The only thing more interesting than learning about how our favorite movies got made is learning about how some potential Hollywood flicks were scrapped before they ever came to fruition.
In Hollywood, a lot of planning can go into getting a movie off the ground and into production, only for the film’s ideas to remain endlessly in development hell, as the entire project gets scrapped before we ever get a finished product.
This happens to a wide range of movies, including comic book adaptations. Perhaps this may be because so much of the comic book world is open to interpretation and such creative freedom leads to studio heads to clash with each other.
Sometimes, this is simply due to the studio not being interested in the project anymore, or the actor from the main cast is no longer being available. Whatever the reason may be, there have been a large handful of comic book adaptations that have fallen through the cracks in the early stages of production– especially sequels.
Many comic book movie sequels get scrapped before a finished product is made. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that, in many cases, a lot is riding on a successful sequel that lives up to the previous film’s expectations and most studio heads succumb under pressure.
With that said, here are the 15 Canceled Comic Book Sequels We Never Got To See.
15. Dredd 2
No, we are not talking about the 1995 critically panned Sylvester Stallone flick Judge Dredd that borrows from the same source material (although we wouldn’t be opposed to seeing another film where Stallone screams “I am the law!” into the stratosphere).
Instead, we are talking about the 2012 adaptation that saw Karl Urban don the iconic helmet. Before the movie even released to theaters, screenwriter Alex Garland had already signed on for an entire Dredd trilogy.
However, there was a catch– any hopes of Dredd getting just one sequel hinged entirely on Dredd making at least $50 million at the box office. Unfortunately for Garland, the movie failed to make that much money. It was close, but only made $41.5 million, and thus all sequel plans were scrapped on the spot.
14. Green Lantern 2
Warner Bros. had been trying to get a Green Lantern movie off the ground ever since the late ’90s. There were some interesting developments here and there– at one point, Quentin Tarantino was asked to write and direct a comic book adaptation of the superhero– but to no avail until the late 2000s.
At this point, there were plans for the character to spawn an entire trilogy, which would eventually lead to a Justice League movie. Eventually, we got this first movie in the form of the Ryan Reynolds-led Green Lantern.
Years after the movie’s release, it was discovered that the movie would only get a sequel if it gained $500 million at the box office. In the wake of a sequel, the film would focus on Sinestro being evil and having his own Sinestro Corps. Since the first movie was a letdown, we haven’t seen Green Lantern on the big screen ever since.
13. Superman Returns 2
When the Bryan Singer directed Superman revival Superman Returns was released in theaters, it was met with less than favorable reviews. If the movie got a little more love from critics and did a little better at the box office, then chances are high that we would have seen a sequel.
In the sequel, the new Krypton that Lex Luthor created in the last movie would have grown in space, becoming big enough to garner the attention of an alien. This alien would be none other than Braniac, a Kryptonian survivor who has a knack for visiting planets, stealing their technology, and destroying the planet when he’s done with it.
At one point, Braniac would download himself into Superman’s son, Jason, becoming a full bodied adult who can fight Superman. During this battle Superman would have to sacrifice his son in order to defeat Brainiac and save the world.
12. Amazing Spider-Man 3
Despite the fact that Amazing Spider-Man 2 underperformed at the box office, Sony was still onboard to make a second sequel. The sequel would have introduced Shaileine Woodley as Mary-Jane Watson, who filmed scenes for Amazing Spider-Man 2, all of which were later cut.
There were plans for Peter Parker to, essentially, become a mad scientist in the wake of Gwen Stacy’s death. Wrecked with guilt, he would then create an experiment in order to bring his loved ones back from the dead, which would have seen Denis Leary return as Captain Stacy in a bigger role.
With Gwen coming back to life, there were plans to tease her own Spider-Gwen solo movie, where she would become a superhero. All of these plans fell flat once Sony struck a deal with Marvel to reboot the franchise.
11. Fantastic Four 3
Despite both the original movie and it’s sequel being financial successes, the first two Fantastic Four films were both critically panned enough to nix any future plans for a third installment. This eventually persuaded FOX to start from scratch with a reboot.
Before that, though, FOX had every intention of making a third movie. After all, the main cast initially signed on for a three picture deal before the first film even went into production.
Director Tim Story hoped for a third and a fourth movie, in which he wished to bring on Djimon Hounsou as Black Panther. Michael Chiklis even confirmed in an interview that his character’s relationship with Alicia Masters (Kerry Washington) would be further developed in a third film.
10. Ang Lee’s Hulk 2
Many fans believe that a new Hulk movie starring Mark Ruffalo has been long overdue, but let us not forget the first major Hulk stand alone movie that hit the big screen starring Eric Bana and was directed by Ang Lee.
After the film received mixed reviews, Marvel Studios reacquired the rights to the character, and instead of bringing back either Lee or Bana for a sequel, they opted to produce a pseudo-sequel/reboot starring Edward Norton.
Prior to this, Lee and Bana were expected to return for a sequel, as was screenwriter James Schamus (the same screenwriter behind Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), who was already planning to pen the sequel. He planned for the sequel to take place on a Native American reservation with ripe political undertones and a splash of of radioactivity.
9. Hellboy 3
Before it was officially announced that Lionsgate was officially moving forward with a Hellboy reboot, it seemed like Hellboy 3 sat in development hell forever.
Following Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Guillermo del Toro planned to craft a tragic end to his franchise. He was held back after signing on with The Hobbit, but when Peter Jackson took the trilogy over, it seemed to be off to the races for work on the next Hellboy movie.
However, there were more than a few setbacks. There were plenty of talks– and plenty of talks about having plenty of talks– but no results seemed to come out of these discussions that got us any closer to getting Hellboy 3.
Finally, in early 2017, del Toro confirmed that Hellboy 3 was “100% not happening.” No exact reason was given as to why, but it appears that none of the studios that del Toro went to were interested in financing a Hellboy sequel.
8. Sinister Six
When Sony scrapped all plans for Amazing Spider-Man 3, they also scrapped plans for another sequel focusing on a group of Spidey’s adversary’s who called themselves the Sinister Six.
In a 2017 intervie, director Marc Webb revealed that there were plans to bring Chris Cooper’s Norman Osborn character back to life and that he would have led the team of villains as The Green Goblin.
The movie would have also brought back The Gentleman, a villain who was teased in the first movie. There was even talk of including The Vulture iton the mix, a plan that would be rehashed for the sake of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
7. Tim Burton’s Catwoman
When Warner Bros. decided to dump Tim Burton’s Batman franchise in favor of something with a lighter tone, this not only killed all hopes for Tim Burton’s Batman 3, but it also ruined any plans for a sequel starring Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman.
Originally, Burton and Batman Returns writer Daniel Waters were expected to return for the Catwoman movie. Waters even turned in a full draft to the studio on the same day that Batman Forever was released.
The plot would have seen Catwoman walk out of Batman Returns with amnesia, going to Oasisburg (the Las Vegas of Gotham) to recover from wounds that she didn’t remember receiving.
Oasisburg would have been run by superheroes and the movie would would have included jokes about traditional male superhero tropes. However, since Forever turned out to be the highest grossing Batflick, there was no longer any interest in making a darker sequel.
6. Tim Burton’s Batman 3
In the midst of planning for a third Batman movie, Tim Burton had enough ideas to make it the darkest flick in the franchise yet. He hoped to get Robin Williams to play the main villain, The Riddler. His character would have a question mark buzzed into his haircut.
Billy Dee Williams would returned to play Harvey Dent, this time making the full turn as Two-Face. Brad Dourif (the voice of Chucky) would have also signed on to play Scarecrow and Rene Russo would have become Bruce’s love interest, Dr. Chase Meridian. However, this role which eventually went to Nicole Kidman.
One working title for the movie that was thrown around was Batman Continues, but the studio opted for Batman Forever, which Burton hated. Still, everything seemed like a go until Warner Bros. decided to back a lighter movie in order to sell toys.
5. X-Men Origins: Magneto
In the wake of the X-Men movie trilogy coming to a close after The Last Stand, FOX thought it would be a good idea to start crafting a new franchise that would focus on character origin stories, titled X-Men Origins.
They wanted to first do X-Men Origins: Wolverine, before moving on to work on X-Men Origins: Magneto. The movie would have seen Ian McKellen reprise the title role, with flashback scenes using the same facelift CGI from The Last Stand to make him younger.
Pitched as “X-Men meets The Pianist,” the movie would have shown how Xavier and Magneto meet, become friends, and then the ultimate destruction of their close relationship.
If that sounds like X-Men: First Class, it should. After Wolverine underperformed at the box office, the studio realized that a less popular character like Magneto wouldn’t do nearly as well as they had hoped. Thus they inserted Magneto’s origin story into the X-Men reboot instead.
4. Batman: Unchained
After Akiva Goldsman, the writer behind Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, refused to work on a fifth Batman movie, Mark Protosevich was brought on to write the script– and his treatment was interesting to say the least.
With the main villain being Scarecrow (perhaps played by Nicholas Cage), the movie would have seen Batman struggle to overcome the various demons from his past.
Villains from previous movies, such as The Joker and The Penguin, would have returned as hallucinations in Batman’s head as a result of Scarecrow’s fear toxin.
Scarecrow would have worked with Harley Quinn and the two would have tried to drive Batman insane, plotting to lock him up in Arkham Asylum. Although the movie was scrapped due to the awful reviews of Batman & Robin, some of the Protosevich’s ideas were used in Batman Begins.
3. Christopher Reeve’s Superman V
When plans were underway for Superman V: Superman Reborn, the idea was to restore the series back to the benchmark that was set by Superman and Superman II, after III and IV were so lackluster.
According to writer Cary Bates’ interview with Newsarama, he was told to write “fully developed, balls out science fiction story.” The premise would have seen Brainiac roam around the galaxy and shrink cities to miniature sizes.
Once he added Metropolis and its inhabitants to his collection, he would then notice an all powerful miniature being who would eventually pose a challenge to him: Superman.
So, naturally, Brainiac would then decide to miniaturize himself and battle Superman. These plans were nixed, however, when the studio decided to produce a Superman show, Lois & Clark, instead of another Superman movie.
2. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4
Even though Spider-Man 3 received poor reviews, the movie did so well at the box office that the studio decided to greenlight not one or two, but three more Sam Raimi-directed sequels.
For the fourth movie, Raimi strongly considered bringing Dylan Baker back as Dr. Curt Connors, this time in a role that saw the character finally morph into his villainous persona, The Lizard.
There were also plans to include The Vulture (played by John Malkovich) and Felicia Hardy (played by Anne Hathaway) as characters. The latter is widely recognized as The Black Cat, but in this movie she would have been The Vulture’s daughter, Vulturess.
1. Silver Surfer
Among all of the ideas that FOX considered for a Fantastic Four sequel, one idea constantly thrown around was a spinoff starring the Silver Surfer. In fact, such plans for a spinoff were in full effect, hence why the Surfer was revealed to have survived his confrontation with Galactus in the mid-credit scene of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
J. Michael Straczynski was hired to write the script and confirmed in an interview that the spinoff would not only pick up where the last one left off, but it would also answer questions about Silver Surfer that the previous movie had left open.
Unfortunately, since reviews were bad and the movie did not perform as well as everyone expected it to, any future plans for the Silver Surfer movie was dropped.
Can you think of any other comic book sequels that were canceled? Sound off in the comments!
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