So by now we all know a few of the top names associated with the Marvel Movie Universe. Heroes like Spider-Man, The Hulk or The X-Men were always headliners - no surprise that they were some of the first properties that Marvel took from page to the screen. Then came the slew of second tier characters - Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and Thor - which Marvel has worked very hard to catapult into the global limelight.
Lately we've all been following Marvel's epic uphill battle to bring Captain America and The Avengers to cinematic life - but what about the many, many, other heroes of the Marvel Universe? When will they be getting their big screen due?
Well, according to an exclusive report over at CHUD, Marvel is already thinking several chess moves ahead, by taking some of their "bench player" superheroes and developing them into small-scale films.
If you've been wondering if/when/how lesser-known Marvel properties like Power Man and/or Iron Fist, Dr. Strange, Power Pack or Moon Knight were ever going to be developed into movies, this is your answer: Marvel is betting that for about $20-40 million dollars per pic (small change for a major studio film) they can take some of these bench players and turn them into franchise success stories, a la Iron Man.
Best of all: by operating on that smaller scale, Marvel can utilize emerging acting talent (not just big name stars) and lesser-known directors who may just (gasp!) offer an original cinematic vision. It's a great plan, in my opinion - though it does leave us with one glaring question: which Marvel "bench players" would we like to see onscreen?
Well after doing some recent "research" on the big Marvel Comics crossover events of the last few years ("Civil War", "Secret Invasion", "Dark Reign") I have to say that Power Man and Iron Fist (maybe their Heroes For Hire team), Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), The Runaways (supposedly in development already) and Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers) are all characters who could fill out a movie pretty well - and for fairly cheap.
That's my "mainstream Marvel" wish, but there are also genre divisions of the Marvel brand that I've long thought are prime subjects for a movie franchise: namely, the "Midnight Sons" division.
I know I've talked about it before, but the Marvel crossover event "Rise of the Midnight Sons", which occurred in the 90s, would be great fodder for another Avengers-style Marvel movie crossover. The Midnight Sons story arch included supernatural heroes Ghost Rider, Dr. Strange, Morbius the living Vampire, Blade and The Nightstalkers (see Blade 3), and the Darkhold Redeemers, as they fought against the evil demonic forces of the Marvel Universe. I've long said that the blending of superhero/horror genres would be very appealing, cinematically speaking - especially if it culminated in a huge Midnight Sons movie showdown.
Again, it could all be done for relatively cheap: let the characters and the stories make the movie, instead of big splashy F/X-driven bonanzas.
Well, that's my two cents - what about you guys? Which Marvel Universe characters would you like to see catapult from obscurity into the cinematic limelight? Do you like that Disney/Marvel is truly trying to expand their superhero brand name - or are you having painful flashbacks of films like Fantastic Four and Elektra?
I'm sure these "Marvel Indie Films" will be starting to roll into production before too long. Stay tuned.
Spider-Woman & Ms. Marvel Image: Hotrod5 @ Deviant Art