Ever since it first hopped into the world of movies, Marvel has given the world some of the best superhero films of all time. From Blade to Avengers: Endgame, there’s plenty of films that have emerged from the studio that will be remembered for decades to come. With all of that said, would it be hard to believe that for every great movie Marvel has given the world the company has walked away from an equally great idea?
It’s true, and while it’s impossible to truly know if any of these amazing movie ideas that didn’t happen would’ve been as successful as classics such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Thor: Ragnarok, there’s certainly enough to make one think they had a decent shot. Whether it’s a famed director’s vision of a currently existing character or an idea that was birthed long before the MCU ever existed, Marvel’s left some potentially amazing films behind to fade away.
X-Men Origins: Magneto
It may be a bad look to kick things off with an X-Men Origins idea, especially considering the various missteps that happened in the development of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That said, the one consistent thing about the X-Men franchise is its inconsistency, so maybe another X-Men Origins movie would’ve knocked it out of the park. That feels like a strong possibility with Magneto involved, as the complicated villain has always been a fascinating character in Marvel continuity.
The story was set between 1939 and 1955, and would’ve featured Ian McKellen reprising his role via the de-aged CGI method used in X-Men: The Last Stand, and a younger actor would portray him in flashbacks. Charles Xavier would’ve came into the picture as a liberator at Magneto’s concentration camp, and the film would establish the two’s rivalry and the birth of the X-Men. The film never happened, but portions were said to have been used for X-Men: First Class.
Sam Raimi’s Thor
The year was 1991, and Sam Raimi had just finished filming Darkman. In search of a new project, Raimi teamed up with Marvel’s Stan Lee to attempt to pitch a Thor movie to 20th Century Fox. The two men were shot down by the studio, which said, as Sam Raimi recalled to THR, that “comic books don’t make good movies.”
Now, we have no idea what Sam Raimi and Stan Lee’s Thor movie would’ve been like, but let’s remember that Raimi was an integral part to the surge in Marvel’s success in the late ’90s. Had the director been able to do for Thor what he did for Spider-Man in 1999, the MCU might’ve gotten a much quicker start than it did, although we’re not sure who they would’ve found back then who’s been better than Chris Hemsworth.
Guillermo Del Toro’s Doctor Strange
Guillermo del Toro’s amazing cancelled projects could be an entirely separate article, as the famed director has had so many great ideas that never panned out for one reason or another. This includes his take on Doctor Strange which, get this, would’ve been penned by science fiction legend Neil Gaiman. Even if del Toro doesn’t have the best track record at getting around to passion projects, why would Marvel ever say no to that?
It’s probably because the two pitched the idea in 2007, a full year before Marvel would bring Iron Man to the big screen. That would’ve been too soon for the world to see whatever Neil Gaiman and Guillermo del Toro would concoct with their collaboration, but man, what could’ve been had they both been available a decade later. Of course, Marvel was deep into their planned layout for the MCU by that point, which likely would’ve compromised the original vision both men had.
In lieu of the recent news that had some fans excited this movie was actually happening, it’s worth mentioning that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 had a pretty great concept. Lots of ideas about what the next film would’ve been about have surfaced over the years, with folks like John Malkovich being teased as The Vulture, or Bruce Campbell’s character eventually being revealed to be the villain Mysterio.
Surprisingly, plans weren’t derailed when Tobey Maguire was thought unlikely to return, but they did fall through when Sam Raimi said he wasn’t interested in making any direct sequels following Spider-Man 3. The death of Spider-Man 4 effectively killed the 5th and 6th sequel, and a spinoff featuring Topher Grace’s Venom. So obviously the cancellation wasn’t all bad, and it did allow Sony to revitalize the franchise and freshen things up a bit.
Ask any devoted Marvel comics fan which hero hasn’t gotten a film that needs one, and Moon Knight will often top the list. It turns out James Gunn actually pitched a movie featuring him in 2017, but admitted outright he was far too busy with Guardians of the Galaxy to work on it. Since then he’s picked up The Suicide Squad as well, so we’re assuming a James Gunn Moon Knight project isn’t being announced in Phase 4.
The idea of a Moon Knight movie is intriguing, but it is a legitimate question whether or not Marvel will ever pursue it. After all, it’s no secret that there are a ton of similarities between the hero and DC’s Batman, who remains a cinematic powerhouse for DC even with Marvel’s popularity. Marvel wouldn’t want to look like it’s mimicking DC, especially in its current age of dominance in the superhero genre, which may be why this movie never happens.
Joe Carnahan’s Daredevil
Before Marvel ultimately rebooted Daredevil into an acclaimed television series, Joe Carnahan had an idea of how to bring the hero back from the embarrassing Daredevil feature that starred Ben Affleck. His vision? Set Daredevil in the ’70s and have Matt Murdock going up against Kingpin in a drama filled with violence and lots of blood. Carnahan dropped a sizzle reel for his vision on Twitter, and the world was impressed.
Fox, which still had the rights to Daredevil back then, wasn’t though, and ultimately Daredevil was rebooted at Marvel without Joe Carnahan’s plans being given a second thought. It’s a shame considering Carnahan’s vision included a trilogy set across three distinct periods of American culture, and were to be drenched in a style similar to the popular music trends of each respective era. It sounds like a great concept, but would it have been better than the three season Netflix series? We can’t say for sure.
Luckily, Marvel is still cranking out plenty of great movies that make the ones it has left behind more forgivable. Stick with CinemaBlend for updates on all of the upcoming ones, and the low down on what’s rumored for the future.