The biggest news in the comic book world right now is Netflix's acquisition of Millarworld. Mark Millar's publishing house is now in the hands of the streaming service, making it only the third time a comic book company has been purchased at this scale following the sale of Marvel Comics to Disney in 2009 and DC Comics to Warner Bros in 1968. While the details about how much Netflix paid for Millarworld is under wraps, they definitely got a lot of bang for their buck with the sheer number of characters and stories that exist within the Millarverse.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, said they are looking "forward to creating new Netflix Originals from several existing franchises as well as new super-hero, anti-hero, fantasy, sci-fi and horror stories," and with the amount they are investing in new content it's safe to say more than a few Millarworld characters are going to be brought to life, maybe even Kick-Ass.
While we have a load of brand new characters to look forward to from Millar and his team, here are fifteen of the already established comic book series that we could soon be seeing in their own film or TV series on the streaming service.
The second film in the Kingsman franchise, The Golden Circle, is set for release later his year and continues where The Secret Service left off, but the comic book series is little different. Millar's 2012 graphic novel follows Gary "Eggys" London (Unwin in the films), a teenage delinquent who is recruited by his uncle into a super-secret spy organization just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. A six-part sequel, called Kingsman: The Red Diamond and written by Rob Williams, is set for release this September and is completely separate from The Golden Circle.
Matthew Vaughn owns the film rights, but the TV rights could remain with Millarworld or another TV production company. Either way, Netflix might want to wait a few years before attempting a Kingsman reboot or miniseries so that it isn't compared too much to this critically-acclaimed franchise.
American Jesus is the revival of Chosen, the first of what was meant to be a three-book run, published by Dark Horse in 2004. The series centers on Jodie Christianson, a twelve-year-old boy who discovers that he's not actually a normal Midwestern kid growing up during the mid-80s but actually the returned Christ on Earth. Millar reteamed with Chosen illustrator Peter Gross for the revamped comic series, renaming the first volume American Jesus: Chosen. The second volume, American Jesus: Messiah, is scheduled to be released this year with a third planned to complete the three sets of trilogies.
Technically, Waypoint Entertainment has the film rights to the graphic novel but that doesn't necessarily mean they have the TV rights as well. Matthew Vaughn owns the film rights to Kick-Ass while Lionsgate TV has the TV rights, so if Millar hasn't done a deal with another production company for American Jesus's TV rights, Netflix may well be clear to adapt it into an original series.
Millar teamed up with Marvel's Sean Gordon Murphy for this sci-fi comedy series, released in 2015, which focused on two American time travellers who use their new-found technology to head back in time to some of the most memorable events in pop culture. Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly broadcast their time-travelling escapades on TV but end up causing havoc with the time stream as well as getting into a spot of bother with some of the deadliest villains in Earth's history.
The idea wasn't originally for a comic book series rather a short film that Ridley Scott had wanted Millar to make for a special showcase financed by a gaming company. When that fell through, the Scottish comic book writer expanded the idea into a graphic novel and made Universal wait until he'd finished the story, and released it, before allowing them to buy the movie rights. With Chrononauts expected to start filming next year, and two massive stars lined up to play Quinn and Reilly, Netflix may be reluctant to execute a live-action TV series but an animated version could definitely piggy-back on its publicity.
This epic graphic novel is the story of "the Earth's first rulers" set 65 million years before our human race arrives on the planet. Emporia is the queen of an evil intergalactic dictator who decides to leave her husband with her three children with the help of her trusted bodyguard. But one doesn't just pick up and leave their tyrant of a spouse, which our titular heroine soon finds out as she attempts to take Aine, her 15-year-old daughter; Adam, her 10-year-old son "she knows would not survive the trials ahead to be an elite ruler;" and her 18-month old baby back to her home world.
Originally released via Marvel's Icon Imprint in 2016, Millar teamed up with Stuart Immonen to bring this sci-fi tale to life and it's definitely an epic film or TV series in the making. It's so rare to see a female-led sci-fi franchise and Empress could be the perfect choice.
It's not often you get a comic book centered on an 80-year-old but Reborn is exactly that. The fantasy series, illustrated by Greg Capullo, follows Bonnie Black, an old woman living out the rest of her life in a nursing home after all her family and friends have passed away. When she has a stroke and dies in the opening pages, Bonnie realises there is no heaven or hell, just a fantasy world that's "a cross between Lord of the Rings and Mad Max." Back in her 20-year-old body, she finds herself reborn as the world's savior, caught in the middle of a conflict between the heavenly Adystria and the hellish Dark Lands.
Penguin bought the publishing rights to turn the graphic novel into a YA novel, written by Sarah Lotz, which is set for release this year. The combined reach of the book and the comic could make Reborn a great choice for a live-action film which would interest both an elderly and young adult demographic.
Millar wrote Huck after being "traumatised" by Superman's murder of Zod in Man of Steel. This was quite a feat considering the comic book writer is known for filling his graphic novels with serious violence, but it inspired him to create the Forrest Gump of superheroes. Huck is a gas station attendant who has both learning difficulties as well as special abilities that his town keep secret. Each day he does one good deed, which Millar described as being "as small as finding a lost necklace or as enormous as rescuing a hostage in Afghanistan," but the world doesn't know of his super kindness, until an outsider brings a media storm to his small town.
Rafael Albuquerque teamed up with Millar on this comic book, released via Image Comics in 2015, with the film rights acquired by Studio 8 weeks before. If Studio 8 were to work with Netflix, Huck could be a brilliant family movie to add to their streaming service.
Jupiter's Legacy is Millar's longest-running comic book series that was heavily influenced by Star Wars, Roman mythology and a shed load of origin stories from classic comics. It follows the children of the world's greatest superheroes, Brandon and Chloe, who have powers themselves but use their abilities for fame and fortune rather than helping others. As the infighting in their super family (called The Union) becomes more volatile, they are drawn into opposite sides of the battle.
Millar enlisted Frank Quitely to do the illustrations for this epic series, split into two volumes, and it's considered one of Millarworld's finest offerings. In 2015, it was announced that the Scotsman had partnered with Lorenzo di Bonaventura to bring Jupiter's Legacy to the silver screen and a year later Brian and Marc Gunn were confirmed as screenwriters. They may well want to do a movie for each volume, but an original Netflix series could better explore the characters and multiple narrative arcs.
This comic book series is a prequel to Jupiter's Legacy, described as the "Mad Men of Superhero Comics." It follows the lives of the parents and elders of the original series, the founding Union members during the 1950s and 60s, as they deal with J. Edgar Hoover, closeted homosexuality, extramarital affairs and the stress of leading double lives as the Silver Age's superheroes.
If di Bonaventura went ahead and made the Jupiter's Legacy film, then a Jupiter's Circle TV series would be the perfect way to continue the story onto Netflix.
This may look like a kids' comic book series but it's actually adult AF. The Unfunnies was a four issue comedy-horror series and one of the first to be released under the Millarworld umbrella. As Millar described it, "imagine you rented It's A Wonderful Life Part 2 starring all the same people as the original or The Little Mermaid 3 animated in exactly the same style, but the opening scene had Ariel's dad busted for child molestation or James Stewart sneaking into a mortuary for a little skull-fucking."
The comic juxtaposes the dark subject matter with Anthony Williams' Hanna-Barbera like illustrations, as it follows the Crow family and how they are caught up in crime they have no knowledge of. Though this is a Millarworld series, there's no mention of it on the official website, leading some to believe Millar has "excommunicated" The Unfunnies from his bibliography. That doesn't mean Netflix won't want to turn it into an animated series and add it to their already bursting roster of adult animation.
Millar teamed up with Duncan Fegredo for this miniseries following a group of hard-luck teens in Motor City who discover that after taking a street drug called MPH, they gain the power of super speed. Of course, these youths don't use their fast and furious abilities to save the world but rather to make a quick buck.
MPH is another title optioned by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, though there hasn't been much movement on the film since this news was revealed by The Hollywood Reporter in 2014. The rights to the gritty comic book may well have reverted back to Millarworld, which means that Netflix would have the opportunity to turn it into an original film themselves.
Millar teamed up with his Old Man Logan illustrator Steve McNiven for this comic book, which tells the story of Matt Anderson, a billionaire genius who’s the world’s greatest fighter hell-bent on avenging the death of his beloved parents. However, his rents were villains and so he is. Wearing a costume, the seriously bad guy travels the world to kill top cops but returns to D.C. to take down Blake Morrow, the police chief who captured his parents.
According to Miller, 20th Century Fox spent a lot of money on Joe Carnahan writing the Nemesis screenplay, which was originally going to be directed by Tony Scott, but after his death Carnahan was signed up to direct. Seven years later, Warner Bros. now has the film rights to Nemesis, though with the number of DC Comics movies in the pipeline - including Justice League, Aquaman and Flashpoint - a separate comic book film may not be their top priority. This is where Netflix could come in, to work out a deal to co-produce the movie for their streaming service.
Duke McQueen was a legendary intergalactic hero in his prime but after a long career of battling space villains he's retired to spend the rest of his days in peace with his wife and kids. His retirement doesn't last long though as he's called into action one last time after a message from a distant world. It's not the first time Millar has centered a comic book on an ageing superhero, Old Man Logan is testament to that, but Starlight has a far more Buck Rogers feel.
20th Century Fox have the film rights to this story, with a screenplay already written by Gary Whitta, the writer behind Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Sherlock Holmes 3. Sylvester Stallone has been linked to the role too, but given the bad blood between Netflix and Fox over their poaching lawsuit a deal to bring the Superior film to their streaming service may not be possible. However, if the TV rights remain with Millarworld then there is always the option to do their own original series.
Superior is the story of Simon Pooni, a 12-year old boy suffering from multiple sclerosis, who becomes his favorite superhero (called Superior) after being granted a wish by a demon masquerading as a space monkey. Think Tom Hanks' Big meets Superman with a lot of depth, and you've got Superior which was illustrated by Leinil Yu and released via Marvel's Icon Imprint. A film adaptation has been in the pipeline since 2011 when Matthew Vaughn originally bought the rights but in 2014 they transferred to 20th Century Fox with the British filmmaker still attached to produce.
Last we heard, Brandon Murphy and Phillip Murphy had been hired to write the script with Millar requesting John Cena be approached to play Superior. Again, an original series may be the only route for Netflix to bring this story to life given their tempestuous relationship with Fox.
Another team up for Millar and Leinil Yu, Supercrooks is super villains meets Ocean's 11 as it follows eight retired bad guys teaming up again for a heist. But this is no easy task as their target is the world’s most notorious crime boss. Last year it was confirmed that Waypoint Entertainment - who produced Shane Black's The Nice Guys and Gus van Sant's The Sea of Trees - had acquired the film rights to Supercrooks after Millar met with the producers "and was wowed by their plans and the scale they’re working on."
Waypoint may be producing the film, and own the rights, but they might work with Netflix to allow them to distribute the final product on their streaming platform.
Wanted was the first of Millar's comic books to be turned into a movie, and though the narrative veered away from the original supervillain storyline, the comic book writer was pretty happy with the final product starring James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie. The comic book series follows dead-beat wimp Wesley who discovers that he is the son of a super villain assassin and asked to join a powerful organisation of super villains, called the Fraternity, who control the world in secret.
There has been much talk of a sequel to Universal's 2008 film, with producer Marc Platt saying a script had been written, but it would be great to see Netflix do a faithful adaptation of Millar's original graphic novel. The streaming service is no stranger to turning films into series - just look at From Dusk 'til Dawn, Shadowhunters and Marvel's Daredevil - and now that McAvoy is busy with X-Men, the cast could be completely rebooted to give Wanted a fresh look.