It's hard to believe that back in 2010, the Avengers hadn't yet assembled, The Dark Knight Trilogy was still playing out, and the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises were in disarray thanks to Fox and Sony's efforts to keep up with Marvel Studios. While superhero movies pretty much took the year off in 2020, the previous decade was an exciting, amazing time for the genre.
Things have changed massively over the past ten years, of course, but as this genre has continued to grow exponentially, there are many movies that have never seen the light the day. Some sounded truly terrible, while others could very well have been remembered as being among the best Marvel or DC Comics adaptations of all-time.
Here, we take a look at 15 projects which didn't happen over the last decade, and delve into why they were ultimately scrapped.
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15. X-Men/Fantastic Four/Daredevil/Deadpool Crossover
Details on this one only recently came to light, but back in 2010, the writing team of Zack Stentz and Ashley Edward Miller were hired by Fox to pen a team-up movie featuring all of Fox's Marvel characters. That means we would have seen the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, and Daredevil all sharing the screen at the same time!
The movie would have beaten Captain America: Civil War to the punch by several years by revolving around the Superhuman Registration Act and a conflict which would have seen these iconic heroes squaring off with each other.
Comic book writer Warren Ellis took a pass at the script and Bourne director Paul Greengrass was offered the chance to take the helm of this ambitious sounding project. Unfortunately, scheduling issues meant that it didn't happen and, ultimately, it seems this ended up on the backburner.
14. The Runaways
ended after just three seasons on Hulu now that Kevin Feige is in charge of Marvel's small screen efforts along with the big ones, but it was originally going to be a movie.
The comic book writer who created the team, Brian K. Vaughan, was initially hired to write the screenplay and in April 2010, Peter Sollett agreed to direct and Iron Man 3 writer Drew Pearce took another crack at that script. However, it was just over a year later that the project was shelved as Marvel Studios instead focused on The Avengers.
While a "Phase 3" release sounded possible for a time, Feige clearly wasn't that interested in this young team of heroes, hence why Jeph Loeb ended up bring them to television instead.
13. Sinister Six
Before The Amazing Spider-Man 2
effectively killed that iteration of the wall-cralwer's franchise, the plan was for Drew Goddard to take the helm of a Sinister Six
spinoff. The groundwork for that was awkwardly laid in the final few minutes of that divisive sequel, and the spinoff would have seen the hero forced to work with this team of villains.
A giant-sized Sandman and a returning Norman Osborn were all expected to factor into Sinister Six, but beyond that, we don't really know what it would have entailed.
With Sony Pictures turning to Marvel Studios for help with Spider-Man, the movie was scrapped, but rumours have persisted that it could end up being resurrected in some way. For a time, it was even rumoured that Goddard was going to take the helm of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Now, we may see an interdimensional Sinister Six in Spider-Man 3 this December.
12. The Batman
Following The Batman
proved to be a frustrating experience for fans as Ben Affleck very much had an on-again, off-again relationship with the project he was once set to direct after penning the screenplay with comic book writer Geoff Johns.
Firm plot details were never really revealed, but Arkham Asylum was once rumoured to be the primary setting, while Joe Manganiello was later cast as the villainous Deathstroke. It's thought that he was going to target the Caped Crusader while under the employ of a revenge hungry Lex Luthor, but as the DC Extended Universe started to crumble, it's no wonder that didn't happen.
Affleck would ultimately hand over the reigns to Matt Reeves before stepping down as Batman. Now, Robert Pattinson is playing the Dark Knight in a reboot for the franchise.
After Channing Tatum expressed his interest in playing Gambit, longtime X-Men
producer Lauren Shuler Donner wasted no time at all in signing up him to play this fan-favourite mutant.
Unfortunately, there wasn't really a movie in place and after multiple rewrites and the loss of a number of directors due to "creative differences," it quickly began to become clear that Gambit wasn't happening (Tatum even dropped out at one point, but that was believed to be a negotiating tactic so he could earn more money for starring in the movie).
Just as it finally looked like it could become a reality - Fox even set a 2020 release date - the Disney/Fox merger happened and this one was scrapped once and for all. However, seeing as no one ever seemed to really want it, it's fair to say that fans weren't exactly disappointed.
10. The Incredible Hulk 2
By the time The Incredible Hulk
reached theaters, it was clear that Edward Norton would never be convinced to reprise the role of Bruce Banner in the still very young Marvel Cinematic Universe.
There were once plans for a sequel, though, and Tim Blake Nelson recently revealed that his character would have adopted The Leader mantle in the follow-up. It then sounded like the Jade Giant would return in another solo outing after The Avengers, but Disney's acquisition of Marvel Studios meant that playing nice with Universal Pictures - who hold the distribution rights - was off the table.
As a result, The Hulk has become a supporting player in The Avengers and Thor franchises. On the plus side, his cousin, Jennifer Walters, will take centre stage in She-Hulk on Disney+.
will likely be remembered as one of the worst things Marvel (well, their TV division) has ever done, and while Jeph Loeb dropped the ball with these characters in a huge way, it was actually Kevin Feige who decided against bringing them to the big screen.
Compared to Game of Thrones, it sounded like it would be every bit as good as the other Marvel Studios movies, but Feige was being pushed into making it because Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac Perlmutter wanted to replace the X-Men and Fantastic Four with Inhumans in the comic books, a strategy which proved to be a complete and utter failure.
As we mentioned, the TV show ended up flopping and now rumours are still swirling that Feige could reboot the characters for the Ms. Marvel series that's heading to Disney+.
was released in 2018 to a mixed response but it was originally going to take on a very different form, and that movie obviously wasn't released. A Venom/Carnage
movie went through a number of filmmakers and iterations and eventually became a tie-in to The Amazing Spider-Man
Alex Kurtzman was set to direct and produce as part of a "brain trust" which also included Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, Roberto Orci, and Ed Solomon. However, the wall-crawler's franchise fell apart and Sony Pictures ended up going back to the drawing board, hence why the movie - which had become known as "Venom Carnage" - didn't wind up happening.
Later, Sony would re-vamp the character the version we ended up seeing in 2018, but it's hard not to wonder what might have been had this earlier iteration arrived in theaters.
7. Fantastic Four 2
Believe it or not, Fox was so confident in Josh Trank's vision for Fantastic Four
that they scheduled a sequel for 2017 before the first movie even came out! The filmmaker's plans were heavily changed by producer Simon Kinberg and he wrote and directed reshoots which turned the reboot into a total mess. Needless to say, that follow-up never happened!
However, there was a time when Fox considered moving forward with a sequel that would have used the same cast and tone, but the abysmal box office performance and reviews closed the door on that for good (as did the fact that no one involved seemed to want to return).
Rumour has it that both Galactus and the Silver Surfer were meant to appear in a post-credits scene in order to set the stage for that sequel, but they were removed for budgetary reasons and Fox then scrambled to take the series in a different direction with either a Doctor Doom movie or a Fantastic Four film that would have taken place from the point of view of their kids.
When Warner Bros. decided to unveil its full DC Films slate during an investor's call, pretty much everyone was surprised to see that Cyborg
was slated for a 2019 release.
After all, as great as Victor Stone may be as part of the Justice League, he's not exactly a character it's easy to imagine holding his own in a solo outing, and with no writer or director attached, no one was really surprised as the years passed and Cyborg failed to become a reality.
The hero has since been used on television as part of the Doom Patrol cast, and there don't appear to be any big screen plans for the fan-favourite superhero moving forward. He's already been dropped from The Flash, and given Ray Fisher's issues with Warner Bros., he's likely done with the role.
was a bold move on Fox's part as it took the commercially successful PG-13 Wolverine and threw him into an R-Rated setting for a movie that ultimately proved to be a critical and financial hit (there was even talk of it being a favourite for "Best Picture" at the Oscars at one point).
By the time the credits rolled, Hugh Jackman's time as Wolverine had reached its end, but the door had been left open for a spinoff revolving around Dafne Keen's Laura/X-23.
Director James Mangold was expected to start work on that shortly after finishing Ford v Ferrari, but while he was hard at work on that biopic, the Disney/Fox merger happened and it quickly became clear that exploring this version of the character wouldn't be happening once the X-Men franchise was rebooted by Marvel Studios.
4. The Amazing Spider-Man 3/4
Clearly confident that The Amazing Spider-Man 2
would be a huge success, Sony Pictures ended up spending way too much money on the sequel and their profit margin was pretty much "Nil" as a result.
Before that flopped and Andrew Garfield offended Sony bosses by failing to attend a dinner in Japan, two more movies in the franchise were dated and while Sinister Six changed plans somewhat, it's clear that there were big plans for the wall-crawler on the big screen moving forward.
The Amazing Spider-Man 3 was going to deal with some sort of magical resurrection potion that woukd have brought the likes of Gwen Stacy, Norman Osborn, and Captain Stacy back from the dead, and, honestly, it would have been worth watching just to see how much worse things could get!
3. Doctor Doom
With interest in the Fantastic Four was at an all-time low thanks to that abysmal 2015 reboot, Fox decided to enlist Legion
showrunner Noah Hawley to take charge of an origin story for Doctor Doom.
On paper, it sounded like a great idea (even if Doom is at his best when he's battling the team of heroes) and it's been revealed that the action would have kicked off with the dictator putting a dome over Latveria before inviting a female journalist to be his voice in the world. Despite not having superpowers, it's likely she would have worked to take Doom down from the inside.
Hawley met with Kevin Feige after the Disney/Fox merger killed the project, but it doesn't sound like this movie featuring the iconic villain is going to become a reality despite rumours of a Disney+ series. On the plus side, we are getting a Fantastic Four reboot courtesy of Jon Watts!
2. Silver & Black
Despite teaming up with Marvel Studios for the critically acclaimed Spider-Man: Homecoming
, Sony Pictures was still determined to launch a number of spinoffs, including a female-led movie revolving around popular supporting characters Black Cat and Silver Sable.
Gina Prince-Bythewood signed up to helm the tentatively titled Silver & Black, and while production was going to kick off in March 2018, scripting issue resulted in an "indefinite" delay.
That led to it losing its February 8th, 2019 release date, and it was later revealed that the movie had been cancelled and that the two heroes would instead receive their own solo outings. Prince-Bythewood will reportedly produce both of those, but there have been no updates for a long time now so they've either been scrapped or simply aren't a priority for Sony Pictures right now.
1. Gotham City Sirens
When critics and moviegoers rejected Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
's dark tone, Warner Bros. panicked and ordered Suicide Squad
reshoots which completely changed the feel of the movie.
While it would go on to be a box office success, the DC Comics adaptation received a mauling and so it was no real surprise when plans for David Ayer to take the helm of Gotham City Sirens fell by the wayside. We don't really know how far along this one got, but it was set to put the spotlight on Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn.
With Ayer moving on from the DC Extended Universe, a female-focused (both behind and in front of the camera) Birds of Prey movie became a priority and this project is more than likely dead.