With the ongoing rivalry between the major studios to further their comic book franchises, it would be befitting to say that we live in the age of superhero movies. Live-action Movies involving superhero arcs have seen an increase at a galloping rate since the last decade, catering the fandom with pleasant surprises. It is interesting to notice that a few upcoming projects did not see the light of the day in their first attempt to do so. Here is the list of movies which experienced hiccups at production before the respective ideas gained momentum.
As a part of the DC extended universe, Justice League will release into two part standalone movies in 2017 and 2019.The first attempt at making a Justice League live action movie dates back to Feb 2007, when warner brothers hired Kieran Mulroney and his wife to write the script for the same. The project was reportedly titled Justice League: Mortal and the script for the same was submitted in June 2007 receiving positive feedback from the studio. Production for the movie was fast tracked and the filming was expected to begin at the earliest to avoid the 2007-08 writers guild of America strike. Following the failure of Superman Returns (2006), Brandon Routh was not approached to reprise his as Superman. Christian Bale, who was portraying batman at that point of time, felt that the movie would make sense after the completion of Nolan’s trilogy as a different actor was hired for the part. This movie was supposed to be a part of standalone series branching out sequels and spinoffs.
The 220 billion dollar project fell into the lap of visionary director George Miller(Mad Max: Fury Road, Babe) after Jason Reitman turned down the offer citing that he is an independent film-maker who prefers to stay out of big budgeted films. Finalized casting for the movie included DJ Cortona as Superman, Armie Hammer as Batman, Megan Bale as Wonder Woman, Adam Broody as Barry Allen and the Hip-hop artist Common, who was all set to play the John Stewart version of Green lantern. Even With all these developments, Warner brothers could not avoid the writer’s guild strike and had to lapse the idea. There were several attempts to revive the project in 2008 and 2009 but the tussle with Australian commission over tax rebate and other issues caused the production to be delayed that led the studio to focus on completion of its standalone movies such as Green Lantern and The Dark Knight Rises.
Marvel cinematic universe is delving into its supernatural universe with the introduction of Doctor Strange in his standalone movie set to release coming November. The Scott Derickson directed film is not the first storyline conceived for the silver screen as the movie went into pre-production for the first time in 1986 with a script by Bob Gale which was eventually scrapped for unknown reasons. By 1989 Alex Cox and Stan lee came up with a script which planned to show the sorcerer supreme traveling to the fourth dimension before ending on Easter Island to have a face-off with Dormammu. This script was all set to enter production by Regency Studios with Warner Bros. appointed as the distributor. The film could not proceed with production due to a merchandising dispute between Marvel and Regency Studios.
Between 1992 and 2002, the character juggled from one studio to another involving production houses such as Savoy pictures and Colombia pictures. In 2001, there was a major development regarding the project as Dimension films acquired the rights for the character hiring David Goyer, who produced a draft of the script in 1995, as the writer and the director. He hinted that his adaptation of film might not be highly dependent on computer-generated imagery. With the acquisition of character by Miramax Films in Aug 2001, Goyer dropped out of the project. In April 2005 Paramount pictures bought the character as the part of Marvel studio’s strategy to independently produce their films allotting the movie an estimated budget of 165 million dollars. Marvel hired writers to develop its lesser known characters such as iron Fist, Vision and Doctor Strange in 2009.During the promotions of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Trevor .Patrick Dempsey conveyed that he was lobbying for the titular character in a Doctor Strange Movie. In the end, the current version of the movie came under consideration with an announcement from Marvel studio president that Doctor strange would appear in some capacity as a part of Phase 3 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While Gal Gadot’s Wonder woman made a brief appearance in Batman v Superman, the character’s standalone movie is yet to hit the screens in 2017. If we look at the production history of the wonder woman live action project, a film involving the character was reported to be under development in 1996 with Ivan Reitman attached as the prospective director. Later in 1999, it was revealed that Minority Report fame John Cohen was hired as the writer by Joel silver and warner bros. while Sandra bullock was approached for the role. When Todd Alcott came onboard to rewrite the script, actors namely Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox and Catherine Zeta Zones were rumored to play the part. With the intent to evolve the script, it went through various drafts written by Alcott, Cohen, Becky Johnson and Philip Levens before he was replaced by Laeta Kalogridis.
Warner Bros. and Silver pictures made a major announcement in March 2005 that Joss Whedon was going to write and direct the Wonder Woman movie. Since Whedon was directing Serenity at that point of time, he did not start with the screenplay until late 2005 as he wanted to write a well-researched story about the character. He had also decided that no casting would take place before he completes the script. According to the producers, the movie was going to deal with the origin story of the character and her journey from Amazon to man’s world with her love interest Trevor. In 2006, a large section of media reported that Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra was in talks to portray Wonder Woman in Joss Whedon’s film. Two years after the project was announced, Whedon managed to turn in an outline story without a draft which was turned down by the studio. Later in 2007, Whedon departed from the projected citing creative differences with the studio and went on to make one of the highest grossing superhero movies titled Avengers for Marvel Studios.
In the late 1980’s, Warner Bros. hired comic book writer Jeph Loeb to write a script for The Flash movie but the plan didn’t work out due to unknown reasons. The project was revived again when the studio was impressed with David Goyer’s script For Batman Begins and he was offered to choose between a Green Lantern and a flash movie. Later in 2009, it was announced that David Goyer would be writing, directing and producing the flash movie. He offered the role of Barry Allen to his Blade trinity colleague Ryan Reynolds with the intention of using Wally west as the supporting character. Goyer borrowed the ideas from the comic books by Mike baron, Mark Waid, and Geoff johns and planned to reflect the tone of Spiderman movies by Sam Raimi.
When Goyer dropped out of the project in 2007, he revealed that Warner bros. are planning to introduce flash in the Justice League movie by George Millar with Adam Broody essaying the role of Barry Allen. The movie projected an idea to use Barry Allen in justice league which would lead to a spin-off portraying Wally west as the flash. While levy abandoned the project due to his commitment to the 2nd installment of Night at the Museum franchise, broody’s contract lapsed due to recurring delays caused by the writers’ guild strike and tax credit issues. In 2010 Warner Bros. conceived a plan to roll out its universe starting with Man of Steel. At the same time, it was reported that the creators of the TV show The Flash would revive the live-action project as well. In the year 2016, it was revealed that The Flash would be the sixth installment of DC Extended Universe with Ezra Miller donning the scarlet speedsters’ costume and Rick Famuyiwa was assigned to be the director.