Marvel did. DC Comics is attempting to establish the DC Extended Universe now. Netflix just acquired Millarworld, no doubt with plans to adapt some of Mark Millar’s titles. Other publishers, like Dark Horse and Valiant are trying to get their own connected universes off the ground. Over the last few months, we’ve heard about quite a few comic book movies coming down the line, but not all of the rumors will pan out. Sometimes projects fall apart. Here are the 15 projects we think are definitely coming to a screen near you before too long.
15. CABLE AND X-FORCE
Cable will be making his film debut when he appears in Deadpool 2 on June 1, 2018. Josh Brolin has signed a deal with 20th Century Fox that would allow him to appear in other X-Men films within the universe, including New Mutants and X-Men: Dark Phoenix. His time-traveling abilities will make it possible to tie together multiple movies as well as previous films.
At the same time, Fox is developing what would be an R-rated X-Force film. In 2015, a potential lineup for the movie was released, which included Cable, Domino, Cannonball, Warpath, and Rogue. Ryan Reynolds has since gotten Deadpool involved in the film, with Psylocke also a possibility. As of February 2017, Reynolds is co-writing the script along with director Joe Carnahan (The Grey).
14. CAPTAIN MARVEL
Carol Danvers was supposed to make her debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe far sooner with roles originally planned for Jessica Jones and Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, both appearances were eventually scrapped in favor of a solo film. Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) were hired to write the script for Captain Marvel. In 2016, Brie Larson was officially cast as Carol Danvers and Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Mississippi Grind) were brought on to direct in 2017.
Few details about the film have been released, but we do know that Captain Marvel will be set in the 1990s. The villains of the movie will also be the shapeshifting Skrulls, which may set up a future storyline in the greater MCU. Captain Marvel will be out in theaters on March 8, 2019.
13. BLACK LIGHTNING
The CW is getting another superhero show in Black Lightning, but it will not be part of the Arrowverse. The show was developed by Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends) and a pilot was initially ordered by Fox before moving networks. Greg Berlanti became involved and helped to prepare the show for a 13-episode first season to premiere in 2018.
In Black Lightning, the titular hero has retired from superheroing, but is forced to get back into the game when the 100 gang begins to corrupt his community. One of his daughters begins her own superhero career and the other gets involved with the gang. Cress Williams will play Jefferson Pierce, China Anne McClain is Jennifer Pierce and Nafessa Williams is Anissa Pierce. The rapper Krondon has been cast as Tobias Whale, leader of the 100.
Back in April of 2017, Warner Bros. announced that it would be launching its own direct-to-consumer digital service centered around DC Comics content. One of its launch titles will be a live-action Titans series. The series is being developed by Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter, who have worked on the Arrowverse, as well as Akiva Goldsman (Star Trek: Discovery) and comic book writer and current DC CCO, Geoff Johns.
The show’s synopsis makes mention of Dick Grayson, Starfire, and Raven as they come together to become superheroes. It’s unknown whether Dick will be Robin or Nightwing in this series, or who else will be on the team. It was recently announced that actress Teagan Croft has been officially cast as Raven, but the full cast remains a mystery.
If you can believe it, a big screen adaptation of Captain Marvel/Shazam has been in development for nearly a decade now. It was only recently that the film was added to the DC Extended Universe’s slate of films, expected for a 2019 release. In July 2017, David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation) was announced as the film’s director with production expected to begin in 2018.
Despite Dwayne Johnson’s initial casting as Black Adam, it has now been determined that his character will appear in his own solo movie independent of Shazam. If you’re worried about the tone of the film, don’t be. Even though it will take place in the DCEU, it is expected to have a much lighter feel than what we have seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Apparently, Shazam! will actually have a sense of humor.
It looks like Mike Mignola’s Hellboy is amping up for a return to the silver screen with a reboot of the film franchise expected to be released sometime in 2018. The new movie was announced as Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen in May of 2017, but has since dropped the title to simply Hellboy. Neil Marshall will direct a far darker film than Guillermo del Toro’s first two, with Mignola calling for an R-rating.
David Harbour (Stranger Things) has been cast as the titular character with Ian McShane (American Gods) expected to play Trevor Bruttenholm. Mila Jovovich (Resident Evil) will be the film’s primary villain. She will be playing the role of the Queen of Blood, who in Hellboy continuity was once known as the Lady of the Lake in Arthurian Legend.
9. MILES MORALES
Despite fan desire and the small hints dropped it Spider-Man: Homecoming, it doesn’t seem like Marvel is planning on bringing Miles Morales into the MCU (at least not yet). However, that does not mean that the company isn’t interested in adapting the character. Miles is scheduled to show up in 2017’s new Spider-Man animated television show on Disney XD, voiced by Nadji Jeter (Grown Ups).
Sony Animation is also developing an animated feature film that will star Miles Morales as Spider-Man. Shameik Moore (The Get Down) will voice Spider-Man and Liev Schreiber will play the film’s villain. Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey (Rise of the Guardians) will direct with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Batman Movie) on writing duties. Expect this title to be released in December of 2018.
8. SONY’S MARVEL UNIVERSE
Though Sony has agreed to let Spider-Man appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the company has retained the rights to other characters in the Spider-verse. In order to take advantage of these properties, Sony has decided to launch their own line of movies that are tangentially attached to the MCU. Right now the company has plans to release Venom in 2018 and Silver and Black in 2019.
Venom will be directed by Ruben Fleisher (Zombieland) and is expected to borrow from the horror genre. Tom Holland has been cast as Eddie Brock and Carnage will serve as the film’s antagonist. The Silver Sable and Black Cat team-up movie will be more of an action film directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball) and written by Christopher Yost (Thor: Ragnarok). The film promises to feature many street-level characters from Spider-Man comics.
7. NEW WARRIORS
Marvel is getting into the sitcom genre with the New Warriors television series on Freeform. As a joint venture between Marvel Television and ABC Signature, Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory will serve as executive producers on the show. Kevin Biegel (Enlisted) will serve as the showrunner for the series. A 10-episode first season has been ordered and each episode will be 30 minutes long.
The full cast has previously been announced with Squirrel Girl (Milana Vayntrub), Mister Immortal (Derek Theler), Night Thrasher (Jeremy Tardy), Speedball (Calum Worthy), Microbe (Matthew Moy), and Debrii (Kate Comer) making up the New Warriors team. The show is currently in the pre-production stage and will take place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. New Warriors is scheduled for a 2018 debut.
6. NEW MUTANTS
Fox’s X-Men film series is about to get a new instalment beyond X-Men: Dark Phoenix and Deadpool 2. Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) will be writing and directing a New Mutants live-action movie as a spinoff to the central X-Men series. The movie will follow five mutants as they discover their new abilities while being held against their will in a secret facility. The film will borrow from the horror genre as the group fights their way to freedom.
The cast includes Magik (Anya Taylor-Joy), Wolfsbane (Maisie Williams), Cannonball (Charlie Heaton), Sunspot (Henry Zaga), Mirage (Blu Hunt) and Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga). Professor Xavier, Storm and Warlock are also expected to appear in the movie. Filming began in July 2017 for an April 13, 2018 release.
5. CLOAK & DAGGER
The series that has been long in development is finally coming to television with a 10-episode first season in 2018 on Freeform. Series creator Joe Pokaski (Heroes) will serve as showrunner and executive producer. It centers around two teenagers by the name of Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson, who form a romantic relationship and also discover they have incredible abilities.
Olivia Holt will play Dagger, who has the ability to create daggers made of light. Aubrey Joseph will play Cloak, who has the power to cloak people in darkness and teleport them. The show will not connect directly to what is going on in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe in order to allow Cloak & Dagger to find an audience first. Things can obviously change as the show progresses.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is no stranger to television, but the interconnected world of Marvel superheroes will add one more outlet once Runaways debuts on Hulu. The show is based on the comic of the same name that was created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona in 2003. Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, who have teamed up to create several popular shows on the CW, will serve as showrunners.
Runaways centers around a group of teenagers who find out that their parents are actually supervillains known collectively as The Pride. The team will include Alex Wilder (Rhenzy Feliz), Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano), Karolina Dean (Virginia Gardner), Gert Yorkes (Ariela Barer), Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin) and Molly Hernandez (Allegra Acosta). The 10-episode first season is scheduled to premiere on November 17, 2017.
Netflix just announced the acquisition of Mark Millar’s Millarworld comic book line in order to have control over the creator’s rich supply of creator-owned work. Nothing has been announced to be in the works yet, but Millar has proven his ability to get comic book properties to the big screen, as evidenced by Wanted, Kick-Ass, and The Secret Service all receiving successful blockbuster adaptations.
It’s likely that Netflix wants the creator more than his work, but the company would have to be nuts not to try bringing the likes of Huck, Jupiter’s Legacy and Superior to series in an effort to create the next big comic book adaptation. Disney is keen to create their own streaming platform, so Netflix will want to find an alternate source for superhero content before too long.
The success of The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and Outcast has made Robert Kirkman a valuable commodity in television. He’s inked deals with AMC, Universal Pictures, and now he’s working with Amazon Prime to develop new projects exclusively for the streaming service. This means many of his creator-owned comics could soon be adapted for television.
It was announced in 2017 that Seth Rogen (The Lion King) and Evan Goldberg (Preacher) would be writing, directing, and producing a live-action adaptation of Invincible. The film will be released by Universal Pictures as a product of the two-year first look production deal the studio previously signed with Skybound Entertainment back in 2015. Be on the lookout for more Kirkman projects based on The Astounding Wolf-Man, Super Dinosaur and Thief of Thieves.
1. VALIANT COMICS
Valiant’s successful revival of its comic book line has led the company to a movie deal. Sony Pictures signed a five-picture deal with the publisher in 2015, and we are now getting close to a final product. The plan is to produce two Bloodshot films and two Harbinger films before introducing a crossover title called Harbinger Wars. Oscar-nominated screenwriter Eric Heisserer (Arrival) will be working on the first two movies.
Several other characters from Valiant Comics also have films in development, including Eternal Warrior, Archer & Armstrong, and Shadowman. A television show centered around the superhero duo Quantum and Woody is also being developed by the Russo Brothers. In recent news, Jared Leto has been cast as Bloodshot and Dave Bautista has signed on to play the Eternal Warrior in a solo movie.
Which comic book adaptation are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.
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