Villains. The yang to our heroes’ ying, the omega to their alpha, the fly in their ointment. Over the years, we have seen some of the greatest comic-book foes brought to the screen to do battle against their respective do-gooder nemeses. With varying degrees of success: for every Heath Ledger Joker there is a Tommy Lee Jones Two-Face, for every Alfred Molina Doc Ock there is — wait for it — a Topher Grace Venom. Oh no we didn’t.
The very same Symbiote villain-cum-antihero comes to the screen once again this October, only this time in his own standalone film, and played by Tom Hardy. If successful, Venom could open the floodgates for more just like it. Disregarding those with a film currently in development (Joker, Birds of Prey, Morbius The Living Vampire, to name a few) or that are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe/Worlds of DC already, here are six supervillains crying out for a standalone film.
How we haven’t seen Brainiac on the big-screen yet is criminal. He’s one of the Man of Steel’s greatest threats and the bad guy current Superman Henry Cavill wants to see Supes go up against more than any other. The character has appeared on the small screen and was almost brought to the big screen in Tim Burton’s cancelled Superman Lives back in 1998 but has always been too “out there” as a concept. There is a huge amount of scope for the character based on the cyborg’s storylines in the comics, and while his more “outer-world” characteristics might be a little out of whack with the grounded nature of the newly-named Worlds of DC, there’s a compelling story to be told. Especially when Brainiac shrinks and steals the planet Krypton, and in his links to Supergirl (her film is in development) and Superman.
Here’s a theory for you: what if Galactus, one of Marvel’s best-loved villains in their trove of comic-book bad guys, has been in the MCU all along? Confused? Well, stay with us. YouTube channel The Cosmic Wonder recently created a theory video suggesting that the villain may be trapped inside the Power Stone without any of us even knowing. See, Galactus was formerly a mortal man named Galan who lived on Taa, a planet which existed prior to the Big Bang and the birth of the universe and the Infinity Stones. There’s a rich story behind Galan, the pre-Big Bang existence and his transformation into Galactus. He’s ripe for a solo film that could seamlessly tie itself into the MCU. In fact, such is the expanded cosmos, it’s not a stretch at all to suggest that the Guardians or Thor could cross paths which such a being. Plus, we need to erase his “appearance” in 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer forever.
Kraven The Hunter
We were agonisingly close to seeing this legendary character in the MCU before now. Ryan Coogler almost had him in Black Panther and Sony were going to feature him as part of the now-defunct Sinister Six film (his spear appears in the end credits of The Amazing Spider-Man 2). So why not bring him in now? First unleashed in 1964 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Kraven is one of the Spider-Man’s most formidable foes throughout the comics (he also took on The Avengers and was part of the Sinister Six). He consumes a serum to enhance himself and slow down ageing. His quest for power could add a new dimension to the MCU, especially if a film explored his past and, as a strand in the comics goes, included a fight with another villain: a certain Venom.
“Could be worse — my nose could be gushing blood,” exclaims prospective Mayor of Gotham Oswald Cobblepot before he bites the nose of a dickish PR campaigner. You see, Tim Burton’s Batman Returns was a little darker than previous incarnations, which led to Joel Schumacher taking the Bat-reins and, well, you know the rest.
In the comics, Oswald is a Gotham mobster who was bullied as a child due to his stature and beak-like nose. He would later become one of Batman’s smartest and most formidable foes — and he is primed for a return. Rumours have abounded over the years, with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and Josh Gad being linked to the role. But we are still waiting for The Penguin’s standalone venture to emerge. The waddling supervillain’s story lends itself to a great mob/cop thriller, as demonstrated in TV’s Gotham, and with the Worlds of DC needing something of a kickstart across the board, perhaps Mr. Cobblepot could provide fodder for a fresh, unique film for fans.
With the news that Disney is close to completing its deal to purchase 20th Century Fox, fans are already getting excited by the idea of potential crossovers and reboots. One villain who could be in line for his own movie is Dr Victor Von Doom, archenemy of the Fantastic Four. Having also had run-ins with Iron Man and Black Panther, amongst others, his true potential has yet to be explored, despite three “official” films to date. Is there scope for an origin story that threads nicely into the MCU? Fargo showrunner and Legion writer Noah Hawley has already spoken about a Doom film but it seems, due to the merger, his take is on hold for now. Speaking to The Observer earlier this year, Hawley described his version as a “political thriller” that would help establish whether Doom was a hero or a villain. In that respect, then, similar to Venom?
Yes, yes. We are perfectly aware that X-Men: Dark Phoenix is on the horizon. The movie will, for the second time on film, tells the metamorphosis of Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) into Phoenix. However, like in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, the saga will be presented in a truncated form in the film and may not do justice to the series so, with the Fox/Disney merger on the horizon, could we soon see the full Jean Grey saga as a standalone film — or even series? Through Grey discovering her powers, channelling them with the help of Professor X and then her corruption by her vast abilities, there is huge potential for a mini-saga that could find its way into the MCU and a new version of the X-Men. Who wouldn’t pay to see the X-Men and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes taking on Phoenix in a future film? We certainly would!
Venom hits screens in the UK on October 3rd and in the US on October 5th.