From Avengers: Infinity War to Aquaman, a jaw-dropping number of superhero movies and shows are heading to your screens in the not-too-distant future. While the latest developments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe might grab headlines for days, there are dozens of other comic book productions in development that haven’t gotten quite as much attention. Even though the announcements about these projects may have gotten buried in your feeds, these upcoming movies and shows will bring some fan-favorite stories and characters to massive new audiences.
Now, CBR is taking a look at some of the comic book shows and movies that you didn’t know were coming out. In this hardly comprehensive list, we’ll be looking at some of the in-development comic book adaptations that haven’t gotten as much attention as blockbuster releases starring Marvel and DC’s biggest heroes. Since so many movies and shows evaporate during the years-long development process, we’ll be focusing on officially announced projects that were announced recently, made news within the past year or that are currently in production. Whether they slipped under your radar or slipped your mind, CBR has you covered with all the latest on the comic book movies and shows you’ll be talking about soon.
16. HARLEY QUINN
While it’s unclear where Harley Quinn’s next cinematic appearance will be, she’ll return to her animated roots in the upcoming cartoon, Harley Quinn, on DC Entertainment’s unnamed streaming service. Although a premiere date hasn’t been announced, Warner Bros. Animation will produce the series, which has been ordered for 26 episodes.
Margot Robbie, who portrays Harley Quinn in the live-action DC Extended Universe, is reportedly the first choice for the title role.
After debuting as the Joker’s sidekick on Batman: The Animated Series in 1992, Harley Quinn has evolved into one of DC’s most popular characters. In the comedic series, Quinn will try to take over Gotham City’s underworld, alongside her frequent partner Poison Ivy. If the concept art released by DC is any indication, the show’s style will be inspired by Amanda Conner artwork in Harley Quinn and could feature other DC villains like Killer Croc, Clayface and Kite-Man.
After starring in two successful films in the 2000s, Hellboy will hit the big screen again 2019’s aptly-titled Hellboy. Directed by Neil Marshall, the reboot will see Stranger Things‘ David Harbour become the Hellboy, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense’s demonic hero. The Dark Horse and Lionsgate production will also feature Ian McShane as Professor Trevor Broom, Helboy’s adoptive father. Daniel Dae Kim was cast as B.P.R.D. agent Ben Daimio after Ed Skrein left the film amid concerns about the character’s racial authenticity.
In the film, Hellboy and his allies will take on Milla Jovovich’s Nimue the Blood Queen, a medieval sorceress who wants to destroy the world. The film will reportedly aim for an R-rating and feature a mix of horror and supernatural action. Although fans have already seen an imposing photo of Harbour as Mike Mignola’s signature creation, the film won’t be released until January 11, 2019.
14. JUDGE DREDD: MEGA-CITY ONE
Thanks to its intense action, commanding performances and dystopian sci-fi world, Pete Travis’ Dredd became an instant cult classic when it was released in 2012. Karl Urban delivered a pitch-perfect take on Judge Dredd, John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s brutal lawman from the pages of 2000 A.D. While a much-discussed sequel to that film never materialized,, IM Global Television and Rebellion announced that the world of Dredd would come to life again in the live-action series Judge Dredd: Mega-City One.
While details on the show are still scarce, Urban is reportedly in talks about picking up Dredd’s badge once again. The show is set to follow a team of Judges as they try to keep order in Mega-City One, a grimey, futuristic metropolis that engulfs America’s east coast. Although the show doesn’t have a home yet, its produces have said that it could premiere as soon as 2019.
While the multimedia success of The Walking Dead cemented Robert Kirkman as one of the biggest comic book creators around, fans are still waiting to see the writer’s other epic comic book, Invincible, come to life. Since 2003, Kirkman, Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley have chronicled the adventures of Invincible, the young superhero Mark Grayson.
Like The Walking Dead, Invincible has received acclaim for moments of shocking violence and heart-breaking twists.
Although Invincible had a short run as a completely forgotten motion comic on MTV in 2008, Invincible is finally set to get the adaption it deserves on the big screen. After successfully turning Preacher into a TV series, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg will write, produce and direct the feature film with Universal Pictures, Point Grey Pictures and Skybound Entertainment. While Invincible’s Image Comics adventures might be ending soon, this film could give the character a second life on screen.
12. DEADPOOL: THE ANIMATED SERIES
This summer, Deadpool 2 will see Ryan Reynolds’ Merc with a Mouth return for more hyper-violent hijinks while Josh Brolin’s Cable and Zazie Beetz’ Domino make their cinematic debuts. After that, Deadpool will jump onto the small screen, thanks to his upcoming animated series for FXX. While Deadpool has made plenty of appearances in kid-friendly cartoons like X-Men: The Animated Series and Ultimate Spider-Man, this cartoon from FX Productions, ABC Signature Studios and Marvel Television.
The Deadpool cartoon will be written, produced and run by Donald Glover.
He will partner with his brother and writing partner Stephen Glover. Although the show still doesn’t have a premiere date, writing began while Donald was filming Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, where he’ll play a young Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars prequel. It’s unclear whether or not Reynolds will play Deadpool in the show, but the series has already been picked up for 10 episodes.
11. LOCKE AND KEY
Since it debuted in 2008, Locke and Key has earned a reputation as one of the best supernatural horror comics of the modern age. Created by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, the series follows Tyler, Kinsey and Bode Locke as they explore the magical abilities and strange legacy of the keys hidden in their family home, Keyhouse.
There have already been a few different attempts to bring Locke and Key to life, including a failed 2011 pilot for Fox. In 2017, Hulu ordered a new Locke and Key pilot based on the acclaimed IDW Productions series. Frances O’Connor has been cast as Nina Locke, the mother of the three Locke children. Along with Hill, Lost‘s Carlton Cuse will produce the pilot, and It director Andy Muschietti will direct the one-hour episode.
As one of the most iconic comics of the 1990s, Todd McFarlane’s Spawn broke sales records and helped launch Image Comics. Millions of readers watched on as commando Al Simmons made a deal with the devil to become the supernatural avenger Spawn. At the peak of his popularity, Spawn starred in an HBO animated series, successful toy lines, numerous video games and a feature film starring Michael Jai White in 1997.
Todd McFarlane is set to bring his signature creation back to the big screen himself.
Although a sequel to that CGI-heavy film never materialized, he will write and direct the untitled Spawn reboot, which will reportedly lean heavily into the comic’s horror roots. Blumhouse Productions will produce the movie, which is set to feature Spawn in a relatively limited role. McFarlane has also revealed that the film will be made on a $10 million budget and will aim for a hard R-rating.
9. MARVEL RISING: SECRET WARRIORS
While the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy will come together in Avengers: Infinity War, that film is a little too crowded for some of Marvel’s newer heroes. Instead, young heroes like Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel and Quake will take on starring roles in the upcoming animated feature Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors. Set for a 2018 release, the cartoon will help kickstart the Marvel Rising franchise, which focuses on Marvel’s diverse next generation of heroes.
In the feature, Dove Cameron will voice Ghost Spider, a renamed version of Spider-Gwen. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Chloe Bennet will reprise her role as Daisy Johnson/Quake, and upcoming New Warriors star Milana Vayntrub will voice the cartoon’s Squirrel Girl. They’ll be joined by Kim Raver’s Captain Marvel, Tyler Posey’s Inferno, Kathreen Khavari’s Ms. Marvel, Cierra Ramirez’s America Chavez and Kamil McFadden’s Patriot. The feature will reportedly be preceded by shorts introducing Cameron’s Ghost Spider.
Even though his live-action show was canceled after one season in 2015, Matt Ryan’s John Constantine hasn’t gone too long between his TV appearances. Although his series wasn’t initially part of the Arrowverse, the supernatural antihero appeared in Arrow and is set to have a recurring guest starring role in Legends of Tomorrow. In addition to those guest spots, the occult detective will take center stage once again in the upcoming animated web series Constantine.
Set to debut sometime in 2018, the animated series will feature Matt Ryan as Constantine once again.
While the show is ostensibly a follow-up to his live-action series, there’s no word on whether or not this cartoon will tie up any unfinished live-action storylines. The Warner Bros. Animation series will be written by veteran DC Comics scribe J.M DeMatteis and will join other DC cartoons like Vixen and The Ray on CW Seed.
7. DEADLY CLASS
Since it debuted in 2014, Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s Deadly Class has been one of Image’s most acclaimed comics. Set in the late 1980s, the series follows Marcus, a homeless orphan who attends a high school for assassins alongside the children of criminal kingpins. After Avengers: Infinity War, directors Joe and Anthony Russo signed on to produce a live-action adaptation of the comic, Syfy ordered a pilot for a Deadly Class series.
Produced by Sony Pictures Television, Deadly Class is set to feature a mix of genre veterans and new faces. Master Lin, the school’s headmaster, will be played by Benedict Wong, who plays Doctor Strange’s partner Wong in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Teen Wolf‘s Benjamin Wadsworth will play Marcus in the show. The school’s other students will be played by Maria Gabriela de Faria, Luke Tennie, Liam James, Michel Duval and Lana Condor, who was X-Men: Apocalypse‘s Jubilee.
After Wonder Woman became a surprise smash and Justice League failed to set the world on fire, the future of the DC Extended Universe seems somewhat murky. With conflicting reports about Ben Affleck’s future as the Dark Knight in Matt Reeves’ upcoming Batman film, Gotham City’s cinematic future is especially uncertain. However, in March 2017, Warner Bros. tapped Joss Whedon to bring Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, to the big screen in her first solo cinematic outing.
When Whedon’s involvement was announced, the WB also said that Batgirl would be heavily influenced by Gail Simone’s run on the character during DC’s New 52 reboot. Whedon has also stated that he was interested in what could motivate Gordon to become Batgirl without a tragic origin story. Although Whedon reshot part of Justice League last year, production on Batgirl is still expected to begin sometime in 2018.
5. SAM AND TWITCH
Created by Todd McFarlane in 1992’s Spawn #1, Sam Burke and Maximilian “Twitch” William III were homicide detectives who originally clashed with Spawn. After the gruff Sam and the brainy Twitch built a hard-fought mutual respect with the supernatural hero, they became some of Spawn’s closest human allies. In 1999, the two detectives began starring in their own critically-acclaimed series, which featured early work from writer Brian Michael Bendis.
Even though their last comic series was almost a decade ago, Sam and Twitch are set to star in a live-action TV series in development for BBC America. Although the show likely won’t feature Spawn, it’s set to be produced, written and directed by Kevin Smith. If BBC America picks up the series, it’s reportedly going to be a fairly serious supernatural procedural, with a first season that would likely run for eight episodes.
4. THE CROW REBORN
While Jason Momoa’s Aquaman will dive into his first solo movie in 2018, the King of Atlantis isn’t the only comic book character that Momoa is set to bring to life. He’s also been linked to the role of Eric Draven, the main character in a long-gestating reboot of The Crow. Created by James O’Barr during the 1980s independent comics boom, The Crow follows undead protagonists who’ve come back to life to seek vengeance for their deaths.
Although 1994’s The Crow spawned several sequels and a TV series, the franchise has been dormant since 2005. Sony Pictures eventually acquired the rights to the reboot, which is set to be directed by Corin Hardy. In late 2017, Momoa teased fans on social media with a drawing of the Crow’s iconic face paint, and filming will reportedly get underway later in 2018.
3. THE BOYS
While adults-only fare like Logan and Preacher have already pushed the boundaries of what comic book adaptations can be, The Boys will almost certainly take things to a whole new level. Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s pitch-black superhero parody was originally published in 2006 by WildStorm, a DC Comics imprint. When the publisher became uneasy with the comic’s anti-superhero tone, it was abruptly canceled. After Dynamite Entertainment picked it up, the series ran until 2012.
Not discouraged by the source material’s controversial tone, Amazon Studios picked up The Boys for one season of eight episodes. Like the comic, the show will follow the C.I.A. squad dedicated to monitoring the world’s incompetent, totally corrupt superheroes. The live-action series, which is set to premiere in 2019, will be written by Eric Kripke and directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen. Erin Moriarty has been cast as Starlight, an idealistic young hero.
2. TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES
Even though it has legions of young fans and dominates Cartoon Network’s schedules, Teen Titans Go! has divided older superhero fans. The comedy is a far cry from the more serious Teen Titans cartoon of the early 2000s or any of the Titans’ comic book adventures. Over the course of any of the show’s 11-minute segments, viewers are treated to a rapid-fire assault of jokes and surprisingly deep DC Comics references.
On July 27, 2018, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies will mark the Teen Titans’ cinematic debut. Accordingly, the plot of the film will feature the Titans as they try to convince filmmakers to put them in a movie while they save the world. Scott Menville’s Robin, Greg Cipes Beast Boy, Khary Payton’s Cyborg, Hynden Walch’s Starfire and Tara Strong’s Raven will be joined by Will Arnett and Kristen Bell in undisclosed roles.
Although Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ masterpiece Watchmen was famously said to be unfilmable, that didn’t stop Zack Snyder from adapting the epic as a feature in 2009. While Snyder’s ambitious film was moderately well-reviewed, some critics maintained that Watchmen‘s generations-spanning story was simply too large to contain in a single film.
Producer Damon Lindelof is in talks to bring Watchmen to HBO as a live-action series.
Although the show is still in the earliest stages of development, wrestler-turned-actor John Cena has already been rumored to be up for a role in the dark, expansive superhero tale. In the same way that the original comic deconstructed the superhero comics of the past, Lindelof has said that he wants to reconsider modern superhero movies through the same light. While there’s no word on when a Watchmen series could premiere, it would add another chapter to this essential story’s enduring legacy.
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