Are you getting tired of all the same old superheroes invading our movie theaters and taking over our TVs and streaming devices? Can you no longer keep your Tobey Maguire Spider-Man straight from your Andrew Garfield or Tom Holland? Has your soul been crushed and then pounded into a thin, snortable dust which went straight up noses of those clueless Warner Bros. execs. who made Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad? Do you long for something different, something new, something not Marvel, not DC, some comic book adaptation that has nothing to do with superheroes?
Well, then you should really be watching Walking Dead, Preacher, Wyonna Earp, and/or Outcast, four current TV shows which prove A. not all comic book adaptations involve superheroes and B. Marvel and DC do not have the exclusive on comic book adaptations.
What’s that you say? You’re more interested in hearing about non-DC/Marvel movies?
Just so happens, in April 2015 io9 ran a list called “All the Upcoming Comic Book Movies That Aren’t From DC or Marvel.” I thought it would be fun to revisit their list and offer updates on the 40 included films. I thought wrong; it was actually quite depressing. In the past 16 months, there has been nothing new to report for almost every film on their list, including that grand shared cinematic universe Sony is planning for Variant Comics properties Bloodshot and Harbinger. That’s either a result of the notoriously protracted development periods for Hollywood films or a consequence of trying to make waves in a post-I, Frankenstein/R.I.P.D./Kick Ass 2/Sin City: A Dame to Kill For world or both.
As such, the following are the updates I could find:
The movie of Charles Burns’ acclaimed coming-of-age horror comic (which was first published by Kitchen Sink, then Fantagraphics) was announced way back in 2005. David Fincher was attached to direct for a while, but it doesn’t seem to be on his to-do list — which is a shame, because he’d be perfect to make a movie about a bunch of teens in the ‘70s who contract an STD that gives then horrifying mutations.
UPDATE: Burns and director Rupert Sanders (yes, that Rupert Sanders) partnered on a short film adaptation as a proof-of-concept. Whether or not anything comes of this video remains to be seen:
The long, long, long awaited reboot of The Crow seems to have finally picked up some steam, now that Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston has been cast as the vengeful make-up enthusiast. But remember, lots of people have been cast as The Crow for the remake, including Bradley Cooper, Luke Evans, Tom Hiddleston, and more. Production is supposedly finally supposed to start this year, so we’ll see.
UPDATE: Out with Jack Huston and in with Jason Momoa, who is attached to star in this remake which is now looking at production start date somewhere around January 2017. However, Relativity is in charge, and considering their recent bankruptcy and ongoing legal troubles don’t hold your breath on this one until cast and crew are actually on set and filming.
Locke & Key
It’s been an IDW comic, a TV series and a movie, but it’s a testament to how good Joe Hill’s supernatural haunted house tale is that Locke & Key is still kicking around Hollywood. Right now, producer Alex Kurtzman has the rights and wants to make it a full movie trilogy for Universal, and the scripts are being worked on.
UPDATE: The films are dead. As of May 2016, they’ve switched their focus to pursuing a possible TV series, with Joe Hill penning the pilot himself and shopping it to anyone who’ll listen.
This one was announced after io9 published their list. The following is from SlashFilm’s May 2015 report:
20th Century Fox is developing a live-action adaptation of the Boom! Studios comic book Lumberjanes. Lumberjanes is a comic book first published last year, created by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis and Noelle Stevenson and illustrated by Brooke A. Allen. The story follows five Lumberjane Scouts at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types who find themselves battling supernatural forces over the summer. And for the music lovers out there, each issue ends with a track listing for a mixtape created by one of the principal characters. All right, that sounds pretty damn cool.
The comic book became a surprise hit after originally only being planned as an eight-part limited series. But after strong sales, critical acclaim, and nominations for two Eisner Awards (including Best New Series), the comic is now a full-fledged series.
Will Widger, who has been getting attention around Hollywood after making the Black List last year with a script called The Munchkin. That project is a noir thriller with flares of Chinatown that follows a little person detective who stumbles upon some conspiracies linked to The Wizard of Oz. It’s set up at Red Wagon and Paramount Pictures, but we haven’t heard anything about the project moving forward yet.
Fox executive Kira Goldberg liked Widger’s take on the comic book, and she and Ryan Jones are overseeing the project for the studio while Boom! Studios executives Ross Richie and Stephen Christy will also act as producers along with Adam Yoelin as co-producer. And it sounds like there’s going to be plenty of girl power on this project, because producers are already brainstorming female directors to be at the helm once the script is done.
UPDATE: Emily Carmichael landed the director’s gig a month ago. Who’s that? She was once on the Captain Marvel director’s shortlist. She’s already made a couple of short films, and is attached to write Pacific Rim 2 and director a Colin Trevorrow/Simon Kinberg joint called Powerhouse for Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.
Actually, io9 omitted this one from their list. Painkiller Jane is a Jimmy Palmiotti/Joe Quesada co-creation from the mid-90s detailing the R-rated adventures of a former cop who has since become indestructible. Think of her as Jessica Jones’ personality crossed with Deadpool’s self-healing ability. There’s already been a Painkiller Jane TV movie (in 2005) and short-lived series (in 2007), both of which aired on SyFy. At San Diego Comic-Con 2014, the Soska Sisters were announced as directors of a new live-action, R-Rated film adaptation based off of a script co-written by Palmiotti himself, and they were close to securing a lead actress. All seemed to be going smoothly enough that a 2016/2017 release date seemed possible, or so I thought.
UPDATE: There’s been a whole lotta nothin’ since then. Painkiller Jane has been backburnered, and thhe Soska Sisters have moved on to helming a remake of Cronenberg’s Rabid.
Creator Todd McFarlane says a remake is happening. He’s been saying it’s happening for more than a decade. Let’s move on.
UPDATE: At Dallas Fan-Expo in June (I was actually there meaning I heard this update in person), McFarlane explained an R-rated Spawn remake has a better shot of happening now thanks to Deadpool, but he insists on both writing and directing the remake. That might be a dealbreaker.
The Umbrella Academy
My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way made the jump to comics with this story about a dysfunctional collection of superheroes, who are raised together to fight a bizarre, unknown threat. The 2007 Dark Horse comic has always been well-regarded, although the movie has been kicking around Universal for quite some time. Still, Way said just last year that a new script is forthcoming.
UPDATE: Universal Cable Productions, responsible for shows such as 12 Monkeys and Mr. Robot, signed a first-look agreement with Dark Horse Entertainment in June 2015. As part of the deal, Universal will develop and produce scripted shows based on various Dark Horse titles, including Harrow County, Back Up, Concrete and, yes, The Umbrella Academy. Harrow County, about a girl who discovers on her 18th birthday that she is the reincarnation of a powerful witch, was the first to be put into production in December 2015. As of a month ago, Jeremy Slater (Fantastic Four) had been assigned writing duties on a potential Umbrella Academy series.
Incidentally, Universal Cable is also currently developing The Woods, Bushido and Good Neighbors for the small screen.
The following are supposedly in some stage of development, but don’t appear to have made much progress in the past 16 months (feel free to let me know if I missed any news updates): Abattoir, Archer & Armstrong, Area 52, Beasts of Burden, Bloodshot, Breath of Bones, Chickenshare, Chrononauts, Day Men, Descender, Elephantmen, Emily the Strange, The Foundation, Harbinger, Harbinger Wars, Insurrection, Jupiter’s Legacy, The Library, Lore, Malignant Man, Mind MGMT, MPH, Planentoid, Polar, Queen & Country, Rochester, Rust, Shadowman, Starlight, Superior, World War Robot, Wytches and Zombies Vs. Robots.
As of last week, the following are new, soon-to-be-released comics from indie upstart Vault Comics which Hitman: Agent 47 producer Adrian Askarieh and Silver Fox Entertainment’s F.J. DeSanto are said to be already developing for the screen: Fissure, Spiritus, Morning Star. Plus, they’re partnering on adaptations of Failsafe and Alien Bounty Hunter.
Conclusion: Don’t expect to see too many non-DC/Marvel superhero movies in the near or distant future. However, you might very well start seeing some pop up as TV shows.