As one of the most profitable brands in the entertainment industry, Marvel superheroes have come to dominate pop culture. There is no shortage of Marvel movies and TV shows — to casual moviegoers, the amount might even seem excessive. However, despite what it must look like, dozens of Marvel movies have been envisioned that never make it to film. Between movies at Marvel Studios, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and Universal Studios, everybody wants a piece of the action, but not everyone gets one.
While Sony and Marvel have come to share the Spider-Man franchise and Universal still holds their own Marvel characters, Fox has had mild success with their ownership of the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. However, as of March 20th, 2019, The Walt Disney Company — owner of Marvel Studios — has acquired 20th Century Fox and all of its intellectual property. Not only does that mean that Disney can make more Marvel movies, but they can cancel some as well.
For this list, we're going to take a look at Marvel movies that didn't make the cut, and ones that might still see the light of day. We're not limiting ourselves to any particular studio either, so be prepared to hear a lot about which company owns what. Some of these projects are decades old. Some of them got cancelled early in production, and some of them were never more than promising pitches to executives. Regardless, let's take a look at what could have been... and what might still be. Here are 11 Cancelled Marvel Movies That We Wish Got Made (And 9 That Still Could Be:.)
20 Cancelled: Spider-Man 4
Spider-Man 3 disappointed fans, but a sequel might have ended the series on a high note. Sam Raimi's fourth Spider-Man film would have featured two villains. The first was John Malkovich as the Vulture, and Anne Hathaway as Felicia Hardy. Fans know Hardy as the Black Cat, but this version would have transformed into a villain called "the Vulturess" instead.
The sequel would develop Dylan Baker's Curt Connors as he began to transform into the Lizard, and it even featured a cameo appearance by Mysterio. Mysterio's role would have been filled by none other than Bruce Campbell, who cameos in every previous Sam Raimi Spider-Man film.
It might sound overstuffed, but Tobey Maguire's Spidey has a special place in our hearts. It would have been nice to see him swing one final time.
19 Still Could Be: X-Force
Deadpool fans are anxious in light of Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox. Disney's plans for the character are unclear and many fans believe the company won't make or distribute such a raunchy, adult superhero movie. With that said, X-Force is one of the many Fox-Marvel projects put "on hold" until the acquisition was complete.
Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld seemingly confirmed its cancellation back in January, though only in light of the news that Disney is putting the project on the back-burner. Considering Deadpool is a box office juggernaut, it is hard to believe that Disney would simply shelve the character forever. Perhaps X-Force needs to be retooled to Disney's liking, but at the moment, the film's future hangs in the balance.
18 Cancelled: Gaiman And Del Toro's Doctor Strange
"Undeveloped" is a better descriptor for this Marvel project. Legendary writer Neil Gaiman and famed director Guillermo del Toro were ready to collaborate on an adaptation of Doctor Strange. The idea was never more than a pitch to Marvel Studios back in 2007, before the release of Iron Man. Marvel turned it down in favor of focusing on the then-brewing Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the collaboration sounds fantastic.
Gaiman and del Toro are creative auteurs. They're both known for their critically acclaimed works in dark fantasy and sci-fi, and their sensibilities might have created something groundbreaking. 2016's Doctor Strange is a solid film in its own right, but this promising collaboration might have given the world a Doctor Strange rooted in imaginative horror and fantasy. It sounds like a one-of-a-kind film that the world sadly missed out on.
17 Still Could Be: Gambit
Fox keeps trying to make Gambit happen, but it just won't happen. This project has been in and out of development since the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine back in 2009.
The only constant in its production is Channing Tatum, who is still attached to play Gambit despite the many director swaps and script changes. Originally, Gambit was structured like a heist film, but the production has since shaped into a romantic comedy. Too bad it never began production.
It seems that Disney's acquisition of Fox might be the final nail in its coffin. Like most of Fox's flailing Marvel projects, Gambit was one of the many productions put "on hold" until after the acquisition was finalized. Disney will likely fold the X-Men into the MCU within the coming years, but technically Gambit still has a chance.
16 Cancelled: Edgar Wright's Ant-Man
The mind behind hits like Scott Pilgrim vs the World and Shaun of the Dead almost directed Ant-Man. Marvel hired writer-director Edgar Wright for Ant-Man way back in 2006! Wright's take on the character was set in the first phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but sadly, things fell apart.
Wright left after many script rewrites, stating that Marvel "didn't want to make an Edgar Wright movie" despite his enthusiasm for the project. The film was stuck in development for years, even under Wright's tenure as director, but would finally release in 2015 helmed by Peyton Reed.
Wright would go on to make his quirky heist movie after all with 2017's Baby Driver, but his take on Ant-Man is something fans desperately wanted to see.
15 Still Could Be: Venom Carnage
Plans for a Venom movie date back to the '90s when Sony first acquired the rights to Spider-Man. Since then, Venom spin-offs have been in and out of production alongside each iteration of Spider-Man. Even Topher Grace's Venom from Spider-Man 3 would have starred in a spin-off, but plans always fell through.
Before 2018's Venom finally hit theaters, Sony planned to spin-off The Amazing Spider-Man series with several villain-centric movies. One of them was known as "Venom Carnage" in its early stages, where the symbiotes would likely get origin stories and battle for dominance.
The project collapsed alongside The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, along with several other movies on this list. 2018's Venom teased Carnage's appearance at the end of the film, so "Venom Carnage" might still happen in the form of the untitled Venom sequel.
14 Cancelled: Doctor Doom
Fox's many failed attempts at adapting the Fantastic Four couldn't stop this one. Even in light of the terrible Fant4stic, Fox put a Doctor Doom solo movie in the works. Noah Hawley, creator of the Legion and Fargo TV series, was set to write and direct the movie. Hawley remarked that Doctor Doom would be a thriller that introduced Doom and his rule over the fictional country of Latveria.
It was one of the only Fox-Marvel projects to show any real promise, with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige even showing interest in the movie. However, Doctor Doom was supposedly cancelled alongside the other Fox projects victim of the Disney acquisition. Disney will likely reboot the Fantastic Four, probably with a different take on Doctor Doom than what Fox envisioned.
13 Still Could Be: Silver And Black
Here's another Spidey project that Sony can't get moving. The studio has long wanted to create an all-female spin-off to the Spider-Man franchise, and after dozens of failed ideas, the latest was Silver and Black. It would have co-starred Spidey villains Black Cat and Silver Sable as they embark on an international heist, expanding the Sony-owned Marvel universe alongside Venom.
Silver and Black has since been cancelled in favor of reworking the premise into two separate films. The first will introduce Black Cat and the subsequent one will introduce Silver Sable.
Technically, these could even be worked into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even the newly separated projects are at a standstill though, so who knows whether they'll ever see the light of day.
12 Cancelled: X-Men Origins: Magneto
After the failure of X-Men: The Last Stand, Fox planned to repair the franchise with a handful of X-Men prequels. They gave X-Men Origins: Wolverine a shot, and although that was a critical disaster, they had another idea in the works.
X-Men Origins: Magneto would have expanded on Magneto's backstory, exploring his formative years after his imprisonment in Auschwitz. The project never made it past early development stages, but thankfully it lives on.
Most of Origins: Magneto was incorporated into the story of X-Men: First Class. It's not the standalone Magneto story that Fox initially promised, but First Class gave fans Michael Fassbender's beloved take on Magneto. It also helped revive the X-Men franchise at its lowest point. Still, a Fassbender-led X-Men spin-off sounds appealing today, even after several films and many years later.
11 Still Could Be: Multiple Man
20th Century Fox's X-Men spin-off projects only get more and more obscure. A standalone film featuring Multiple Man was announced back in 2017, starring James Franco. Franco would take on the role of Jamie Madrox, who can make duplicates of himself that act independently of one-another.
The concept lends itself to a quirky comedy, but Fox has hardly elaborated on the premise. According to Fox producer Lauren Shuler Donner, the project is still in play, but its fate lies with Marvel Studios. As a potential victim of the Disney-Fox merger, Marvel Studios will choose whether to drop the project or continue its development.
If the X-Men are worked into the MCU, there is no reason to release so many related spin-offs. Multiple Man might seem a bit too peripheral to make the cut.
10 Cancelled: Taskmaster
This C-list Marvel villain was ready for the big screen long before the MCU. Way back in 2008, director Joe Carnahan (The A-Team) announced his attachment to a Taskmaster movie. Taskmaster is a mysterious mercenary and an expert mimic. He has both photographic memory and reflexes, coming to blows with different Marvel heroes throughout his publication history.
Despite his obscurity, the movie would have explored his origins alongside another Marvel deep-cut: Moon Knight. While not as obscure as Taskmaster, Moon Knight would give him a "severe beat down" that kicks off the film's plot.
Nothing ever came of this project, but it sounds worth the time and money for the introduction of Moon Knight alone. Seriously Marvel, give us Moon Knight! Oh, yeah, and Taskmaster is cool too.
9 Still Could Be: Silver Surfer
The Fantastic Four movies weren't the biggest hits, but the franchise had promising plans. Fantastic Four 3 never left the planning stages, but it had two things going for it. It would have introduced the first live-action adaptation of Black Panther, envisioned at the time with actor Djimon Hounsou in the role. It also would have laid foundation for a Silver Surfer standalone film.
Obviously, the Fantastic Four franchise fizzled out and rebooted itself without a Surfer solo project. Thankfully, the idea of a psychedelic, cosmic Silver Surfer adventure is still in the running.
Last January, director Adam McKay confirmed his and Marvel's interest in developing the film for the MCU. With the Disney-Fox deal complete and the Fantastic Four back in Marvel's hands, a Silver Surfer movie might still be in the cards.
8 Cancelled: Quentin Tarantino's Luke Cage
Long before the arrival of his now-cancelled Netflix series, Luke Cage almost hit the mainstream in a film directed by Quentin Tarantino. It was only an idea, not a full-on cancelled production, but it was an idea that Tarantino was truly passionate about.
Before beginning work on Pulp Fiction, Tarantino had Luke Cage in his sights. He wanted to adapt a comic book and he was interested in Luke Cage's blaxploitation roots. He eventually decided against a comic adaptation in favor of creating original characters.
Still, a Marvel movie infused with Tarantino's sensibilities sounds as intriguing as ever. It'll never happen in today's family-friendly MCU (and especially not after a popular Netflix show,) but it does sound like gold.
7 Still Could Be: Kitty Pryde
If it sounds like Fox was grasping at straws to keep the X-Men afloat... it's because they probably were. Along with the other spin-offs, Fox announced a Kitty Pryde standalone movie last year helmed by Deadpool director Tim Miller. Like all of Fox's pending Marvel movies, the project's development is in limbo while the ink dries on the Disney-Fox deal.
Marvel comics veteran Brian Michael Bendis is writing the script — which he continues to do as of last month, despite the corporate merger. Little info is available about the project besides its working title, 143, a reference to a Kitty Pryde-centric issue of Uncanny X-Men.
Fox has so many X-Men movies stuck in development that Marvel Studios can choose from. Will 143 make it to the MCU?
6 Cancelled: The Amazing Spider-Man 3 And 4
Some fans believe that Andrew Garfield was never truly given a fair shot at Spider-Man, and that he was held back by sub-par films. Could things have turned out differently? Sony had plans for two more sequels that got cancelled after the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
The Amazing Spider-Man 3 would have dealt with Peter Parker grieving over the fate of Gwen Stacy, the return of Norman Osborn, and even Peter's own father, Richard Parker. Sinister Six would have come out after this, which means that the third movie was likely conceived as a set up for that film.
Sony never revealed any plot details about The Amazing Spider-Man 4. It probably involved the then-developing Venom project. Regardless, Andrew Garfield would never return to the role and the franchise would never return to theaters.
5 Still Could Be: Sinister Six
Sony Pictures notoriously got ahead of themselves when planning Andrew Garfield's newly rebooted Spider-Man. Not only were spin-offs like Venom already in the works, but they announced an Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4 even before releasing the second movie!
Alongside these sequels was Sinister Six film as well, starring six of Spider-Man's greatest foes. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 teases a Sinister Six lineup, but plans fell apart after the movie severely under-performed.
As of December 2018, Sinister Six is supposedly still in development. This film could even fit into the MCU, seeing as Spider-Man: Homecoming features two potential members. Spider-Man: Far From Home will introduce even more names to the rogues' gallery, so this villain-centric spin-off might still have potential.
4 Cancelled: Peyton Reed's Fantastic Four
Before taking on Ant-Man, director Peyton Reed was once attached to the 2003 Fantastic Four franchise. His take on Marvel's favorite family is non-traditional to say the least, and one that fans could certainly use right about now.
Reed's pitch for his version of Fantastic Four was inspired by The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night. In favor of skipping the cosmic origin story, the movie would have followed the Fantastic Four as celebrities at the height of their fame. It's an upbeat, wholesome concept that later adaptations would stray away from.
Tim Story would take over for Reed as director of Fantastic Four, and the franchise would later receive a gritty (and abysmal) reboot in the form of Fant4stic. Thankfully, with the Disney-Fox deal in place, a new (and likely better) Fantastic Four is right around the corner.
3 Still Could Be: Power Pack
You've probably never heard of the Power Pack series, but this cult classic superhero team has had a movie in the works for decades. Alex, Julie, Katie, and Jack Power are a family of superheroes, not unlike the Fantastic Four, that all happen to be children. They've starred in several Marvel series since their debut in 1984, mostly aimed at younger audiences.
A Power Pack film has been in the works since 2000, but Marvel Studios is still interested in the project today within the confines of the MCU. Studio head Kevin Feige commented on the project last year, confirming that it is still up for consideration. The MCU's Power Pack would serve as a family-friendly alternative to the more intense MCU movies — a niche Feige says Ant-Man currently fills — but development seems to have stalled.
2 Cancelled: Namor The Sub-Mariner
Marvel's answer to Aquaman has been in and out of development since the '90s. Directors have come and gone, including names like Jonathan Mostow and Chris Columbus. Since then, Universal Studios has held onto the distribution rights to Namor the Sub-Mariner, similar to how the studio also grips the Hulk.
However, like the Hulk, Marvel Studios has partial ownership of Namor despite legal complications. This is why the Hulk hasn't had a solo movie since 2008's The Incredible Hulk — it isn't a wholly Marvel Studios production. However, if Marvel can feature Namor in other MCU movies, it appears that he could show up anytime now.
Fans believe he could be introduced in Black Panther 2. Perhaps the studios can compromise and create a joint production about Namor, like Sony and Marvel did with Spider-Man: Homecoming.
1 Cancelled: Inhumans
It's one of the only Marvel Studios movies to be officially cancelled... and turned into a terrible network TV show. Inhumans was supposed to be the foundation for a new franchise. Ideally, Inhumans would recreate the relatable themes and financial success of the X-Men. It even had Vin Diesel attached to star for a while.
The Inhumans film was cancelled after Marvel Studios and Marvel Entertainment (responsible for everything but the movies) began to butt heads.
Inhumans turned into a television blunder, met with harsh criticism by fans and critics alike. The show was unceremoniously cancelled also, and all references to their existence in other shows have disappeared completely. The MCU wants to pretend Inhumans doesn't exist, and with the real X-Men returning to Marvel, we doubt anybody will be seeing them again.
What cancelled Marvel movies did you want to see? Do you think any of these projects could still make it to theaters? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!