As superhero movies continue to grow in popularity, so does the demand for more unique and subversive takes on the genre. The genre has answered in kind, offering updated and improved versions of certain classic characters (ex. Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, etc.) or breaking ground with genre-defying and deconstructive films such as The Dark Knight and Logan.
But not all alternate versions of popular superheroes are welcome, either because these new takes are too outrageous even for the medium or they’re just too controversial to bother with. Here are 10 alternate versions of DC and Marvel heroes that we’ll most probably not be seeing in the movies in the near future.
10 Franken-Castle (Birth of the Monster)
Despite being a vigilante whose superpower is guns, Marvel writers who aren’t Garth Ennis usually have no idea what to do with Frank Castle. This is made painfully obvious whenever Marvel tries to reboot him, with the silliest case being Franken-Castle.
After dying, Morbius gives Frank another chance to continue his war when he’s resurrected as a literal Frankenstein’s monster. Frank’s power is still guns, only now he looks like a Universal Monster on steroids. The only reason why this beats the time Frank became heaven’s avenging angel is because of how laughable Franken-Castle looked.
9 Red/Blue Superman (Superman Red/Superman Blue)
Superman may be the most influential superhero around, but DC’s writers struggle to give him an interesting angle. This usually results in giving Kal-El a gimmick, and one of the most notorious instances was the time he was split into a red and blue version of himself.
The story goes that Superman’s energies are too strong and must be contained in two separate suits, splitting his personality. This short-lived change has become synonymous with enjoyably bad comic book writing and is usually referenced when discussing the most poorly thought out moments in superhero lore.
8 Old Man Peter Parker (Spider-Man: Reign)
The friendly neighborhood Spider-Man may have had some rough patches, but his adventures were never depressing and he always bounced back. This isn’t the case in Spider-Man: Reign, where the webslinger follows the footsteps of The Dark Knight Returns.
The bleak miniseries stars an elderly and depressed Peter Parker who fights senior-aged villains in a New York City-turned police state. He also killed MJ with his radioactive bodily fluids during their lovemaking. Spider-Man still has a long way to go in the MCU, so aging him in such a depressing manner is thankfully not a sequel option.
7 The Dark Flash (The Flash)
The Flash is the Justice League’s most happy-go-lucky member, and The Dark Flash is everything he shouldn’t be. This older version of Wally West (named Walter West) came to be after he failed to save his lover Linda from a super-villain.
To atone for his failure, Walter dons a darker persona akin to Batman, broods, and causes havoc when he appears in the DC universe. The Justice League convinces him to go back to his reality, but he ends up getting lost in Hypertime. Since DC abandoned the Hypertime, Walter’s status is currently unknown but he’s better left there.
6 Redneck Cannibal Hulks (Old Man Logan)
Now that Professor Hulk debuted in Avengers: Endgame, it won’t be impossible to see his other versions onscreen. One incarnation that’s better forgotten is the post-apocalyptic Hulk of Old Man Logan.
Here, the Hulk sired an inbred family of gamma-powered cannibals who eat Logan – who promptly regenerates in one of the Hulks’ guts and murders everyone after bursting out. Given how loveable the Hulk has become, don’t expect his repulsive redneck counterparts to show up in future movies. Even Immortal Hulk has a better chance at an MCU entrance than this rabble.
5 Dracula Batman (Batman & Dracula Trilogy)
When Robert Pattinson was confirmed as the next Batman, a section of the internet was furious that the guy who portrayed a sparkly vampire was replacing Ben Affleck. By their logic, Pattinson is actually a good fit for Batman because he too was once a vampire.
In an Elseworlds trilogy, Batman turns into a vampire and devours his Rogue’s Gallery. Batman may have controversially killed in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice but at least he didn’t eat and behead his victims. Frank Miller’s murderously unhinged Batman has more of a place in the DCEU than this monstrous one.
4 Captain Hydra (Secret Empire)
Captain America is the most patriotic and American superhero in existence, which is why the backlash against his turn in Secret Empire was more than justified. Simply put, the writers turned Captain America into a Nazi.
Granted, he was a Hydra agent but the group is directly linked to the Third Reich. Plus, Captain Hydra brutally murders a bunch of heroes. This creative decision was so bad that Marvel brought back the real Captain America, claiming that this was the plan all along. Fittingly, Captain Hydra is best remembered as a joke in Endgame and a meme.
3 Overman (Freedom Fighters)
Revisionist Superman stories usually turn the Man of Steel into an unstoppable monster, and the Superman of the latest Freedom Fighters is possibly the worst case scenario. Not only is Superman a living superweapon but he’s a Nazi who goes by the name of Overman.
The terrifying combination of Overman’s godlike presence and the inhuman ideals of Nazism speaks for itself. What makes him worse in the comics is that the real Overman left Earth decades ago – the one that the Freedom Fighters have to deal with is a Nazi Cyborg Superman.
2 Carol Danvers, Marcus Immortus' Mother (Avengers 197-200)
Today, Captain Marvel is the MCU’s strongest heroine but for the longest time, she was associated with one of the most controversial comic arcs ever written by no fault of her own.
To reincarnate himself, Marcus Immortus uses time-travel and mind-controlling technology to not only brainwash Carol into loving him but to give birth to him as well. What makes this even worse is how the story’s written, where Carol’s understandable rage at her situation being negatively framed because all women – according to the Avengers – want to be mothers. Don’t expect this Captain Marvel any time soon.
1 Wonder Woman, Receptionist (1940s)
A common criticism regarding Wonder Woman is that it’s pretty obvious when a man writes her stories. This was seen at its worst during the Golden Age, where the Amazonian warrior-princess was relegated to secretarial duties.
As the Justice Society helped the Allied war effort against the Axis Powers, Wonder Woman is given the “honor” of being the Society’s secretary after she impresses them with her fighting capabilities. Considering how Wonder Woman has become a global feminist icon, demoting her to such menial duties would be both ill-advised and stupid at best.