Normally, comic book movies feature the heroes as the protagonists. However, that’s about to change with this summer’s Suicide Squad, the first major CBM to be told from the villains’ perspective. Antagonists such as Deadshot, Harley Quinn and The Joker headline this movie, with writer-director David Ayer proclaiming that it’s time for “Bad vs. Evil.”
Assuming that Suicide Squad is a success, it wouldn’t be surprising for studios to make more supervillain-centric films. Both Marvel and DC Comics have plenty of strong, compelling villains, some of which can easily headline their own movies. It would be another way to keep the CBM genre fresh and exciting.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of ten supervillain-led movies that I would like to see happen.
Dwayne Johnson is set to play villain/anti-hero Black Adam in 2019’s Shazam, fulfilling a longtime dream of the wrestler-turned-actor. Considering The Rock’s star power, Warner Bros. should absolutely utilize Johnson as much as possible in the DC Extended Universe. One way this can happen is to give Black Adam his own solo film.
Depending on his role in Shazam, a Black Adam movie could fully explore the character’s origin story. Or, it could depict his evolution from villain to anti-hero. Either way, a Black Adam film could be a big hit, given Johnson’s popularity and the possible demand for more supervillain movies.
Magneto has been a key character in the X-Men series. Michael Fassbender plays him in the First Class trilogy, and despite Apocalypse being the last movie on his contract, he has expressed interest in doing more. While Magneto could always return for future X-Men sequels, I would love to see the character go solo in his own movie.
Funnily enough, Fox previously had in development X-Men Origins: Magneto. While many elements of that script were incorporated into First Class, it shows that the studio was, perhaps still is, interested in a solo Magneto production.
A film exploring Erik Lensherr apart from Charles Xavier and the X-Men could be fascinating. Remember his quest for vengeance against for Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class, particularly the “Frankenstein’s Monster” scene? More of that, please. A personal, smaller-in-scale film would be great for Magneto. Maybe such a movie could focus on the formation of the Brotherhood of Mutants. If studios develop more comic book movies from the perspective of a villain or anti-hero, Magneto would be an obvious option.
Slade Wilson is one of DC Comics’ finest antagonists. The character has recently gained more mainstream exposure with the Batman: Arkham Origins video game and the Arrow television show. With the DC Extended Universe coming in, Deathstroke’s big screen debut is imminent. Scott Eastwood is rumored to be playing Wilson in Suicide Squad, setting up a larger role in the DCEU.
Regardless of who plays Deathstroke, a solo movie would be awesome. Slade Wilson is a brutal, badass character who has more than enough solo potential. A film could explore anything from Slade’s family and H.I.V.E. to confrontations with heroes, such as Green Arrow and the Teen Titans.
If the DCEU was to include some smaller, lower budget movies, then Deathstroke would be the way to go. This has potential to be an exciting, unique addition to the CBM genre, and it will put a stronger spotlight on one of DC’s more memorable villains.
One of the greatest villains in comic book lore is Doctor Doom, the main antagonist of the Fantastic Four. Unfortunately, the character has been treated poorly in his three big screen portrayals. The first two Fantastic Four movies’ take on Doom was underwhelming at best, and don’t get me started at Fant4stic’s pathetic attempt. Hopefully, whenever Doom appears in a movie again – whether in another Fox-produced Fantastic Four or in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – he will be given the love and care that he deserves.
One way this can be done is to make a movie told from Doom’s perspective. Explore his leadership of Latveria and focus on that untouched portion of the Fantastic Four mythos. Show how intimidating and ruthless Doom is. If they can get that right, then any memory of his other three film incarnations will be wiped away forever.
Of course, this type of Doom can be depicted in a new Fantastic Four film, if one were to ever happen. But I would love to see the character go solo – that is, if he can be interesting enough to justify it.
Another iconic villain in DC lore is Sinestro, a longtime adversary of the Green Lantern Corps. A former Green Lantern himself, Thaal Sinestro was expelled for abusing his power. He went on to form his own group, the Sinestro Corps. The character was previously in 2011’s Green Lantern film, and while that movie was mediocre, Sinestro was the best part.
The Green Lantern Corps will return in 2020, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Sinestro was adapted again in that film. However, I would love to see him in his own standalone movie. Focus on his fall from grace and his rise as a villain. Maybe depict his formation of the Sinestro Corps too, leading to a “Sinestro Corps War” adaptation in a Green Lantern sequel.
A Sinestro movie has potential to be very interesting, unique and engrossing. Sinestro’s story is a great one, and one that deserves to be properly adapted to the big screen. Additionally, Sinestro currently has a solo ongoing comic, so the precedence is there.
One of Spider-Man’s greatest enemies is Venom, a symbiotic foe that has taken many hosts. Sony Pictures has been trying to make a Venom movie for years. Most recently, it was set to be an Amazing Spider-Man spin-off, with Alex Kurtzman attached to direct. However, with the Amazing Spider-Man series cancelled and a reboot in the works, it looks like Venom isn’t happening anymore. But, it would be great to see Venom headline his own film someday.
Which host of the Venom symbiote should star in such a film? While I’d love to see a proper version of Eddie Brock on the big screen, I think Flash Thompson, aka Agent Venom, has the most potential as a solo character. Thompson is the current host of the symbiote in the comics and he has gone on to join teams such as the Secret Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
I think an Agent Venom movie would be a unique way to bring the villain/anti-hero to the big screen. It would make Flash Thompson a more significant character than “generic high school bully,” while his military connections would add something new to the Spider-Man franchise. And, let’s face it, the Agent Venom suit looks too cool.
Ra’s al Ghul
Batman has the best rogues gallery in comic book history, and one of the most interesting members is Ra’s al Ghul. The leader of the League of Assassins, Ra’s can live for centuries thanks to the Lazarus Pit. Ra’s and the League played huge roles in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, and hopefully, they’ll appear again in the DC Extended Universe. However, instead of another Batman movie, I’d love to see Ra’s get his own film.
The League’s mythos is vast and expansive enough to be covered in a non-Batman centric film. It can explore the family of Ra’s, while it can explore an earlier time in his life. Heck, you can even make it a period piece, given how old Ra’s is. And, of course, the Lazarus Pit is a must, as that was missing from The Dark Knight Trilogy’s iteration.
So overall, a Ra’s al Ghul standalone movie has an awful lot of potential. It can explore a part of the Batman mythos that hasn’t been depicted yet, to the point where the character’s adventures expand far beyond Batman. Fingers crossed that Warner Bros. will realize the potential here.
Another planned Amazing Spider-Man spin-off was Sinister Six, which would star the iconic supervillain team. Drew Goddard wrote the script and was on board to direct. But, again, Sony’s deal with Marvel Studios put a stop to development…for now.
Spider-Man has one of the greatest rogues galleries in comic book history; only Batman’s can rival it. So, a film dedicated to some of these villains could be very cool. But it has to be done right. For example, the villains in the Amazing Spider-Man franchise were not very good. Lizard was forgettable, Rhino was awful, Electro was uninteresting, and “Green Goblin”…ugh.
However, if the villains in a Marvel-produced Spider-Man series are good, then Sinister Six sounds like an interesting idea. Create a film focused on the assembly of this team, and in a Spider-Man sequel, have the group fight Peter Parker in an epic battle. Exploring Spidey’s rogues gallery would be an ideal option to studios wanting to explore supervillains. Again, though, these characters have to be interesting enough to warrant their own movie.
Marvel Studios doesn’t have the best track record with villains. However, inarguably the best one to date is Loki, an adversary of Thor and the Avengers. Loki has garnered a huge following over the past few years, one that most comic book villains can only dream of. So, it wouldn’t be shocking to see a solo Loki movie at some point.
Loki will return in next year’s Thor: Ragnarok, and he is expected to appear in the two-part Avengers: Infinity War. Depending on where his character is at afterwards, maybe we can see him on a journey apart from the heroes. A redemption story, perhaps? There’s also the “Loki: Agent of Asgard” comic book published in 2014, so the character has precedence for going solo.
In summary, a Loki movie would be a financially successful installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, given his popularity. Will Marvel exploit that popularity with a spin-off film? We shall see.
And we are ending this list with arguably THE greatest comic book villain of all time. Yes, I believe that Batman’s archnemesis is capable of headlining his own film. Joker will appear in Suicide Squad, played by Jared Leto. He is also expected to appear in Ben Affleck’s solo Batman movie.
However, a film chronicling Joker’s descent into madness would be a fascinating watch. It can draw influence from The Killing Joke, and more interestingly, it can tell the character’s origin story. Or, given his long history with Batman, we could see another story with a pre-Suicide Squad Joker. Maybe explaining how he got his tattoos and metal teeth?
In conclusion, a Joker movie would be an exciting, if not obvious, option for another supervillain-led film. There are many stories you can tell with this Joker, whether it’s before he meets Batman or right around the time we see him in Suicide Squad. There’s some serious potential there, and perhaps Warner Bros. will consider that.
Which comic book villain would you like to see star in his or her own movie?