The Comic: Whilst there are a whole host of comic-books dealing with super-powers, there aren’t quite so many that cover good old-fashioned magic. Doctor Strange is different however, following the adventures of the titular Sorcerer Supreme, “the mightiest magician in the cosmos”, as he pits his wits against the evil god-tyrant, Dormammu.
The Movie Version: We’d love to see Marvel turn their attentions to the magical side of comic-book lore. Thor proved that even the most outlandish of source material can be swallowed if presented with a pinch of humour and visual flair, so we don’t see why this one couldn’t be equally successful.
Dream Director: Neil Burger did an excellent job of capturing the awe and wonder of the master sorcerer in the perennially underrated The Illusionist , while his work on contemporary fantasy Limitless was similarly impressive.
Cast: Viggo Mortensen has both the gravitas and the air of mystery to pull off the part of Strange. As for his nemesis Dormammu, a hugely intelligent but wildly arrogant entity, we’d nominate Benedict Cumberbatch for the role.
The Comic: One of Marvel’s best-loved Avengers strands, Civil War introduces the narrative device of a Superhuman Registration Act that divides the Marvel universe straight down the middle. Iron Man in squarely behind the act, while Captain America believes it to be a violation of civil rights. With every hero forced to choose a side, all hell swiftly breaks loose.
The Movie: We’d love it if this was the direction in which Marvel were planning to take the Avengers franchise. One of the most significant elements of Joss Whedon’s film is the team’s struggle to co-exist, and the introduction of the aforementioned act would be a great way of building upon those existing tensions. It would be extremely ambitious, but then again, so is The Avengers !
Dream Director: It’s an obvious choice, but we’d love to see Joss Whedon continue his stirling work for Marvel across several more Avengers films. The studio would be foolish not to offer it to him.
Cast: We’d have to have the existing cast members retained, although if Whedon were still involved, we wouldn’t envisage that posing too much of a problem.
The Comic: Superheroes with super-strength are ten a penny, but a superhero with super-strength and the ability to throw down some serious kung-fu moves? They don’t come along so often. Danny Rand is one such character, having souped up his existing skills by plunging both hands into the molten heart of a dragon he has slain. Now that’s what we call an origin story. No mimsy spider-bite on show here!
The Movie: Kung-fu superhero movie… what more do we need to say? There’s a guaranteed audience just waiting to lap this one up. Plus, if Marvel released this in the same kind of time-frame as their Luke Cage movie, they could build towards a Heroes For Hire team-up the following year, in a similar strategy to the one used for The Avengers .
Dream Director: If there’s anyone who knows more about both comics and kung-fu than Quentin Tarantino, then by all means give them the job. Otherwise, we’ll leave it to QT…
Cast: With big brother Chris having knocked it out of the park on Thor , we’d give Liam Hemsworth the nod to play Danny Rand, with Zoe Saldana as the bionic-armed Misty Knight.
The Comic: As well as plying a key part in the Avengers comics, Hawkeye (real name, Clint Barton) has headed-up a number of solo adventures over the years, showing off his considerable prowess as “Earth’s Mightiest Marksman”. A rarity in the Marvel universe, in that he boasts no super-powers of any description – he’s just really, really handy with a bow and arrow. Not too shabby with a one-liner, either…
The Movie Version: Kevin Feige has hinted at it on more than one occasion, but we’d really like to see Hawkeye given a solo movie after the dust from The Avengers has settled. A possible prequel story involving Black Widow has been mooted, and would be an excellent way of fleshing out two of The Avengers ‘ supporting players.
Dream Director: Would it be too incestuous to invite Jon Favreau back into the Marvel fold for this one? It would be the ideal platform from which to redeem himself for the ponderous Iron Man 2 …
Cast: Jeremy Renner would reprise his role as Hawkeye, as would Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. The storyline involving Black Widow’s one-time husband Alexei Shostakov could be a goer, a role that we’d give to a bulked-up Anton Yelchin.
The Comic: A soldier of fortune boasting both telekinetic and telepathic abilities, Cable first cropped up as an infant in an issue of Uncanny X-Men , before going on to play a leading role in the New Mutants strand. It was a series that would expand upon the existing X-Men universe to great effect, pitting Cable against a host of memorable villains including Stryfe, the Genoshans and the all-powerful Apocalypse. Fun fact: he’s the son of Scott Summers, better known by his mutant name, Cyclops.
The Movie Version: Cable was paired with Deadpool for a long running comic-book series, but we’d like to see him stand alone in any big-screen outing. As for narrative, we’d have Cable time-travelling from the future to the present in order to avert a catastrophic event some way down the line. The X-Men links could either be played up to capitalise on the popularity of the existing franchise, or minimised in other to bag a new audience. Cable is definitely enough of a badass to carry this one on his own…
Dream Director: Ridley Scott is back in the sci-fi game with Prometheus , and Cable’s exploits in a dystopian future could be right up his alley.
Cast: Kurt Russell would make for an excellently grizzled take on the character. He’d also play lead villain Stryfe, as he’s the clone of Cable. Kurt Russell vs Kurt Russell? That’s a head to head we’d pay to see…
Luke Cage, Hero For Hire
The Comic: Marvel has a bash at blaxploitation, with this tale of a street kid who finds himself incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. In exchange for his freedom, Cage agrees to an experimental procedure that leaves him with hugely exaggerated muscles and skin as hard as steel. Newly tricked out with these formidable attributes, Cage sets up shop as a kind of badass private detective, complete with the brilliantly awful catchphrase, “Sweet Christmas!”
The Movie Version: Strip away the Black Dynamite -style patois and play it straight, and Marvel could have a cracking franchise on their hands. Although in the comics Cage often refuses money, it’d be more interesting to see a super-hero using his powers for monetary gain as opposed to your common or garden do-goodery. Plus, it’s high time we saw a black super-hero on the big screen…
Dream Director: Shane Black might already have Iron Man 3 on his hands, but his ease with both snappy dialogue and heart-pounding action would make him the perfect fit for this one.
Cast: Idris Elba would be brilliant as Cage, sporting both the attitude and physique for a truly imposing antihero. We’d usher in a Wire reunion by casting Michael K Williams as Cage’s friend turned enemy, Willis Stryker.
The Comic: Doug Moench came up with this pitch black tale of Marc Spector, a ruthless mercenary who is badly beaten and left for dead whilst on a trip to Egypt. However, he doesn’t stay down for long, as a mysterious spirit resurrects him and puts him on the road to revenge. Now boasting a range of super-powers (all of which grow stronger approaching the full moon) and a variety of alter-egos, Spector returns to the States to fight crime…
The Movie Version: We’d do this one as a pitch-black revenge story, with the resurrected Spector struggling to differentiate between his real self and his invented identities, and fighting to contain his newly violent urges. It would be a particularly adult adventure, with IGN famously describing the character as how it would be, “if Batman suffered from multiple personality disorder”.
Dream Director: David Cronenberg did an excellent job adapting another adult graphic novel in the form of A History Of Violence , and we’d call upon him to repeat the trick here.
Cast: It would be leftfield casting, but we’d love to see Michael Shannon play the lead here. He does “unbalanced” terribly well and would be a big name post Man Of Steel ? As for his chief antagonist, Bushman, we’ll plump for Jamie Foxx.
The Comic: Initially created as a Transatlantic alternative to Captain America, Captain Britain boasts the notable distinction of being the only hero in the Marvel universe to have been written for by the great Alan Moore. His backstory is a fairly outlandish one (rather than a super-serum, he got his powers from the wizard Merlyn), but he’s a stout defender of Queen and country nonetheless.
The Movie Version: We’d scrap the Merlyn element, and have Captain Britain empowered by the same serum used by Steve Rogers. However, rather than being a flag-beating boy wonder, our version of Cap would be a hard-drinking bruiser, disillusioned by a corrupt, self-serving government and struggling to remember what was ever “Great” about Britain in the first place.
Dream Director: Matthew Vaughn has proven his chops on superhero movies both snarky and straight, and he’s British to boot. Sign him up…
Cast: Tom Hardy drinks, fights and swears his way into the leading role, with Alan Rickman starring as the UK’s hissable Prime Minister.
The Comic: Marvel’s first black superhero originally cropped up in an issue of Fantastic Four , before going on to bag his own line of comic-books. The chief of a tribe in the fictional nation of Wakanda, Black Panther boasts an array of superhumanly acute senses, as well as preternaturally advanced strength, speed and agility. Panther sense, if you will…
The Movie: We’d focus upon Chris Priest’s story arc, in which King T’Challa (Black Panther to you and me) catches word of a coup in the offing within his government. Heading to New York for a UN summit, Black Panther sets about investigating this potential uprising, before taking on his usurpers in an almighty showdown.
Dream Director: To direct this melting pot of action and intrigue, we’d call upon Paul Greengrass to bring all of his experience on the Bourne movies to bear.
Cast: If Anthony Mackie were to hit the gym, this could be the starring role to propel him to the next level of Hollywood stardom. Meanwhile, we’d cast Armie Hammer as FBI attaché, Everett K Ross.
The Comic: Relax, this isn’t the heartwarming tale of how a struggling single mum got her big chance at fame by begging a tyrannical TV despot to let her sing an Adele song on the telly. It’s actually an X-Men spin-off featuring a secondary team of mutants containing the likes of Multiple Man, Wolfsbane and Angel.
The Movie: We’d focus upon the X-Factor Investigations strand, in which the team work as a group of private investigators instead of spandex-clad heroes. Throw in some noirish sensibilities and a grim murder-mystery plot, and we could be treated to a whole new breed of superhero movie. The X-Men series is one of Marvel’s most popular, but this approach could take it to a whole new audience.
Dream Director: A moody, bleakly-underplayed serial-killer drama? Somebody call for David Fincher! Seriously, he’d be great for this…
Cast: Sam Rockwell would be a good choice for Multiple Man, with Bradley Cooper as Angel and Emma Stone as Wolfsbane.