List of unproduced film projects based on Marvel Comics

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This is a list of unmade and unreleased film projects based on Marvel Comics. Some of these productions were, or still are, in development hell. Projects that have not provided significant production announcements within at least a year, would be considered in development limbo until further announcements are released. The following include live-action and animated film productions.

The Fantastic Four

In 1983, German producer Bernd Eichinger met with Marvel Comics' Stan Lee at Lee's Los Angeles home to explore obtaining an option for a movie based on the Fantastic Four.[1] The option was not available until three years later, when Eichinger's Neue Constantin film company obtained it for a price the producer called "not enormous" and which has been estimated to be $250,000.[2] Despite some interest from Warner Bros. and Columbia Pictures, budget concerns precluded any production, and with the option scheduled to expire on December 31, 1992, Neue Constantin asked Marvel for an extension. With none forthcoming, Eichinger planned to retain his option by producing a low-budget Fantastic Four film, reasoning, he said in 2005, "They didn't say I had to make a big movie."[2] In September 1992, he teamed with B-movie specialist Roger Corman, who agreed to produce the film on a $1 million budget.[2]

Production began on December 28, 1992, under music video director Oley Sassone. Storyboards were drawn by artist Pete Von Sholly.[3] The 21-day[4] or 25-day[5] production was shot on the Concorde Pictures sound stage in Venice, California, as well as in Agoura, California for a spacecraft-crash scene, the Loyola Marymount University campus for a lab-explosion scene, and the former Pacific Stock Exchange building in downtown Los Angeles for team-meeting scenes.[4] Costume designer Réve Richards recalled in 1993 going to Golden Apple Comics on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles to buy Fantastic Four comic books for research, and, upon explaining his task, "[T]hese people in the store just swarmed me and said, 'You are going to be faithful to it?' And I told them, 'This is why I am buying these books.'"[6] Paul Ahern was hired as weapons consultant,[6] and Scott Billups for computer visual effects.[7] The special-effects makeup was by John Vulich and Everett Burrell of Optic Nerve.[8] Stuntman Carl Ciarfalio, who wore a rubber suit to portray the monstrous superhero Thing, worked with actor Michael Bailey Smith, who played the Thing's human self, Ben Grimm, so that their mannerisms would match.[8] During the months of post-production, music composers David and Eric Wurst personally contributed $6,000 to finance a 48-piece orchestra for the soundtrack.[4]

A 1993 magazine article gave a tentative release date of Labor Day weekend 1993.[9] During that summer, trailers ran in theaters and on the video release of Corman's Carnosaur. The cast members hired a publicist, at their own expense, to help promote the film at a clips-screening at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and at the San Diego Comic-Con International. By this time, the world premiere was announced to take place at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on January 19, 1994, with proceeds from the event earmarked for the charities Ronald McDonald House and Children's Miracle Network.[10] However, the premiere was halted, the actors received a cease and desist order on all promotion from the producers and the studio confiscated the negatives.[11] Eichinger then informed Sassone that the film would not be released. Speculation arose that the film had never been intended for release, but had gone into production solely as a way for Eichinger to retain rights to the characters; Stan Lee said in 2005 that this was indeed the case, insisting, "The movie was never supposed to be shown to anybody," and adding that the cast and crew had been left unaware.[12] Corman and Eichinger dismissed Lee's claims, with the former stating in the same article, "We had a contract to release it, and I had to be bought out of that contract" by Eichinger.[10] Eichinger, also in that article, calls Lee's version of events "definitely not true. It was not our [original] intention to make a B movie, that's for sure, but when the movie was there, we wanted to release it."[10] He said future Marvel film impresario Avi Arad, at this point, in 1993, a Marvel executive, "...calls me up and says, 'Listen, I think what you did was great, it shows your enthusiasm for the movie and the property, and ... I understand that you have invested so-and-much, and Roger has invested so-and-much. Let's do a deal.' Because he really didn't like the idea that a small movie was coming out and maybe ruining the franchise.... So he says to me that he wants to give me back the money that we spent on the movie and that we should not release it.[10]

In 2002, Arad recalled that, while on a trip to Puerto Rico in 1993, a fan noticing Arad's Fantastic Four shirt expressed excitement over the film's upcoming premiere, of which Arad said he was unaware. Concerned how the low-budget film might cheapen the brand, he said he purchased the film "for a couple of million dollars in cash" and, not having seen it, ordered all prints destroyed, in order to prevent its release.[13] Eichinger continued negotiations to produce a big-budget adaptation, speaking with directors including Chris Columbus, Peyton Reed, and Peter Segal. After pre-production briefly went underway in 1996, Eichinger and his company, by that time called Constantin Film, began production in 2004 of Fantastic Four with an estimated $90 million budget.[13] Following that film's 2005 release, Eichinger and Constantin produced a $130 million[14] sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007). Although never officially released to the general public, but exhibited once on May 31, 1994, The Fantastic Four has been subject to bootleg recordings.[15] The film is available to watch on YouTube and Dailymotion.


In the mid-1980s, screenwriter Gary Goddard was commissioned to write a script for a film based on Dazzler to star Bo Derek. The project was ultimately abandoned when temperamental director John Derek was brought on board, leading to investors backing out.[16] Dazzler eventually made her film debut in Dark Phoenix, portrayed by Halston Sage.[17][18]

Cannon Films Spider-Man

The low box office performance of 1983's Superman III made feature-film adaptations of comic book properties a very low priority in Hollywood until the 1990s.[19] In 1985, after a brief option on Spider-Man by Roger Corman expired,[20] Marvel Comics optioned the property to Cannon Films. Cannon chiefs Menahem Golan and his cousin Yoram Globus agreed to pay Marvel Comics $225,000 over the five-year option period, plus a percentage of any film's revenues.[21] However, the rights would revert to Marvel if a film was not made by April 1990.[22]

Tobe Hooper, then preparing both Invaders From Mars and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, was mooted as director. Golan and Globus misunderstood the concept of the character[23] and instructed writer Leslie Stevens, creator of The Outer Limits, to write a treatment reflecting their misconception. In Stevens' story, a corporate scientist intentionally subjects ID-badge photographer Peter Parker to radioactive bombardment, transforming him into a hairy, suicidal, eight-armed monster. This human tarantula refuses to join the scientist's new master-race of mutants, battling a succession of mutations kept in a basement laboratory.[23][24]

Unhappy with this perceived debasement of his comic book creation, Marvel's Stan Lee pushed for a new story and screenplay, written for Cannon by Ted Newsom and John Brancato.[25] The variation on the origin story had Otto Octavius as a teacher and mentor to a college-aged Peter Parker. The cyclotron accident which "creates" Spider-Man also deforms the scientist into Doctor Octopus and results in his mad pursuit of proof of the Fifth Force. "Doc Ock" reconstructs his cyclotron and causes electromagnetic abnormalities, anti-gravity effects, and bilocation which threatens to engulf New York City and the world. Joseph Zito, who had directed Cannon's successful Chuck Norris film Invasion USA, replaced Tobe Hooper.[26] The new director hired Barney Cohen to rewrite the script. Cohen, creator of TV's Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Forever Knight, added action scenes, a non-canonical comic for the villain, gave Doc Ock the catch phrase, "Okey-dokey", and altered his goal from the Fifth Force to a quest for anti-gravity. Producer Golan (using his pen name "Joseph Goldman") then made a minor polish to Cohen's rewrite. Zito scouted locations and studio facilities in both the U.S. and Europe, and oversaw storyboard breakdowns supervised by Harper Goff. Cannon planned to make the film on the then-substantial budget of between $15 and $20 million.[21]

While no casting was finalized, Zito expressed interest in actor/stunt man Scott Leva, who had posed for Cannon's promotional photos and ads, and made public appearances as Spider-Man for Marvel. The up-and-coming actor Tom Cruise was also discussed for the leading role. Zito considered Bob Hoskins as Doc Ock. Stan Lee expressed his desire to play Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson.[27] Lauren Bacall and Katharine Hepburn were considered for Aunt May, Peter Cushing as a sympathetic scientist, and Adolph Caesar as a police detective.[25] With Cannon finances siphoned by the expensive Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Masters of the Universe, the company slashed the proposed Spider-Man budget to under $10 million. Director Zito opted out, unwilling to make a compromised Spider-Man. The company commissioned low-budget rewrites from writers Shepard Goldman, Don Michael Paul, and finally Ethan Wiley, and penciled in company workhorse Albert Pyun as director, who also made script alterations.[24]

Scott Leva was still associated with the character through Marvel (he had appeared in photo covers of the comic), and read each draft. Leva commented, "Ted Newsom and John Brancato had written the script. It was good but it needed a little work. Unfortunately, with every subsequent rewrite by other writers, it went from good to bad to terrible."[27] Due to Cannon's assorted financial crises, the project shut down after spending about $1.5 million on the project.[23] In 1989, Pathé, owned by corrupt Italian financier Giancarlo Parretti, acquired the overextended Cannon. The filmmaking cousins parted, Globus remaining associated with Pathé, Golan leaving to run 21st Century Film Corporation, keeping a number of properties (including Spider-Man) in lieu of a cash buy-out. He also extended his Spider-Man option with Marvel up to January 1992.[22]

Golan shelved the low-budget rewrites and attempted to finance an independent production from the original big-budget script, already budgeted, storyboarded and laid out.[28] At Cannes in May 1989, 21st Century announced a September start date, with ads touting the script by "Barney Cohen, Ted Newsom & John Brancato and Joseph Goldman."[29] As standard practice, Golan pre-sold the unmade film to raise production funds, with television rights bought by Viacom and home video rights by Columbia Pictures, which wanted to establish a studio franchise. Stephen Herek was attached as director at this point.[30] Golan submitted this "new" screenplay to Columbia in late 1989 (actually the 1985 script with an adjusted "1989" date) and the studio requested yet another rewrite. Golan hired Frank LaLoggia, who turned in his draft but grew disenchanted with 21st Century. Neil Ruttenberg was hired for one more draft, which was also "covered" by script readers at Columbia.[31] Columbia's script analysts considered all three submissions "essentially the same story." A tentative production deal was set. In 1990, Stan Lee said, "21st Century [is] supposed to do Spider-Man and now they're talking to Columbia and the way it looks now, Columbia may end up buying Spider-Man from 21st Century."[32]

Wolverine and the X-Men

Around 1989, Stan Lee and Chris Claremont entered in talks with Carolco Pictures and Lightstorm Entertainment to make a film adaptation of the X-Men comic book series, with James Cameron as producer, Kathryn Bigelow as director and Gary Goldman as writer.[33] Bob Hoskins was slated to star as Wolverine[34] and Angela Bassett was attached to star as Storm.[35] Claremont also contacted Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter to revive the character of Jean Grey due to the character's demise in The Dark Phoenix Saga comic book storyline.[36] However, the project entered into development hell when Lee piqued Cameron's interest on the long planned Spider-Man film and after the defunction of Carolco Pictures.[36] A different film was released in 2000 with a different studio, 20th Century Fox, and Bryan Singer as director.

Silver Surfer

In 1989, Erik Fleming, then a film student from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and Robert Letterman approached Marvel Studios and Constantin Film's producer Bernd Eichinger to ask permission to make a short film featuring the Silver Surfer, as a proof of concept for the use of CGI in creating a realistic silver colored human figure.[37] Supervised by Steven Robiner, this 5-minute short film, completed in 1991, premiered at First Look USC Film Festival on September 21, 1993,[38] led to significant interest from major studios in a feature-length Silver Surfer project. However, in 1992, Quentin Tarantino, fresh from his critical success with Reservoir Dogs, had come to Constantin Productions with a Silver Surfer script, but was turned away.[39] Andrew Kevin Walker wrote a different script for 20th Century Fox in 2000, but nothing ever came of this, either.[40]

Early abandoned Iron Man scripts

In April 1990, Universal Studios bought the rights to develop Iron Man for the big screen,[41] with Stuart Gordon to direct a low-budget film based on the property. By February 1996, 20th Century Fox had acquired the rights from Universal.[42] In January 1997, Nicolas Cage expressed interest in portraying the character,[43] while in September 1998, Tom Cruise expressed interest in producing as well as starring in an Iron Man film.[44] Jeff Vintar and Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee co-wrote a story for Fox, which Vintar adapted into a screenplay. It included a new science-fiction origin for the character, and featured MODOK as the villain. Over 10 years later, MODOK was included in early drafts of Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the main villain, with Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage being the first choice for the role, (Dinklage eventually made his MCU debut in Avengers: Infinity War as Eitri the Dwarf King), but the character was cut from the final draft and replaced by Alexander Pierce.[45] Tom Rothman, President of Production at Fox, credited the screenplay with finally making him understand the character. In May 1999, Jeffrey Caine was hired to rewrite Vintar and Lee's script.[46] Fox sold the rights to New Line Cinema the following December, reasoning that although the Vintar/Lee script was strong, the studio had too many Marvel superheroes in development, and "we can't make them all."[47] In 1999, Quentin Tarantino was also linked to a live-action Iron Man film, as director and writer.[48] By July 2000, the film was being written for New Line by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio,[49] and Tim McCanlies.[50] McCanlies' script used the idea of a Nick Fury cameo to set up his own film. In June 2001, New Line entered talks with Joss Whedon, a fan of the character.[51] and in December 2002, McCanlies had turned in a completed script.[52] In December 2004, the studio attached director Nick Cassavetes to the project for a target 2006 release.[53] Screenplay drafts were written by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, and David Hayter, and pitted Iron Man against his father Howard Stark, who becomes War Machine. After two years of unsuccessful development, and the deal with Cassavetes falling through, New Line Cinema returned the film rights to Marvel.[54] In November 2005, Marvel Studios decided to start development from scratch, discarding all previous scripts,[55] and announced Iron Man as their first film of the MCU.

Carolco Pictures / MGM James Cameron's Spider-Man

21st Century's Menahem Golan still actively immersed himself mounting "his" Spider-Man, sending the original "Doc Ock" script for production bids. In 1990, he contacted Canadian effects company Light and Motion Corporation regarding the visual effects, which in turn offered the stop-motion chores to Steven Archer (Krull, Clash of the Titans).[56]

Toward the end of shooting True Lies, Variety carried the announcement that Carolco Pictures had received a completed screenplay from James Cameron.[57] This script bore the names of James Cameron, John Brancato, Ted Newsom, Barry [sic] Cohen and "Joseph Goldmari", a typographical scrambling of Golan's pen name ("Joseph Goldman") with Marvel executive Joseph Calamari.[58] The script text was identical to the one Golan submitted to Columbia the previous year, with the addition of a new 1993 date. Cameron stalwart Arnold Schwarzenegger was frequently linked to the project as the director's choice for Doctor Octopus.[59][60]

Months later, Cameron submitted an undated 57-page "scriptment" with an alternate story (the copyright registration was dated 1991), part screenplay, part narrative story outline.[23] The "scriptment" told the Spider-Man origin, but used variations on the comic book characters Electro and Sandman as villains. This "Electro" (named Carlton Strand, instead of Max Dillon) was a megalomaniacal parody of corrupt capitalists. Instead of Flint Marko's character, Cameron's "Sandman" (simply named Boyd) is mutated by an accident involving Philadelphia Experiment-style bilocation and atom-mixing, in lieu of getting caught in a nuclear blast on a beach. The story climaxes with a battle atop the World Trade Center and had Peter Parker revealing his identity to Mary Jane Watson. In addition, the treatment was also heavy on profanity, and had Spider-Man and Mary Jane having sex on the Brooklyn Bridge.[61]

This treatment reflected elements in previous scripts: from the Stevens treatment, organic web-shooters, and a villain who tempts Spider-Man to join a coming "master race" of mutants; from the original screenplay and rewrite, weird electrical storms causing blackouts, freak magnetic events and bi-location; from the Ethan Wiley draft, a villain addicted to toxic super-powers and multiple experimental spiders, one of which escapes and bites Peter, causing an hallucinatory nightmare invoking Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis; from the Frank LaLoggia script, a blizzard of stolen cash fluttering down onto surprised New Yorkers; and from the Neil Ruttenberg screenplay, a criminal assault on the New York Stock Exchange.[24] In 1991, Carolco Pictures extended Golan's option agreement with Marvel through May 1996,[22] but in April 1992, Carolco ceased active production on Spider-Man due to continued financial and legal problems.[62]

When Cameron agreed to make Spider-Man, Carolco lawyers simply used his previous Terminator 2 contract as a template. A clause in this agreement gave Cameron the right to decide on movie and advertising credits. Show business trade articles and advertisements made no mention of Golan, who was still actively assembling the elements for the film.[22] In 1993, Golan complained publicly and finally instigated legal action against Carolco for disavowing his contractual guarantee credit as producer. On the other hand, Cameron had the contractual right to decide on credits.[24] Eventually, Carolco sued Viacom and Columbia to recover broadcast and home video rights, and the two studios countersued.[21] 20th Century Fox, though not part of the litigation, contested Cameron's participation, claiming exclusivity on his services as a director under yet another contract.[23] In 1996, Carolco, 21st Century, and Marvel went bankrupt.

Via a quitclaim from Carolco dated March 28, 1995, MGM acquired 21st Century's film library and assets, and received "...all rights in and to all drafts and versions of the screenplay(s) for Spider-Man written by James Cameron, Ted Newsom & John Brancato, Menahem Golan, Jon [sic] Michael Paul, Ethan Wiley, Leslie Stevens, Frank Laloggia, Neil Ruttenberg, Barney Cohen, Shepard Goldman and any and all other writers."[63] MGM also sued 21st Century, Viacom, and Marvel Comics, alleging fraud in the original deal between Cannon and Marvel. In 1998, Marvel emerged from bankruptcy with a reorganization plan that merged the company with Toy Biz.[22] The courts determined that the original contract of Marvel's rights to Golan had expired, returning the rights to Marvel, but the matter was still not completely resolved. In 1999, Marvel licensed Spider-Man rights to Columbia, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment.[64] MGM disputed the legality, claiming it had the Spider-Man rights via Cannon, 21st Century, and Carolco.[65]


A She-Hulk live-action motion picture was planned in the early 1990s, with Larry Cohen as writer and director. Ten months later, Brigitte Nielsen was announced to play the title role in Cohen's film.[66] She posed for photos dressed both as She-Hulk and her alter ego Jennifer Walters, but the movie was never produced. In August 2019, a She-Hulk series was announced for Disney+, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters / She-Hulk.[67]


In the early 1990s, a Deathlok film was at the script stage, with screenwriter Randall Frakes writing the script, but the project never moved forward.[68]

Iron Fist

In May 2000, Marvel Studios brought Artisan Entertainment to co-finance an Iron Fist film,[69] hiring Ray Park to star and John Turman to write the script in January 2001.[70] Park read extensively the comics Iron Fist had appeared in.[71] Kirk Wong signed to direct in July 2001, with filming set for late 2001/early 2002.[72] Iron Fist nearly went into pre-production in March 2002.[73] Wong left the project in April 2002.[74] By August 2002, pre-production had started.[75] Filming was pushed back to late 2002,[76] and then to late 2003.[77] In March 2003, Marvel announced a 2004 release date.[78] In April 2003, Steve Carr entered negotiations to direct.[79] In November 2003, the release date was moved to 2006.[80] In March 2007, Carr placed Iron Fist on hold due to scheduling conflicts.[81] In 2009, Marvel announced they have begun hiring a group of writers to help come up with creative ways to launch its lesser-known properties, such as Iron Fist, along with others such as Black Panther, Cable, Doctor Strange, Nighthawk, and Vision.[82] In August 2010, Marvel Studios hired Rich Wilkes to write the screenplay,[83] implying that Marvel had a future Iron Fist film project planned.[84] In November 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that they "probably were never going to make feature films about" characters featured in Marvel's Netflix TV series such as Iron Fist but that if the Netflix series became popular, "[it was] quite possible that they could become feature films."[85]

The Hands of Shang-Chi

In 2001, Stephen Norrington announced that he had agreed to direct a film called The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu, a film adaptation based on the Marvel character Shang-Chi. Norrington described the film as "a real honest-to-goodness martial arts film, rather than a film that simply has martial arts in it". In 2004, it was announced that Ang Lee had been brought on as producer. In 2005, it was announced that Stan Lee had agreed to executive produce the film for DreamWorks, with Yuen Woo-ping directing from a Bruce C. McKenna screenplay.[86] In 2005, Avi Arad stated that he thought that a PG-13 adaptation was possible.[87] In 2006, Ang Lee confirmed his and Yuen's continued involvement with the project.[86] In December 2018, a different film adaptation of Shang-Chi, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Simu Liu in the title role, was announced, with a script by David Callaham.[88] In March 2019, Destin Daniel Cretton was chosen to direct.[89]

Nick Fury

Andrew W. Marlowe was hired to write the script in 2006. The script he wrote was loosely based on Jim Steranko's Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. series and involved the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. The script was not written for the version of the character appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it was constructed before Samuel L. Jackson was cast but Marlowe said that the script could be "tweaked" for Jackson's portrayal, but no further developments took place.[90]

Guillermo del Toro's Doctor Strange

In 2007, Guillermo del Toro was attached to direct a Doctor Strange film, from a screenplay by Neil Gaiman. The film was eventually canceled due to low studio interest.[91]


In December 2015, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Hasbro Studios and Paramount Pictures are creating a movie universe combining Rom with G.I. Joe, Micronauts, Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, and M.A.S.K..[92] Michael Chabon, Brian K. Vaughan, Nicole Perlman, Lindsey Beer, Cheo Coker, John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein, Joe Robert Cole, Jeff Pinkner, Nicole Riegel, and Geneva Robertson-Dworet have joined the writing team for the project.[93] By March 2018, Zak Penn had signed on to write the film's script.[94]

JLA/Avengers film

In 2009, Bruce Timm expressed interest in making an animated film based on the JLA/Avengers comics series.[95] Since then, there has been no further announcements.

Big Hero 6 sequel

On February 18, 2015, the directors of Big Hero 6, Don Hall and Chris Williams, said a sequel was possible. Hall added, "Having said that, of course, we love these characters, and the thought of working with them again some day definitely has its appeal."[96] In March 2015, Genesis Rodriguez told MTV that a sequel was being considered, saying, "…There's nothing definitive. There's talks of something happening. We just don't know what yet."[97] In April 2015, Stan Lee mentioned a projected sequel as one of several that he understood were in Marvel's plans for upcoming films.[98] A film sequel was scrapped in favor of Big Hero 6: The Series,[99] created and executive produced by Kim Possible's Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, and co-executive produced by Nick Filippi.[100][101] The majority of the cast from the film returned to voice the characters, except for Damon Wayans Jr. and T.J. Miller.[102]

20th Century Fox films

Daredevil films

Daredevil 2

Feige had stated on potential future Daredevil films, "there are many more stories to be told with old Hornhead and we'd love to tell them someday." Avi Arad has also said that a sequel will begin development once the rights go from 20th Century Fox to Marvel Studios.[103] Director Mark Steven Johnson showed interest in returning to direct with the Born Again storyline, as well as suggesting Mr. Fear as a possible villain.[104] During 2004, Ben Affleck shot a cameo role for the spin-off film, Elektra, at the request of Daredevil co-star Jennifer Garner.[105] In October 2004, Affleck stated he would only return in the lead role if Fox would renegotiate to tell the darker stories of Daredevil, and showed interest in a Kevin Smith graphic novel which included Mysterio, as well as the Born Again storyline.[106] However, in November 2006, Affleck stated that he would never reprise the role, having felt "by playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero... Wearing a costume was a source of humiliation for me and something I wouldn't want to do again soon."[107] Despite this, Affleck would later sign on to portray the DC superhero, Bruce Wayne / Batman, in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[108]

In July 2006, Michael Clarke Duncan showed interest in returning for the role of the Kingpin, but stated that he would not be willing to gain weight as he felt "comfortable" being down to 270 pounds. However, he jokingly showed willingness to change his mind if he was offered $20 million. Duncan suggested that the character is portrayed to have been training a lot in jail in order to become faster in combat against Daredevil, also working as a way to fit his weight loss into the story.[109] Duncan would later go on to reprise his role as the Kingpin in an episode of the animated series: Spider-Man: The New Animated Series.

Daredevil reboot

In August 2008, Jason Statham expressed interest in appearing as Daredevil in the future. Statham requested "just give me the chance, I would love to be Daredevil." Frank Miller commented in agreement "I think he should be Daredevil too."[110] In October 2008, 20th Century Fox executive Tom Rothman said "a Daredevil reboot is something we are thinking very seriously about." Rothman added that "what it really needs is, it needs a visionary at the level that Chris Nolan was. It needs someone, it needs a director, honestly, who has a genuine vision."[111] By February 2010, 20th Century Fox and New Regency were looking to develop the reboot with News Corp., with Peter Chernin producing and David Scarpa writing the script.[112] On March 15, 2011, it was announced that filmmaker David Slade would be directing the reboot,[113] but he later had to drop out due to other obligations. Fringe writer and producer Brad Caleb Kane was hired to pen the Slade-directed film.[114]

On September 3, 2012, Duncan died, precluding him from reprising his role as Kingpin.[115][116] Later, it was announced that should a sequel or reboot not start filming by October 10, 2012, the rights to the Daredevil franchise would revert from Fox back to Marvel. In early August 2012, Fox scrambled to find a replacement for David Slade, who dropped out of the director's chair due to scheduling conflicts. The studio briefly met with Joe Carnahan, for the job—however, Carnahan said on Twitter that his pitch, described as a hard-boiled '70s thriller, had gone up in smoke. Several sources commented that Fox had given up on the reboot, and were prepared to let the rights revert to Marvel and their parent company, The Walt Disney Company.[117] On April 23, 2013, Kevin Feige confirmed that the rights for Daredevil returned to Marvel Studios and Disney, opening the possibility of including the character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[118] That speculation was confirmed with the announcement of an original Netflix Daredevil television series, which premiered on the streaming service in April 2015, with English actor Charlie Cox in the title role.[119]

Fantastic Four films

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer sequel

A sequel to the June 2007 film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was planned. The main four cast of the other two films originally signed a three-movie deal,[120] with 20th Century Fox and Julian McMahon also signed for a third film.[121] Michael Chiklis was told Ben Grimm's relationship with Alicia Masters would have had a greater focus in a third film[122] and Jessica Alba expressed interest in introducing Franklin Richards,[123] while Beau Garrett wished to return as Nova.[124] Tim Story said he was interested in directing a third and fourth film[125] and writer Don Payne stated while he had not discussed a sequel with the studio, he was interested in working with more Fantastic Four characters saying "I’ve always loved the Inhumans, the Skrulls, the Puppet Master, and Annihilus and the Negative Zone".[126] Story told IGN in an interview that he would like to have the Black Panther in the movie with Djimon Hounsou as the character.[127] As Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer performed less at the box office than the first film, 20th Century Fox was unsure of the series' future, and no script was in development.[128] In March 2008, Chris Evans revealed, "I'm pretty sure we won't do another one. I'm assuming that one is a closed book."[129] The series was eventually rebooted in 2015.

Fantastic Four (2015) sequel

In March 2014, before Fantastic Four began filming, 20th Century Fox announced plans for a sequel with a scheduled release date of July 14, 2017.[130] Fox then rescheduled the release for June 2, 2017, with War for the Planet of the Apes taking its place on the July 14, 2017, slot.[131] It changed the release date again to June 9, 2017, to be two weeks after Star Wars: The Last Jedi's initial scheduled release date of May 26, 2017.[132] Initially, it was intended for both Galactus and Silver Surfer to be shown in a post-credits scene of the film destroying an entire planet to tease a possible sequel. Both Galactus and Silver Surfer were removed from the final version of the film, postponing their reveals, due to budgetary reasons.[133] Due to Fantastic Four's poor box office performance and negative reviews, Pamela McClintock of The Hollywood Reporter said that it "throws into question whether Fox will move ahead with a sequel". Phil Hoad of The Guardian said it would "be interesting" to see if Fox proceeds with a sequel and if it keeps the "gritty-on-paper" tone, noting that if Fox did not produce a sequel or a reboot until 2022, the film rights would revert to Marvel Studios.[134][135][136][137]

Despite the performance, it was reported in September 2015 that Fox still planned to produce a sequel, with Simon Kinberg working on the project.[138] Drew McWeeny of HitFix said that while a sequel may not be produced in time for the 2017 release date, Fox would likely attempt to salvage the franchise, working with Josh Trank's defined vision and adding adjustments to it.[139] While Kinberg affirmed his intent to make a sequel, Kate Mara said that a sequel looked unlikely, despite expressing interest in reprising her role as Sue Storm.[138] In September 2015, Tommy Wiseau expressed enthusiasm in directing a sequel, having personal admiration for the film.[140] In November 2015, the sequel was removed from Fox's release schedule.[141] In May 2016, Kinberg reaffirmed his intent to make another Fantastic Four film with the same cast.[142] Later that month, Toby Kebbell stated he had no interest in reprising his role as Dr. Doom if a sequel were to happen.[143] Both Miles Teller and Kate Mara said that they were open to returning for a sequel.[144][145]

On February 24, 2017, when asked by Collider whether they would make another Fantastic Four film, Kinberg stated "I have no idea. I think the truth is we would not do another Fantastic Four movie until it was ready to be made. One of the lessons we learned on that movie is we want to make sure to get it 100% right, because we will not get another chance with the fans".[146] Toby Kebbell stated he would only be interested in returning to the role of Doctor Doom if he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kebbell added "Truth is, Doom is an incredible bad guy. They just keep trying to force him into the Fantastic Four...Doom is a monster, but you know my Doom was not, so there's that".[147]

Stan Lee (co-creator of the Fantastic Four) also expressed interest in the Fantastic Four, as well as the X-Men, returning to Marvel Studios stating, "We should have all of our characters under Marvel. Remind me on my way home to do something about that. We'll do our best."[148] However, Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige stated in June 2017 that there were no plans of adding the Fantastic Four to the Marvel Cinematic Universe at that time.[149] Matthew Vaughn has expressed interest in directing a new version of Fantastic Four himself as an apology saying, "One of my favorites is the Fantastic Four, so maybe one day I'll try and rectify the mistake."[150] Concept artist Alexander Lozano revealed that Trank's iteration of the Fantastic Four were to make cameo appearances in Tim Miller's take on Deadpool 2, but were cut most likely due to the disappointing reception of the film and to cut back on the self-deprecating humor.[151]

X-Men Origins: Magneto

X-Men Origins: Wolverine was set to be the first of a series of X-Men Origins prequels, with the other being focused on Magneto.[152] However, in April 2009, X-Men Origins: Magneto entered development hell and was eventually canceled. X-Men: First Class, released in 2011, was another prequel to the series, using some elements of X-Men Origins: Magneto. Set in 1962, the film features a young Professor X and Magneto and the foundation of the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.[153]

X-Men / Fantastic Four / Daredevil crossover film

In 2010, Zack Stentz and Ashley Edward Miller were to co-write a film featuring the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil and Deadpool. The plot revolved around a superhero registration act, pitting various characters on opposite sides of the conflict similar to the Civil War story arc. Paul Greengrass had been approached to serve as director, though scheduling conflicts placed the project indefinitely on hold.[154] Warren Ellis worked separately on another draft of the script.[155]

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer spin-off

In 2007, 20th Century Fox hired J. Michael Straczynski to write the screenplay for a spin-off film. Straczynski said his script is a sequel, but will also delve into the Surfer's origins.[156] In mid-2009, Straczynski expressed doubts that spin-off would be produced.[157] In this continuity, the Surfer's origins and powers are similar to those of his comic-book incarnation, in that he agrees to become Galactus' herald in return for the safety of his home world and the woman he loved. Also, if the Surfer is separated from his board, he becomes weaker; in addition, the board also serves as a beacon for Galactus. Director Tim Story said he created Galactus as a cosmic cloud so a future Silver Surfer spin-off film would be unique as the character had yet to appear in comic-book form.[158] Film writer J. Michael Straczynski stated "You don't want to sort of blow out something that big and massive for one quick shot in the first movie."[159] New development surfaced when writer Brian K. Vaughan was attached to a Silver Surfer script.[160]

Films affected by Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox


In October 2014, Josh Zetumer was hired to write the screenplay for a film about the character Remy LeBeau / Gambit, based on the treatment by comic-book writer Chris Claremont. In June 2015, Rupert Wyatt was then hired to direct but left in September due to schedule conflicts.[161] In November, Doug Liman was hired to direct the film.[162] However, he left the film in August 2016, to direct Justice League Dark, and also cited script issues.[163] In August 2017, Channing Tatum, who signed on as the title character, stated that the script was in the process of being rewritten.[164]

By October, Gore Verbinski had signed on as director, while Zetumer continued to work on the script.[165] In January 2018, Verbinski departed the film due to scheduling issues.[166] The film would have starred Channing Tatum with Donner, Kinberg, Tatum and Reid Carolin attached as producers.[167] Kinberg stated that the film was intended to be the start of multiple installments focusing on Gambit.[168] In May 2018, Kinberg stated that the final script had been completed, production would have commenced in New Orleans by the third quarter of 2018 and the film was scheduled for release on March 13, 2020.[169][170][171] In October 2018, Daniel Woburn of Screen Rant opined that the film, which he described as being in development hell since 2014, was likely to be canceled once Disney's acquisition of Fox was complete since Marvel Studios would want to integrate the X-Men characters into the MCU.[172] Lauren Shuler Donner revealed that Gambit, as well as the rest of the Fox Marvel films, were "on hold" until the Disney–Fox deal went through.[173] In May 2019, the film was removed from the release schedule and officially cancelled.[174]

Dark Phoenix sequels

Kinberg said in May 2016 that he planned for his directorial debut Dark Phoenix to be the first in a trilogy, spawning a new line of films focusing on the younger versions of the original X-Men characters.[175] After the proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney was announced in December 2017, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the X-Men would be integrated with the MCU under Disney, resulting in a probable reboot of the X-Men franchise.[176] A year later, Kinberg revealed that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige had reviewed the script and tone of Dark Phoenix.[177] In March 2019, Fox executive Emma Watts described Dark Phoenix as the final Fox X-Men film, ending development on the sequels.[178]

The New Mutants sequels

In December 2016, Josh Boone and Knate Lee originally pitched The New Mutants to Kinberg as the first in a trilogy. In October 2017, Boone said that the characters Warlock and Karma would appear in the sequels, which he wanted to be "their own distinct kind of horror movies.[179] The first film is certainly the 'rubber-reality' supernatural horror movie. The next one would have been a completely different kind of horror movie. Our take was just go examine the horror genre through comic book movies and make each one its own distinct sort of horror film. Drawing from the big events that we love in the comics." He added that connections to the wider X-Men universe could have been explored more in future films. Boone and Lee revealed that they were interested in filming the first sequel in Brazil, and that Sunspot's father Emmanuel da Costa would have played a role in the franchise.[180] Fox executive Emma Watts described The New Mutants as the final film in Fox's X-Men series, ending possibilities of sequels.[181] In August 2020, Boone confirmed there were no plans to incorporate The New Mutants into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[182]

X-23 spin-off

In February 2017, James Mangold has stated that he would like to see X-23 appear in future X-Men films, and that he would like to be involved in one way or another, should that happen. Kinberg has also stated that the studio's plans for future movies do, in fact, include X-23.[183] On October 24, 2017, Mangold confirmed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that a script for an X-23 spinoff movie was in the works, stating: "We're just working on a script." He had also cited the success of DC Films' Wonder Woman as 20th Century Fox's inspiration. It was then announced that X-23 creator Craig Kyle would have been involved in the solo spinoff alongside Mangold.[184][185] There have been no further announcements, adding upon more uncertainty about whether it would be made due to the Disney / Fox deal.

Alpha Flight

In February 2017, Kinberg stated that 20th Century Fox had been focusing on developing ideas for future mutant-based teams that could expand the film series. He added that the Alpha Flight were characters being developed for a film adaptation.[186] There have been no further announcements, adding upon more uncertainty about whether it would be made due to the Disney / Fox deal.


In February 2017, Kinberg stated that Fox had been developing ideas for another mutant team that could become a film series. He added that the Exiles were characters being developed for a film adaptation.[187] There have been no further announcements, adding upon more uncertainty about whether it would be made due to the Disney / Fox deal.

Doctor Doom

In July 2017, a Doctor Doom solo film was in development with Noah Hawley attached to direct.[188] In an interview with ScreenGeek, Mads Mikkelsen had expressed interest in playing the character, having previously auditioned for Doctor Doom for the 2015 film.[189] Dan Stevens was said to be involved with the film.[190] In June 2018, Hawley stated that the script was almost finished, but that there was "uncertainty" about whether it would be filmed due to his upcoming film Lucy in the Sky and the fact that Disney plans to acquire Fox.[191] In March 2019, Hawley revealed that he was still unsure about whether he would be continuing the project, as it had not been officially greenlit, but that he spoke to Kevin Feige about it.[192] Hawley planned a more purist take on the film focused on the character, describing the film as a "kind of Cold War, geopolitical movie” that would have taken place in the fictional Eastern European nation of Latveria, which Doom rules with an iron fist as a monarch. After 10 years of isolation, Doom would invite a female journalist to visit for the purpose of sharing a message to the rest of the world.[193]

Multiple Man

In November 2017, a film centering around Jamie Madrox / Multiple Man was in development with James Franco starring as the titular Marvel character. Allan Heinberg signed on to the project as screenwriter with Simon Kinberg and Franco attached as co-producers.[194] There has been no further development news, as it is unlikely to enter productions due to Disney's purchase of Fox.

Kitty Pryde

In January 2018, it was announced that a Kitty Pryde solo movie was in development, with Tim Miller attached as the director and Brian Michael Bendis as the writer.[195][196][197] There have been no further announcements, adding upon more uncertainty about whether it would be filmed due to the Disney / Fox deal and due to it being announced a month after the deal was announced.

X-Men: Fear the Beast

X-Men: Fear the Beast was the title of a spin-off film pitched by Byron Burton, former assistant to editor/composer John Ottman while he was working on X-Men: Apocalypse. Ottman was skeptical of the idea that Beast could carry his own film, but when Burton said he could complete a script in two weeks, Ottman gave the aspiring screenwriter a chance to prove the idea could work.[198][199]

After reading Burton's draft, Ottman decided to join the project and rework the script as a $90 million film. Fear the Beast would have been set in the late 1980s, opening in a snow-covered Inuit village that was being stalked by a mysterious creature. Ottman likened the film to John Carpenter's The Thing, due to both settings involving an "inhospitable environment". The story would then jump forward to Hank McCoy living in the X-Mansion, where he would be struggling to keep his mutation under control with a serum that was introduced in X-Men: Days of Future Past. His beastly nature surfaced during a Danger Room sequence, where the Friends of Humanity would have also made an appearance. Early in the first act, it would be revealed that Hank had been helping a scientist with a similar mutation known as Dr. Paul Cartier.[198]

Hank provided Cartier with a sample of his serum, but would later discover that he was the one terrorizing the Inuit village at the start of the film as the Wendigo.[200] It would culminate in a showdown where Hank teamed up with Wolverine, who was located by Professor X using Cerebro. Fear the Beast ended with a tease of Mister Sinister having watched all of the proceedings. This was going to be a set up to Sinister being a multi-film villain orchestrating things.[198]

Ottman passed the idea around to people at 20th Century Fox, but because Fear the Beast involved core X-Men characters such as Professor X and Beast, the film would needed to be signed off by Simon Kinberg. Kinberg was the key architect behind the X-Men films and was working on Dark Phoenix at the time. He politely declined to read the script to avoid being influenced by it, as he had plans to reintroduce Wolverine into the X-Men films after Hugh Jackman retired from the role. As such, Wolverine being used in any other film would have muddled Kinberg's plans. However, Ottman didn't mind as he would have pushed to direct the film himself had Fox been interested.[198]

Ottman was constantly reworking the script to avoid any problems that would have showed up in post-production. Both Ottman and Burton noted that the version of Fear the Beast they originally pitched was an early draft that would have changed over time.[198]

Omega Red

An outline of an Omega Red film was written by Byron Burton and John Ottman. It was planned to be a follow-up to X-Men: Fear the Beast, which teased Mister Sinister as a multi-arc villain orchestrating events behind-the-scenes. It would have been set in the late '80s and involved Sinister testing the X-Men.[198]


20th Century Fox announced a film version of X-Force.[201][202][203] On July 11, 2013, it was reported that Jeff Wadlow was hired to write and direct the adaptation. Lauren Shuler Donner and Matthew Vaughn signed on as producers.[204] On December 3, 2013, Rob Liefeld confirmed that Cable and Deadpool would be appearing in the film. The film was planned to be released sometime in the year 2017.[205] A piece of concept art shows Cable, Domino, Warpath, Cannonball, and Feral as members of the team.[206] After the release of Deadpool, Reynolds felt that Deadpool would soon be in an X-Force film,[207] and Kinberg stated that there was potential for X-Force to be R-rated like Deadpool in contrast to the PG-13 "mainline X-Men movies".[208] Bryan Singer has stated in an interview with Fandango that he would like to see X-23 to appear in the film as the new Wolverine.[209] In addition, Psylocke has been rumored to appear in the film as she is a very prominent member of the team in the comic books; however, actress Olivia Munn (who plays Psylocke in the film X-Men: Apocalypse) has not addressed these rumours. On November 9, 2016, Kinberg announced to The Hollywood Reporter that the film is still on their schedule.[210] In February 2017, it was reported that Ryan Reynolds would co-write the script with Joe Carnahan.[211] On September 7, 2017, Drew Goddard was brought on to write and direct X-Force.[212] On February 21, 2018, Hollywood North Buzz reports that the film will start shooting this October before the Disney/Fox deal is finalised.[213]

Following the release of Deadpool 2 in May 2018, co-writer Rhett Reese confirmed the X-Force movie will be an R-rated take on X-Men and will have "all the sex, violence, and silliness one would expect from the Deadpool-skewed militarized mutant force". Reese said "they can get their hands dirty a little bit. There's more gray area. It'll be raunchier, it'll be rated R, I'm sure. We'll get to see an ensemble movie that's pushed, hopefully, as far as the Deadpool individual movie was pushed."[214] In January 2019, all Fox Marvel properties were postponed until the Disney–Fox deal closes.[173] On March 20, 2019, the deal was officially completed.[215]

Lionsgate films

Lionsgate's Black Widow

In 2004, Lionsgate Entertainment announced that a Black Widow motion picture, featuring the Natasha Romanova version, was in the script stage by screenwriter-director David Hayter.[216][217][218] Lionsgate subsequently dropped the project.[219][220][221] Since then, the rights to the character were reverted to Marvel. After the character's live action debut in Iron Man 2, Kevin Feige indicated interest in producing a solo Black Widow film.[222] and in February 2014, development had begun on it.[223] In January 2018, Jac Schaeffer was hired to write the script.[224] In July, Cate Shortland was hired to direct.[225]

Punisher Films

The Punisher 2

Lions Gate Entertainment planned to produce a direct sequel to The Punisher titled The Punisher 2, with Avi Arad, chairman and CEO of Marvel Studios, stating that the second film would "become the fifth Marvel property to become a sequel."[226] Jonathan Hensleigh said that he was interested in working with Thomas Jane again for The Punisher 2.[227] Jane said that the villain for The Punisher 2 would be Jigsaw.[228] The project, however, lingered in development for over three years. Jonathan Hensleigh completed a first draft of the script before pulling out around 2006. John Dahl was in talks to direct the film but pulled out due to script quality issues and the studio not wanting to spend a lot of money on the project.[229][230] In a statement on May 15, 2007[231] and in two audio interviews Thomas Jane said that he pulled out of the project due to creative differences and the budget of the film being cut, in addition to director Walter Hill being turned down as director by Lionsgate.[232][233] After reading the new script by Kurt Sutter, Jane stated: What I won't do is spend months of my life sweating over a movie that I just don't believe in. I've always loved the Marvel guys, and wish them well. Meanwhile, I'll continue to search for a film that one day might stand with all those films that the fans have asked me to watch.[234][235] The film got rebooted in 2008 titled Punisher: War Zone with Ray Stevenson as Castle.

Punisher: War Zone sequel

In September 2008, Ray Stevenson and Lionsgate were planning a sequel to Punisher: War Zone, hinting at Barracuda as a possible villain.[236] At the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, when asked if he signed on for more Punisher, he said, "If I had my wish, it's going to run and run. It's up to the fan base. If this works, we get to do it all again."[236] After the film was not received well by audiences, the rights for the character eventually reverted to Marvel, resulting in the Netflix series adaptation.

Ultimate War / Thor

In January 2013, a proposed Ultimate War / Thor dual film DVD, for the Marvel Animated Features series, was passed over for the 2009 released Hulk Versus dual film DVD. Ultimate War would have adapted the Ultimate Marvel comic book of the same name while the Thor movie would have selected a Walt Simonson's classic Thor storyline with the original selection being a Beta Ray Bill story.[237]

Sony Pictures films

Spider-Man films

Spider-Man 3 sequels

In May 2007, Spider-Man 4 entered development, with Sam Raimi attached to direct and Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and other cast members set to reprise their roles. Both a fourth and a fifth film were planned and at one time the idea of shooting the two sequels concurrently was under consideration. However, Raimi stated in March 2009 that only the fourth film was in development at that time and that if there were fifth and sixth films, those two films would actually be a continuation of each other.[238][239][240][241] James Vanderbilt was hired in October 2007 to pen the screenplay after initial reports in January 2007 that Sony Pictures was in contact with David Koepp, who wrote the first Spider-Man film.[242][243] The script was subsequently rewritten by Pulitzer-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire in November 2008 and rewritten again by Gary Ross in October 2009.[244] Sony also engaged Vanderbilt to write scripts for Spider-Man 5 and Spider-Man 6.[243] In 2007, Raimi expressed interest in portraying the transformation of Dr. Curt Connors into his villainous alter-ego, the Lizard, a villain which had been teased since Spider-Man 2; the character's actor Dylan Baker and producer Grant Curtis were also enthusiastic about the idea.[245][246][247] By December 2009, John Malkovich was in negotiations to play Vulture and Anne Hathaway would play Felicia Hardy, though she would not have transformed into the Black Cat as in the comics but a new superpowered figure, the Vulturess.[248] Jeffrey Henderson, who worked on the storyboards for Spider-Man 4, said in 2016 that Bruce Campbell, after making cameos in the first three films, was intended to have been revealed as Quentin Beck / Mysterio.[249][250]

According to sources online, an early draft of the film would have had the Vulture buying out the Daily Bugle, forcing Spider-Man to kill him. Felicia Hardy, Vulture's daughter in this version of the script, would have had an affair with Peter Parker in order to shatter his engagement with Mary Jane. These rumors were never confirmed. Raimi stated years later during an interview in 2013, however, that Hathaway was going to be Black Cat if Spider-Man 4 had been made.[248] Sony Pictures announced in January 2010 that plans for Spider-Man 4 had been cancelled due to Raimi's withdrawal from the project. Raimi reportedly ended his participation due to his doubt that he could meet the planned May 6, 2011, release date while at the same time upholding the film creatively. Raimi purportedly went through four iterations of the script with different screenwriters and still "hated it".[251]

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 sequels

Sony Pictures had originally intended the film to launch an expansive film universe around Spider-Man to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In June 2013, Sony Pictures announced a third Amazing Spider-Man film with a release date of June 10, 2016, which Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Jeff Pinkner would return to write, and a fourth film with a release date of May 4, 2018.[252][253] However, between December 2013 and the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in May 2014, Andrew Garfield and Marc Webb revealed that while they would both return for the third film, neither was certain of their involvement in the fourth, with Webb adding he would certainly not be directing.[254][255][256] Following the mixed critical reviews and franchise-low box office performance of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the future of the franchise was unclear. By July 2014, Orci had left the third film to work on Star Trek Beyond,[257] The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which would have included Chris Cooper returning as Norman Osborn[258][259] and focused on Peter recovering from Gwen's death,[260] was delayed to an unspecified date in 2018, and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 was moved to a later, unknown date,[261] before they were ultimately canceled.

Ghost Rider 3

In February 2012, directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor discussed producing a potential Ghost Rider 3, and having someone else direct it.[262] Neveldine told The Playlist that Nicolas Cage had expressed interest in appearing in another Ghost Rider film, hinting that the film could move forward provided that Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was a success, saying, "I know Nic wants to do it, he's very pumped about it.... We'll just have to see how well [this] does."[263] In March 2013, when Cage was asked about a possible third installment, he said, "It's possible, but it won't be with me... Anything's possible. But I doubt, highly, that I would be in the third installment of that."[264] Cage said in March 2013 he believes another Ghost Rider film might happen "down the road", saying, "It would be interesting if they did it with a female Ghost Rider." He added, "Personally, I'm done. I've done what I had to do with that part. You never say never, but right now, today, I would say that I'm done."[265] In May 2013, the film rights to the character reverted to Marvel Studios,[266] with the Robbie Reyes version appearing as a recurring character during the fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., portrayed by Gabriel Luna.[267] In the episode "Good Samaritan", the MCU's version of Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider, brings Robbie back from the dead by giving him the powers of the Ghost Rider / Spirit of Vengeance.[268]

Luke Cage

In 1991, Quentin Tarantino was planning a Luke Cage film with Laurence Fishburne, but he decided to focus on Pulp Fiction.[269] A different film adaptation of Luke Cage had been in development since 2003 by Columbia Pictures, with a screenplay penned by Ben Ramsey, Avi Arad serving as producer[270] and John Singleton directing. Jamie Foxx[271] and Tyrese Gibson were considered for the lead role,[272] while Dwayne Johnson,[273] Isaiah Mustafa[274] and Idris Elba[275][276] expressed interest in playing Luke Cage. In May 2013, it was announced that the film rights for Power Man had reverted to Marvel Studios, resulting in the Netflix series adaptation.[277]

Topher Grace's Venom spinoff

The Marvel Comics character Eddie Brock, an antagonist of Spider-Man, was first introduced in cinema in the May 2007 film Spider-Man 3, with Topher Grace in the role.[278] The character was initially intended to play only a minor role that did not explore his alter-ego Venom,[279] but this was eventually changed to a major villain role for the latter because producer Avi Arad felt the series had relied too much on director Sam Raimi's personal favorite Spider-Man villains and not characters that modern fans were more interested in.[280] Raimi had been hesitant to explore the character due to his "lack of humanity".[280] Arad revealed plans for a spinoff film focused on Venom in July 2007.[281] By July 2008, Sony Pictures was actively developing Venom alongside direct sequels to Spider-Man 3, hoping the character could "add longevity" to the franchise in a similar fashion to Wolverine in 20th Century Fox's X-Men films. Jacob Estes had written a script for the film, but the studio was considering taking it in a different direction from that draft and was seeking new writers. Sony was also not yet convinced that Grace could "carry" the film.[282]

That September, Sony hired Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese to write a new script, while industry insiders suggested that Grace should return for the spinoff "because the likeable actor could be a sympathetic evildoer", in response to Venom co-creator Todd McFarlane suggesting that a Venom film could not do well with a villain as the central character.[283][284] Wernick and Reese had pitched an original story idea for the film to Sony, which Reese described as "realistic, grounded, a little more dark take on the character".[285] The pair then worked on an outline with Sony and Marvel, who "had specific rules about the villain and the backstory and stuff like that". They had completed a draft by April 2009,[286] which included a role written specifically for Stan Lee,[287] and featured a sequence where the Venom symbiote jumps "from body to body [through a city], and each person that it inhabits ends up becoming really violent and striking someone else and then it jumps to [them]." Wernick and Reese had turned in a second draft by September 2009, and Reese said that Sony was "pushing forward in whatever ways they push forward".[288][289]

A month later, Gary Ross, who was rewriting the script for Spider-Man 4 at the time, was hired to also rewrite the Venom script, as well as direct, and produce alongside Arad. Grace was "not considered likely" to return to the role then, with the film starting "from the drawing board" and looking to make the villain "an antihero who becomes a defender of the innocent."[290] In January 2010, Sony announced that the Spider-Man franchise would be rebooted after Raimi decided to no longer pursue direct sequels to Spider-Man 3.[291]

The Amazing Spider-Man spin-offs

Additionally, the series was to include spin-off films.

Venom Carnage

By March 2012, Sony was still interested in a Venom film, now looking to capitalize on the release of the first reboot film, The Amazing Spider-Man. The studio was in negotiations with Josh Trank to direct after Ross left the project to direct The Hunger Games (2012).[292] That June, Arad and fellow producer Matt Tolmach discussed Venom connecting to The Amazing Spider-Man, after comparisons to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films crossing over in The Avengers (2012). Arad called it "an Eddie Brock story" only, but Tolmach added, "Hopefully all these worlds will live together in peace someday."[293] In December 2013, Sony revealed plans to use The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) to establish their own expanded universe based on the Marvel properties the studio had the film rights to, including Venom. Arad and Tolmach would produce the films as part of a franchise brain trust with Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Ed Solomon set to write the screenplay for Venom, which Kurtzman would direct.[294]

In April 2014, Arad and Tolmach said Venom would be released after The Amazing Spider-Man 3—which was set for release on May 27, 2016—but before The Amazing Spider-Man 4.[295] However, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 underperformed, and, with Sony "under tremendous pressure to perform [that had them taking] a hard look at their most important franchise", the direction of the shared universe was rethought. The Amazing Spider-Man 3 was pushed back to 2018, and the Venom film, now known as Venom Carnage, was moved up to 2017. Kurtzman was still attached to direct, and write alongside Solomon.[296] In February 2015, Sony and Marvel Studios announced a new partnership that would see Marvel produce the next Spider-Man film for Sony, and integrate the character into their MCU.[297] Sony still planned to produce the spinoff films without Marvel's involvement,[298] but by November they were believed to have been canceled so Sony could focus on its new reboot with Marvel.[299]

Black Cat film

Sony Pictures had hired Lisa Joy Nolan to write the script for a 2017 film starring Felicia Hardy / Black Cat.[300]

Spider-Man 2099

In addition, Sony Pictures revealed plans for a spin-off based on Spider-Man 2099 to be released in late 2017.[301]

Sinister Six

In December 2013, Sony announced two spin-offs of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, The Sinister Six and Venom, with Drew Goddard attached to write and direct The Sinister Six. At the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a line-up/set-up of the team was foreshadowed throughout the film and during the end credits: Rhino, Vulture, Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, and Kraven the Hunter were all teased as the members, with the Green Goblin serving as the leader (however, the line-up is left in debate as Goddard stated he wanted to adapt a more classic adaptation of the group which would have included Sandman and Doc Ock as the leader). The film was said to be a redemption story for the characters, and would probably not feature Spider-Man. As the Sinister Six's original goal, however, was to kill him, there would seem to be a chance that he would appear.[302][303][304][305] The film was originally scheduled for release on November 11, 2016. However, after the announcement in February 2015 of a new Spider-Man franchise with Marvel Studios, the spin-offs were postponed and eventually cancelled.[306][307][308][309]

In July 2017, following the collaboration between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures, a different film featuring the Sinister Six was announced to be in development.[310][307][308][309] The team was teased in the mid-credits scene of Spider-Man: Homecoming, showing Adrian Toomes in prison where he is told by Mac Gargan that he's got some "boys on the outside". In an email leaked by the Sony Pictures hack, Pascal revealed that she planned for Tom Holland's Spider-Man to appear in a Sinister Six film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, depending on the success of the then-upcoming licensing agreement with Marvel Studios.[311] In October 2018, Goddard acknowledge that his script could eventually be reworked for the film.[312] By December of the same year, producer Amy Pascal confirmed that the studio intends to use the script in the upcoming project and expressed the company's desire for Goddard to direct the film as well.[313]

Silver & Black

In March 2017, it was reported that Sony Pictures was developing a Black Cat and Silver Sable-centered film with writer Christopher Yost. It was intended to be a part of a shared universe called Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, centered on characters from the Spider-Man mythology, beginning with Venom in 2018. The films would have been more adult-oriented and though they would have taken place in the "same reality" as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they would have not crossed over with each other.[314] In May 2017, it was announced that Gina Prince-Bythewood would direct the film, now titled Silver & Black.[315] Production was to begin in March 2018, but has been delayed "indefinitely". Prince-Bythewood revealed that the cause of the delay was due to script issues.[316] While the film was initially scheduled to be released on February 8, 2019, Sony removed the release date from the schedule.[317] Production was slated to begin in 2019.[318] In August 2018, Sony announced that Silver & Black will be canceled in favor of having both characters having their own feature films. Black Cat will reportedly be a re-worked version of the Silver & Black script, while the studio searches for screenwriters for Silver Sable. Prince-Bythewood will serve as a producer on both projects.[319]

New Line Cinema films

Blade prequel

In October 2008, Blade director Stephen Norrington was developing a prequel trilogy to Blade, featuring Stephen Dorff reprising his role as Deacon Frost.[320][321]

New Line Cinema's Venom

In 1997, David S. Goyer had written a script for a film featuring the Marvel Comics character Venom, which was to be produced by New Line Cinema.[322] Dolph Lundgren was rumoured to be tipped to star in the film,[322] which would have included the character Carnage as the main villain.[323] The project ultimately did not move forward, and the rights to the character moved to Sony Pictures along with those for the character Spider-Man, whom Venom is an antagonist of in the comics.[323][322] In October 2018, a trilogy of Venom films set in Sony's Spider-Man Universe (SSU) started.[citation needed]

Universal Pictures films

Namor the Sub-Mariner

Filmmaker Philip Kaufman had been in discussions with Marvel Studios to develop Namor: Sub-Mariner in 1997,[324] and courted Sam Hamm to write the script in 1999, but the outing never materialized.[325] Saban Entertainment became involved as a producing partner with Marvel, with a script written by Randall Frakes.[326] By 2001 Namor was set up at Universal Pictures,[327] who hired David Self to write a new script the following year. They hoped for filming to begin in 2003 for a mid-2004 release,[328] but development stalled for two years until Chris Columbus entered talks to direct in July 2004[329] and the release date was subsequently moved to 2007.[330] Columbus departed in 2005,[331] and Universal replaced him with Jonathan Mostow in September 2006.[332] In 2012, Marvel CCO Joe Quesada thought Namor's film rights had reverted to Marvel, but in August 2013 it was revealed by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige that this was not the case, and the rights remained at Universal Pictures.[333]

On June 3, 2014, Borys Kit confirmed that Marvel, not Universal Pictures now has the Namor film rights.[334] On July 18, 2014, Kevin Feige told IGN in an interview that the Namor film rights are not with Universal and Legendary Pictures, but he explained there are a number of contracts and deals that need to be sorted out.[335] On June 2, 2016, Marvel Chief Creative Office Joe Quesada told Kevin Smith on his Podcast that the Namor rights are now back with Marvel.[336] On February 16, 2017, Production Weekly listed The Sub-Mariner as a project going into production.[337] In April 2018, Feige stated in an interview with IGN that Namor's movie rights are "complicated" and in a similar situation to solo film rights for The Hulk with Universal holding distribution rights.[338]

Hulk 2

At the time of the release of Ang Lee's Hulk, screenwriter James Schamus was planning a sequel, featuring the Grey Hulk. He was also considering the Leader and the Abomination as villains.[339] Marvel wanted the Abomination because he would be an actual threat to the Hulk, unlike General Ross. During the filming of Hulk, producer Avi Arad had a target May 2005 theatrical release date.[340] On January 18, 2006, Arad confirmed Marvel Studios would be providing the money for The Incredible Hulk's production budget, with Universal distributing,[341] because Universal did not meet the deadline for filming a sequel.[342] Marvel felt it would be better to deviate from Ang Lee's style to continue the franchise, arguing his film was like a parallel universe one-shot comic book, and their next film needed to be, in Kevin Feige's words, "really starting the Marvel Hulk franchise". Producer Gale Anne Hurd also felt the film had to meet what "everyone expects to see from having read the comics and seen the TV series". After the mixed reception of Hulk, Marvel Studios reacquired the film rights to the character, and writer Zak Penn began work on a sequel titled The Incredible Hulk. However, Edward Norton rewrote Penn's script after he signed on to star, retelling the origin story in flashbacks and revelations, to help in establishing the film as a reboot; director Louis Leterrier agreed with this approach.[343] Leterrier acknowledged that the only remaining similarity between the two films was Bruce hiding in South America.[344]

Howard the Duck

In 1984, George Lucas announced development of an animated film based on the character created by Steve Gerber and quoting lines from Bill Mantlo. Director Willard Huyck and producer Gloria Katz strongly felt that the film should stay animated, but a contractual obligation with Universal Pictures required Lucas to provide the distributor with a live-action film, so he decided to make the film using live actors and to use special effects for Howard, resulting in the 1986 box office bomb.[345][346] Katz said that the animated Howard the Duck film "would have taken too much time and too much money."[347] In 2019, another animated adaptation of Howard, as a television series, was announced to be released on Hulu, from writers Kevin Smith and Dave Willis.[348]

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External links

25 Planned Superhero Movies That Never Happened on Film School Rejects