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5 More Non-Superheroic DC Universe Movies We’d Like To See

If Guillermo del Toro’s Dark Universe really does herald a spate of DC movies that draw from characters connected to the superhero universe without being straight-up superhero movies, then why stop with the one-time Vertigo/Justice League Dark characters? Here are five more possibilities for Warners and DC Entertainment to consider.

New Gods
There came a time when the Old Gods died, as the opening to Jack Kirby’s visionary, sprawling (and unfinished) epic went. Often misunderstood and mischaracterized in the comics as essentially another group of alien superheroes, Kirby’s Fourth World saga has enough parallels with the original Star Wars movies to have obvious potential as a cinematic space opera waiting to happen. Even better, by adopting Kirby’s conceit that the one thing that the series’ major villain Darkseid is seeking is contained within the minds of humanity, it becomes Star Wars on Earth. If ever there was a high concept just waiting for the right people to bring it to life…!

OMAC
Another Kirby concept, and another science fiction tale that feels as if it would fit into today’s pop culture even better than it did in its 1970s heyday: OMAC is, at its heart, a tale of technology being abused in all manner of ways and the one abuse of technology – A man transformed without his knowledge or consent into a superhuman soldier obedient to the faceless Global Peace Agency – created to try and bring everyone else in line. Imagine Iron Man by way of Philip K. Dick, and you have the bones of OMAC – and, surely, something that would strike a chord in the hearts and minds of today’s audience.

Challengers of The Unknown
A perfect concept – Four men who survive an accident that should have killed them set out to dedicate their lives to the unknowable and un-doable – that is just waiting for the right cast to become an action movie franchise. Picture a team of Indiana Jones-es, but ones who exist in a world even more hyper-real world than Spielberg and Lucas’ creation, offering the possibility of even more outrageous adventures – and, of course, because it’s a team, there’s also the chance to cycle out characters if the actors decide that they want to take a break, and still keep the whole thing going. Everyone wins – If, by “everyone,” you mean “the studio.”

The Blackhawks
Another group, although this hook is somewhat weaker than the Challengers in someway; there’s no superhuman or supernatural element to the Blackhawks, but they almost don’t need one: They’re an international team of flying aces formed during WWII to fight the Nazis in the air. That’s pretty much all you need in terms of central concept in order to build a team around, but I’d be interested to see what producers could do if they followed the post-WWII set-up that surfaced in the 1980s, where the team essentially became adventurers for hire as the world was struggling to rebuild itself post-war. Who wouldn’t want to see a period piece about the rebuilding of society complete with intrigue and aerial fights?Add in a romance subplot and it’ll be Downton Abbey Plus.

Wonder Woman
…Okay, I’ll admit that Wonder Woman is as super-hero-y as it gets… But here’s the thing: It really doesn’t have to be. The core parts of the story are essentially fantasy and magical realism, and if you cut out any crime fighting and keep the story to one of Diana being raised on Paradise Island and then leaving it when she discovers the rest of the world, there’s a clear throughline for a movie to hang itself on… especially if you play up the Amazon world that she left. Re-positioning Wonder Woman as fantasy rather than superhero is something that may not please the purists, but it may allow moviemakers to finally get a handle on the character, something that has apparently escaped them so far. How long do we have to wait, dammit…?

I’m curious, now: What other DC Comics series should be made into movies that don’t feature superheroes centrally, but take place in the same shared universe as Superman, Batman, et al? Leave suggestions in the comments for those you’d happily pay money for.

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Comments

  • Tomfitz1

    Desolation Jones!!!!  :-)

  • Tomfitz1

    and Global Frequency. 

  • Jack Goodman

    Hitman. lol The first DC proper series I ever read. 

  • Lyle

    I dare someone to make a movie out of the Vertigo comic Testament. And, how about going a little comic (meaning funny), and doing Angel and the Ape or Inferior Five?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dglassman1 Doug Glassman

    Indeed. It was a travesty that the pilot didn’t get picked up.

  • Chris

    Rex the Wonder Dog

  • Sergio Martorelli

    Sebastian O.

  • CyndiB

    I don’t think it’s ever been established whether The Spirit takes place in the main DCU, but it is a DC property and I would love to see a Spirit movie that actually resembled the comics in any way.

  • http://twitter.com/BraintreeQuincy Ruth B.

    I’d like to see a Lois Lane film. It would just be a badass professional woman rising in her career as a journalist the year before Superman debuts in Metropolis. Her targets would be future Superman foes like Lex Luthor, Intergang, and Toyman. It would be “The Newsroom” meets “Alias.”

  • ahlhelm

    There already was a New Gods movie. It was called “Masters of the Universe.”

  • Patrick

    Gotham Central (though it would be better as a tv series).

  • Daredevil1964

    Somethimes I wish I was born at a point in the future when major and the lesser known characters have been already made into movies ;)

  • G Haworth80

    A GOOD Jonah Hex movie. lol

  • http://twitter.com/Arthurknight Michael J

    I’m still wondering how Wonder Woman is going to look on the big screen.Will she wear her classic swim suit like costume or will it be a hybrid of her outfit and Xena the Warrior princess?

  • http://twitter.com/ComicsNerdling Hector Lugo

    Personally, I like the idea of a Zach Snyder doing a WW movie, the first half of it a kick ass history of the Amazons,  with all the blood and war intact. As for the New Gods, I think Superman and Darkseid need to come to blows in the next Supes movie. Enough with the Lex Luthor and Zod crap already.

  • gerard

    Gotham Central would be interesting

  • Shamachu

    Suicide Squad, Secret Six, Night Force(Baron Winters), Sea Devils, Cave Carson

  • Tiberius

    Yeah, New Gods is superhero stuff. Orion, Big Barda and Mr. Miracle have all been JLA members. Darkseid was the bad guy for the JL relaunch. 

  • Dr Empirical

    Stanley and his Monster

  • Tehbrawler

    Does Bat Lash count as a superhero? I think with the Lone Ranger coming out, a movie about a pacifist cowboy would definitely draw crowds.

  • syvyn11

    Blackhawks are going to be featured on Arrow in the near future. 

  • Adgramaine

    Swamp Thing. Never was supposed to be a super hero. Bringing him back to the screen would be amazing, especially seeing how they treat him in the new 52!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=674043324 facebook-674043324

    I’m still hoping for a “New 52″ book of “The Daily Planet”, which could be a newsroom book similar in tone to “Gotham Central”.  Focus on the investigative news reporting, Lois and Jimmy getting into scrapes, etc.  It could be similar in tone to the “Front Line” minis that Marvel did during a few of their big crossovers the last few years (Civil War, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, etc.) and even expand the Daily Planet bullpen of characters (and, like “Gotham Central” doesn’t necessarily have to focus on the “Superman” stuff going on in Metropolis, but could focus on the seedier side of the city:  Rose and Thorn, Gangbuster, the Guardian, Agent Liberty, etc. could all have guest appearances as could the villains: the 100, the Intergang, etc.

  • Eltrandi

    Shade, the Changing Man – especially the Birth Pains storyline.  The Garden of Pain was such a cool concept

  • http://www.facebook.com/dfullam David Fullam

    Enemy Ace. Do it right and you could have a totally heart wrenching work.

  • Iam Fear

    How can you make a list like this and not have KAMANDI?
    It’s like a Kirby-fied crazier Planet Of The Apes!

  • Zor-El of Argo

     Agreed. Either as the comic was straight-up, or as a “Smallville-esque” means of showing Dick Grayson’s journey from Robin to Nightwing.

  • Zor-El of Argo

    Partner with Dreamworks and give us Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew!

  • Gddssboy

    Well said for the concept of a Wonder Woman movie! As for a non-super hero movie, easy….The Invisibles.

  • Mike

    I agree with the “better Jonah Hex” movie, which I finally saw recently. OK in parts, but overall, blah.

    Even better might be taking Guillermo Del Toro’s approach to “Dark” characters with Western characters–Jonah Hex, Bat Lash, Scalphunter, Johnny Thunder (the Western guy) and others.

    I’d also still like to see The Books of Magic made into a movie. I know it ended up in development hell, but I still think it could be fun.

    Also, how about a better “Hellblazer/Constantine” movie, this time as a British character…

  • Danbrown1985

    Sticking to DC, they could find a lot of potential in Chase, H-E-R-O (the 2004 series), or Aztek. They could easily take some interesting, less-super hero themed directions with the franchises while still remaining loyal to the core material.

  • Psyko Tek

    Fables?
    unwritten?
    books of magic? a real HELLBLAZER MOVIE?

  • Chuckamock

    I would like to see Mike Grell’s WARLORD adapted.  It has great film elements:  Smart ass hero, barely dressed men and women, dinosaurs, danger at every turn….

    And I would definately give a second vote to KAMANDI!!

  • demoncat_4

    besides finaly the new gods and wonder woman . would love to see warners try omac or in the vain of the expandables suicide squad

  • Peter

    Warlord
    Vigilante
    Kamandi
    The Question

  • Axehorn99

    New Gods would be awesome since Darkseid is supposedly in the JL movie. Also its odd how almost all of these were canceled at some point, but still hope they do it fourth world style (aka kirby original) and not fifth world (the final crisis one) or new 52 style

  • Lyle

    Since Kirby properties seem to be popular here, how about the Demon?

  • http://twitter.com/MC_Hepatitis_G Terry LaCaze

    Chase
    Lab Rats
    Secret Six/Suicide Squad (I know it’s kind of a cheat, but it a Non-SuperHEROic idea.)

  • Darth Bumbles

    Planetary please – Bruce Willis as Elijah Snow.

  • Capaware

    Captain Carrot! Oh wait, I guess that would still be considered “superhero”.

  • GordoftheNorth

    Kamandi would be amazing fun on the big-screen.

  • GordoftheNorth

    He has met Batman, but which Batman? Who knows.

  • Authority43310

    CW has plans for a Wonder Woman series called Amazon.Also a good Swamp Thing or a Demon film might be cool.

  • Unit_99

    DC: Amethyst, Hardware, Blue Bettle, Bat Lash, Resurrection Man, Lobo. Vertigo: 100 Bullets, Scalped, Faker, Young Liars, Silverfish, Incognegro.

  • Leonardo Nascimento

    I miss the images.

  • Bvirtue

    The Warlord.

  • Luke

    Gotham City Police Department!!!  Who wouldn’t watch that?  Also Swamp Thing.

  • Cole Odell

    Sad that a “non-superhero” list is comprised almost entirely of, um, superheroes–especially when DC has a long history of doing other genre comics. For instance, science fiction: before John Carter was thought to have failed (although I liked it just fine) I’d have said Adam Strange has a lot of film potential. I’d also love to see Kamandi, and Atomic Knights could be pretty cool.

    Some of DC’s war comics are possibilities as well: The War That Time Forgot; Sgt. Rock, G.I. Robot and Creature Commandos spring to mind. Stick the latter two on Dinosaur Island and you could have some real high concept fun–robots and monsters versus dinosaurs–in World War 2!

    As for westerns, you could put together a “Dark Universe” concept featuring all of DC’s characters from the era, including Hex, Cinnamon, Bat Lash, El Diablo, Nighthawk, etc.

  • JozefAL

     Well, it may have been, but DC doesn’t have the rights to “The Spirit” any longer (this was confirmed about a week before Christmas).  AND, the last movie was released while the property was at DC.

  • Martingray1@gmail.com

    Another vote here for Adam Strange and Night Force. Nathaniel Dusk could also be fun.

  • Mrnexx

    Not a movie, but Gotham Central needs to be a TV series.

  • !!NORM!!

    Another vote for Gotham Central as a TV series. Also Hitman would be a cool anti-hero movie, but might get confused with Game/Movie of same name. 100 Bullets would be a great TV series on a cable network. Planetary would also make a great trilogy, or the original character, which has been in development since the beginning of time – Doc Savage.  Also, the Question would make a pretty good TV series. Animal Man. The 1940’s Sandman. Gaiman’s Sandman. Kid Eternity. Phantom Stranger. Books of Magic. Madame Xanadu. and Fables, which might work better as a cable series.

  • Oneonly

    The War Time Forgot serial from the recent G.I. COMBAT comic series. Black Hawk Down meets Jurassic Park would make for on heck of a flick. 

  • http://twitter.com/richthigpen Rich Thigpen

    I’ve always thought Adam Strange would make a good movie–Indiana Jones in space!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BX2GKX2ISO2OATVKAW6CYXM47U Pee Bee

    I’m tempted to echo calls for almost all of the above, but instead I’ll write this urging DC folks to develop films and TV shows on this exact kind of list! 

  • Travybaby

    What a great synopsis of the movies that could be! I cannot fathom how the New Gods in particular has so far been overlooked–it has such incredible potential! It does have the “back door” connection to the super-heroics via Jimmy Olsen and Superman, but none of that has to be explored until a sequel, after the space opera setting has been clearly established. Lots of other great suggestions in this article, especially OMAC and Wonder Woman. What about The Warlord and the world of Skartaris, the Creeper, Camelot 3000, or Adam Strange? Also big screen-worthy for sure, with lots of potential!

  • Marcos Varsano

    I would really like to see a Hawkworld movie. It would be a sci-fi epic. 

  • http://twitter.com/EliasAlgorithm Elias Algorithm

    I’d rather DC didn’t try with New Gods. The Challs would be tough to screw up tho. They’d find a way, obviously, but they’re my odds on favorite for an adatation.

  • Jmo

    The Question. Would love to see a noir-y, conspiracy fest starring the Question.

  • Montemay

    Your commentary is spot on dude. With Wonderwoman I’m thinking “Clash of the Titans” meets “Haywire”. Did noone else watch that movie and think: Why is this actress not Wonderwoman?  

    Omac would also be a very cool high brow sci fi movie. A little creepy, because everyone in the audience would be thinking: “Yea, some of this could happen”.

    my two cents.

  • http://twitter.com/diarra_harris Diarra Harris

    PAPA MIDNIGHT

  • http://twitter.com/diarra_harris Diarra Harris

    How about any movie from any Vertigo title. It would be difficult to make them PG13

  • http://twitter.com/Dawnell_do Dawnell_do

    Kamandi

  • ollie

    pull the finger out and get preacher made.

  • http://twitter.com/Leigh201 Franklin

    Warlord, Birds of Prey (without any super-powers), and the Question are my choices.

    Gotham Central would make an excellent TV series.