With the success of Todd Phillips stand-alone villain feature Joker, DC has two ways they could possibly move forward with their new projects. Either they will allow filmmakers to experiment with genre, tropes, and characters to try a risky bet that will fascinate audiences. Or, more likely, they'll just do standalone villains stories.
In that case, there are still tons of villains who could hold their own film without a hero as the focus. Honestly, it's surprising it took so long as it did, as comics have been producing fascinating foes for decades. In the event that this is the route the genre begins to take, here are ten villains that could deserve their own film.
10 Lex Luthor
Superman's Lex Luthor is one of the most iconic supervillains of all time. His brand of evil and jealousy over everyone's favorite Kryptonian has yet to be properly explored cinematically. Imagine a film that really examines the point of view of someone who hates superheroes.
Luthor is also a capitalist monster, at the tippy top of the one percent. It could really explore the dehumanization that wealth brings to an individual, and the power they believe they hold with it. Perhaps a genre-bending version of The Wolf of Wall Street would be apt?
9 Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom is considered by many to be Marvel's ultimate baddie. Yet somehow he has never seen a proper film adaption. With every version of The Fantastic Four, Doom always falls short. Perhaps instead, Doom could finally be realized through a solo outing.
Instead of the film adaption that Joker brought to the table, this could be directly tied to the MCU. Similarly to how Infinity War felt like a solo film for Thanos, the MCU could lean into that trope and give the entire spotlight to this fully-fledged and nuanced villain. Through his introduction, it could become a solid throughline to a new iteration of the Fantastic Four as well.
On the flip side, a standalone film focusing on Magneto could be a powerful piece of comic book filmmaking. With his dark roots as a holocaust survivor and the relevant themes of the X-Men comics, Magneto's story feels like an appropriate one for today.
With the failure of Fox's universe of X-Men, it feels a better time than ever to do individual Elseworlds tales for these heroes and villains before bringing them into the MCU fold. Give this story to a filmmaker for a one and done story and get Marvel that awards season attention.
Manbat as a villain hasn't once been seen on the big screen, which is an awful shame. As a villain, he is one of the most underrated among Batman's foes. Originally a doctor looking to experiment with Bat DNA for pharmaceutical purposes, he accidentally triggers a transformative process in himself to become a human-bat hybrid.
This could be a perfect comic book horror film that explores a Jekyll and Hyde-like character in the Batman universe. You don't even need Batman included in the story. Just drop small hints like Joker did to remind people this takes place in Gotham. Other than that, tell a fantastic unconnected piece of horrific superhero action.
6 Amanda Waller
Viola Davis was one of the few great things about 2016's Suicide Squad. She brought the hard-edged Amanda Waller to life perfectly, and the fact that she's returning in The Suicide Squad means that her story is far from over. Like Lex Luthor, Amanda Waller is nothing more than a human surrounded by freaks and gods. She is constantly having to hold her ground against some of the most powerful beings on earth.
Not only that, but she does it better than anyone. She has so much potential as a character, and Viola Davis has yet to have her own solo outing in a major blockbuster. Give us an in-depth character study on this powerful comic book woman.
5 J. Jonah Jameson
Ok, maybe he isn't your traditional masked villain, but J. Jonah Jameson is still a sort of foe against Spider-Man. There is no denying that fans love him too, especially when performed by the iconic J. K. Simmons. Now more than ever, J. Jonah Jameson is at the forefront of Spidey lore.
Imagine a satiric comedic take on the character that takes a jab at our current media landscape. The death of physical media, the rise of fake news, the role that journalists play in our perception of the world are just some of the themes it could tackle. And with a lead like J. K. Simmons, your guaranteed a perfect front running performance.
The Batman universe is primed and ready with villains who are tailor-made for Horror adaptions. Like Manbat, Scarecrow would be a perfect character to get this treatment. The character has appeared cinematically once before in all three films of The Dark Knight Trilogy but was only a central part in the first film Batman Begins.
Crane and his entire persona are focused on fears and nightmares. The fact that this hasn't been done yet is honestly astonishing. Give fans a stand-alone character study on someone getting fully consumed by their obsession with fear.
3 Winter Soldier
Bucky has had a tough go if fans are honest with themselves. Although he has been crucial in the MCU narrative and through Captain America's arc, he has gotten the short end of the narrative stick as a character. So, what better way than to tell a story set during his time as the Winter Soldier?
If fans understood the horrific things that Bucky was forced to do as a weapon of Hydra, and the awful torture they put him through, he would be far more empathetic as a character. We had a taste of it in Civil War and The Winter Soldier, but imagine what a whole film could offer in expanding this character.
2 Hugo Strange
Hugo Strange is a fascinating character in that he doesn't have any outstanding powers of his own. He is merely a mad psychologist, obsessed with the Dark Knight. As the one man who was able to deduce Batman's true identity, he deserves, at the very least, the main billing in a Batman Film.
His role in the game Arkham City was one of the more frightening Batman villain roles in recent memory. It could be an opportunity to follow a character trying to discet the mind of a hero, only in an attempt to take his place.
1 Doctor Octopus
Doc Okt is one of the most iconic villains in the Spidey universe. His defined look and story has cemented him as one of the most beloved figures in comics lore. So, why not give him a shot at leading a solo movie?
Alfred Molina brought the character to life nearly perfectly in the original Spider-Man 2. But we would love to see Octavius relish in his villainy for a bit. This was the only aspect missing from Molina's tragic performance.