We’ve all pretty much accepted the Disney/Marvel merger by now, which is a good thing. Especially since we now have to learn to accept the Disney/Lucasfilm merger on top of that. My brain is still processing that bit of news, so let’s get back to talking about Disney and Marvel. When it was first announced the internet as a collective group began to theorize and imagine just what could come about this momentous merger.
Obviously the first thoughts led to a dynamite Marvel movie produced by Pixar, which is another company under the huge Disney label, but as Pixar generally only works on original material the chances of that happening may be slim. I wouldn’t definitively say it would never happen, but chances are still slim. But with the announcement of Big Hero 6, the first Disney Animation/Marvel film,we see both studios take a leap from their respective comfort zones. Big Hero 6 is pretty much unknown to anyone but comic fans, and it certainly doesn’t fall in the realm of Disney’s generally family-friendly non-violent singing-animals structure. Obviously Disney doesn’t only produce that kind of film, which the choice of Big Hero 6 illustrates.
So this of course opened the floodgates of what other kind of Marvel characters would make a good fit for a Disney Animation production. I tried to keep in mind some of the licensing issues with certain characters, but may have thrown that out the window in certain cases. Eventually I arrived at a list of movies I not only thought fit well in the Disney mold, but possible movies I now really want to see made. Immediately.
Hawkeye & Black Widow
I’m slotting this film in with the belief that Marvel and Disney would draw from the already established Marvel Studios characters and choose to expand on that. I really dug both Hawkeye and Black Widow from The Avengers, and loved the history that was alluded to between the characters. We know both agents have worked together frequently in the past, but the movie doesn’t expand on this, which leaves it open for what could be a really awesome animated film.
Rewind a few years, and we see Agents Barton & Romanoff on one of their many missions that helps form their unique relationship that we see in The Avengers. Throw in some Hydra/A.I.M cannon fodder, an espionage based plot, some humorous camaraderie slowly developing into a love story, and some awesome animated action like we saw in the amazing Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes TV series and we have a movie. This fits nicely with the forbidden love theme Disney likes to use, while safely investing more time on the characters The Avengers brought to the spotlight.
Now Darkhawk is a bit of an odd choice, as he is at best a b-list hero in the Marvel U. Which is probably the biggest reason why I’ve always been a fan. His story is fairly simple, and would lend itself well to the Disney style of animated film-making. Chris Powell, a somewhat troubled youth reeling from a bad experience with his father finds a special amulet. This amulet bonds with him, enabling him to trade places with an android body that he can control, which he uses to fight crime and help keep his family and neighborhood safe.
Now not only did Darkhawk have one of the coolest looks of the early ’90s, he had a unique story and background that was equally at home amongst the stars or in Queens, New York. His story may act as a little wish fulfillment for the younger generation, because who doesn’t want to control an awesome robot that can fly and shoot darkforce beams out of his chest? I know I did as a child, and I probably still do, although I wouldn’t tell anybody. Except I just did…
Nova is a perfect example of a character who would really make a great animated film. Nova tells the story of the first human to join an intergalactic police force known as the Nova Corps (sound familiar?), and has been a mainstay of the Marvel U. since the early ’90s. The draw of Nova is how relatable the characters of both Richard Ryder and Sam Alexander are. Ryder was the first Nova and held the role until very recently, when Sam Alexander inherited the mantle. Either character would make a good film, but Marvel is hyping up Sam Alexander presently, so he is the likely choice.
And it’s a classic Disney story; a young man striving to reach his potential outside of his element, like Aladdin or even Pinocchio. With the cosmic setting being something Disney Animation doesn’t tackle often, it would definitely be a very visual movie, and some of the imagery that comes along with the Nova Corps would make one beautiful film. I’ve been a fan of Nova since he first appeared, so in my mind this movie can’t fail.
Power Man & Iron Fist
First of all, this would have to be the’70s version of the duo, because that is probably the grooviest partnership in any decade. The ultimate odd couple, Luke Cage (Power Man) and Danny Rand (Iron Fist) would easily make one of the funniest Disney couplings ever. Cage, a streetwise youth from Harlem, was experimented on and granted impenetrable skin and enhanced strength. Danny was raised in the mystical city of K’un L’un, and studied to become a master of martial arts enabling him to wield the power of the Iron Fist. The two formed a friendship that lasts to this day, as they are both premier members of the Avengers.
The ’70s version is the go to story to follow, because it wasn’t just a story of a black bruiser and a white martial artist rocking big collars and metal headbands. It told the story of two friends struggling to make a difference in their neighborhood, and doing what they could to improve the social consciousness of their city. They also loved to make money and were coined as Heroes for Hire. I think this would make a great premise for the film, as our two heroes determin where the line is drawn between making a profit and doing the right thing, while giving us a pretty hilarious buddy movie.
Now I know this may seem like a weird entry on to the list, but I am going to stand by it. Disney loves its princesses, and Wanda Maximoff AKA Scarlet Witch is the closest thing to princess the mutant race has. As the daughter of Magneto, Wanda could be considered mutant royalty. Her reality altering hex powers have always made her a formidable foe, and she has been an equal part of both the Avengers and the X-Men mythology for a long time.
I would focus the story on Wanda’s upbringing on Wundagore Mountain, and her training to control her developing mutant powers. Wanda started off as just a young girl unsure of who she was, raised amongst the gypsies who took her in while the magical energy of Wundagore Mountain influenced her. Mix in some genuine mystical beings and a dash of chaos magic, and the story turns into a bona fide Disney flick to match The Sword in the Stone or even The Little Mermaid.
This potential film seems like an absolute no-brainer. Marvel has been interested in bringing Black Panther to the cineplex for a while now, with nothing really taking shape. There have been rumors of his involvement with future Avengers films, but at this point it remains only rumors. It has been discussed how difficult it might be to properly bring the story of T’Challa, King of Wakanda to life on the big screen, but I think those hurdles make it a perfect candidate for the animated treatment.
We’ve been close a few times, with BET’s “animated series” (which was really just a motion comic) and the Ultimate Avengers 2 straight to DVD animated movie. While both of these were decent attempts, I think the story of Black Panther deserves a little bit more than what we’ve seen. Although his portrayal in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was pretty spot on. With the scientific jungles of Wakanda and the generational history of the Black Panther to draw from, this story of a prince inheriting his crown and his destined role in life mirror The Lion King, or even one of my personal favorites The Emperor’s New Groove… kind of.
There are a few Spider-Girl’s out there, but for the purpose of these films I will be talking about the most popular one, May Parker. May is the alternate future daughter of Peter and Mary Jane Parker, who takes over the webs when her inherited powers kick in. May never initially got the blessing of her father, who had suffered an injury and was forced to retire as Spider-Man earlier in his career. She proved herself as not only a worthy successor of the role, but the true daughter of both Peter and MJ, an odd synthesis of the two that made one hell of a character.
May’s story would make a perfect Disney film, and offer some really great visuals along with some relatable characters. It would make an interesting addition to the Spider-Man cinematic universe without stepping on the toes of any of the current movies as it is set in the future. The story options are endless, as Spider-Girl took its cue from any and all parts of the Spidey mythology. Plus I just really love May Parker, and would love to see her take on another form of media besides the comic book, which she has yet to do.
Namor the Sub Mariner is a character who is just begging to star in a movie. Known as the first mutant, Namor is the son of an Atlantean princess and a human boat captain, which sets him apart from pretty much every race on the planet. While he started out as a villain/anti-hero, Namor has been a member of the Invaders, the Avengers, the X-Men, and the secret council of heroes known as the Illuminati, as well as king of the underwater city of Atlantis.
We already know Disney can handle an underwater setting, and I would love to see Namor in all his glory as the King of Atlantis. While dealing with the ramifications of pollution and man’s effect on the oceans Namor calls home, we would also see the development of the royal arrogance Namor is famous for, while getting a glimpse of the lonely fishy inside of him. A live action movie about Namor has been in the works for a while, but much like Black Panther hasn’t really gained any steam yet.
The New Warriors was easily my favorite team of heroes as a kid, and despite them not really being active in the Marvel Universe anymore, I still think it would make a great animated movie. When the New Warriors debuted in 1989 they featured a team of young heroes that had mainly made appearances in other comics up until this point. The original lineup consisted of Night Thrasher, Speedball, Firestar, Marvel Boy (Justice), Namorita, and Nova, who was included in our list already. The team also grew to include members like Rage, Darkhawk (previously mentioned), Turbo, and a lot more characters in its 75 issue run (I’m not including some of the other volumes, which were less than stellar).
The team went through a lot of experiences that real world kids go through, only they did it with their team behind them in the crazy world of superheroes. It was a series that told some great stories and built up some great characters, while not being afraid to shy away from some key issues that were affecting teenagers in the ’90s. Start off with the Nova movie to breed some familiarity with the characters, and lead in easily to New Warriors to make a sensational series of animated movies. This is actually pretty unlikely, but as a lifelong New Warriors fan I would love to see this happen.
The Inhumans started off in the pages of the Fantastic Four as a race of powered beings separated from humanity and forced to evolve on their own. The Inhumans are led by a royal family with incredible powers, and the silent yet powerful Black Bolt is their king. Generally the Inhumans have to deal with the damage man is doing to the earth around them and humanity’s inability to accept them. They have
Arguably the most popular character in all of comic book lore is the Batman. Originally created as a darker alternative to Superman, he has actually come to surpass the Man of Steel over the last seven decades, and one of the biggest reasons why is the quality of villains he faces. None of those villains (or any villains anywhere) are more well known than the Joker. He is the perfect foil for Batman. Chaos over order, insanity over logic, fear created through unpredictability rather than intimidation. Even the Joker’s vibrant purple suit clashes with Batman’s dark attire and seems to mock the Caped Crusader with it’s flamboyance. The sickest part of it all though, is that without Batman, the Joker would cease to be. He is a character so ingrained in the rivalry, that Batman’s absence often increases Joker’s boredom and he simply stops playing the game. It does give the Dark Knight’s quest a real sense of hopelessness when you consider he might do just as much good by hanging it up as it would likely mean his greatest foe would do the same.
Now, after a year long absence in ‘New 52′, the Joker returns to Gotham in what is being made out to be quite the epic event. During this current “Death of the Family” storyline, ol’ Mr. J is reliving and updating some of his oldest crimes in an attempt to rid Bats of his allies so he and the caped crusader can play alone again. So while this carefully planned out rampage tortures Gotham City, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most memorable and defining moments in the Joker’s history. Things that helped shape him and his relationship with the Bat, and lead up to now. We of course being myself, Brian Kronner, and fellow Batfan Scott Fraser.
#20. Christmas with the Dents
(The Long Halloween, 1997)
In the midst of one of the greatest stories ever told about Gotham City (The Long Halloween), Bats is trying to track down the serial killer known as ‘Holiday’ and thus not showering the Joker with the attention he craves. Becoming invested in stopping Holiday to regain the eye of his rival, Joker pays a visit to District Attorney Harvey Dent at his home. Dent is not only investigating the Holiday killings, but has also become a popular suspect and the Joker wants to make sure to send a clear message; Gotham “isn’t big enough for two homicidal maniacs.” Joker leaves Harvey beaten and lying on the floor of his new home.
This sequence is important for a few reasons. First of all, this is before Dent became Two-Face and at this time completed a trio with Gordon and Batman as the three men who would fix Gotham City. This makes an attack on him akin to Joker attacking Alfred Pennyworth at Wayne Manor, or the Gordon’s in their home. Of course Dent would go on to become Batman’s 2nd best villain (behind only the Clown) and much of his heroic lineage would be forgotten. At this time though, Harvey Dent was a crusader and the Joker recognized that. It also gives a real look inside why the Joker is so unpredictable. He doesn’t care about money or power, only the game he plays with Batman, and all of his moves are towards the goal of continuing the game. - B. Kronner
#19. Joker Kills Donna Gugina
(All-Star Batman & Robin #8, 2008)
All Star Batman & Robin was not something that was universally accepted by fans, many feeling that Frank Miller’s writing portrayed too dark a version of the famous crime fighter and that it was only Jim Lee’s art that fueled sales. Through the 10 issue run, Joker only appears in #8, and then only on a couple pages despite being the subject of the book’s cover. What he does in his short appearance however proves to be substantial. Similar to early Harvey Dent, Donna Gugina is a lawyer in Gotham who is making a name for herself. As the issue opens, Donna and the Joker have just finished some adult activities at a seedy motel when the Joker informs her that important people will miss her, and proceeds to strangle her to death with his tie.
We never see his plan come to fruition concerning Donna because the series ended after only 10 issues, but the brutality and emotionless way he carries out the act left a resounding impact on readers. - B. Kronner
#18. Joker Cuts Off His Face
(Detective Comics v2 #1, 2011)
When DC Comics decided to reboot every series they had and release 52 brand new #1′s, there was a bit of a question as to where that would leave some of our favorite heroes and villains. While some characters underwent serious changes to their histories, others made it through the reboot relatively untouched. The Batman line of characters is one of those that made it through with only a compressed timeline to worry about, so that should mean that the Joker’s story should be no different, right? Well, unfortunately, despite a huge buildup to the first issue of Detective Comics that featured Joker on the cover, fans were made to wait as the crazy clown made his first, and last, appearance in the New 52.
As Joker continues his murderous spree, he engages the Batman yet again in one of their ongoing feuds. After the battle he is sent away to Arkham Asylum, where the Dollmaker is waiting to perform a very special procedure. The Joker escapes Arkham, leaving behind his face pinned to the wall and disappearing from the New 52 for over a year. This moment not only left us wanting more of this ultra violent Joker, but let us know that while the rest of the DC Universe might be changing, the Joker was still the same sick, depraved, psychopathic clown he had always been. And in the year that he was missing, I think it’s safe to say no other character’s return to the New 52 was as highly anticipated as the Joker’s, and for good reason. - S. Fraser
#17. Removing the Red Hood
(The Killing Joke, 1988)
This scene, which included perhaps the most iconic image of the Joker ever, is an important one. Alan Moore’s 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke is the most accepted origin story we have. Almost 25 years after it came out, it’s still looked upon as the closest we will ever get to seeing the Joker become who he is. A failed comedian with a murdered family, forced into criminal service. After being dropped into a vat of chemicals, he washes out with the waste and removes his Red Hood to reveal his reflection in the water, and he snaps.
This is the exact moment when the Joker becomes The Joker. A mental snap forced an already unstable individual past the breaking point and triggers a career of crime fuel by homicidal atrocities. This is where the Batman’s greatest adversary was born. - B. Kronner
#16. Jack Nicholson’s Joker
There are more than a few great Joker moments from Tim Burton’s Batman, and rather than making multiple entries I figure it’s best to just cover them all at once. Jack Nicholson was the first actor to tackle the role of the Joker since the 60′s featured mustachioed Cesar Romero in the role that helped define that era’s Joker. What Nicholson managed to do was bridge the gap between the campy clownster and the psychotic criminal that was currently being portrayed in the comics. His great performance as the Clown Prince of Grime gave the film a hint of disbelief while rooting it all in a realistic world, two opposing traits that combined to make a perfect setting for the Joker.
One of the key moments in Batman was of course the origin of the Joker, which was taken in part from an earlier entry on our list. The revelation of the transformation from Jack Napier to the Joker may have happened off screen, but it was a key moment in the movie and gave us a fitting nemesis for Keaton’s Batman. Also telling the history of the character gave us a truly epic and memorable line delivered by a young Napier to an even younger Bruce Wayne; “Ever Dance with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight?”. These are all great examples, however the shining moment for me stands out when Joker is staking his claim as the new leader of Gotham’s organized crime families.
The delivery of his lines, combined with the joy buzzer death of the opposition set to the haunting laugh that Nicholson perfected for the role clearly make it one of the greatest Joker moments ever. – S. Fraser
That’s a pretty great start to our list of the Greatest Joker Moments Ever, and you just know they are going to keep getting better and better. We’ve really only scratched the surface, and have a ton of great moments left to cover, so I know you’ll be back next time as we continue our look at one of our favorite villains in all of comics.
Sorry, we couldn’t resist.
Read: Geek’s 20 Greatest Joker Moments Ever, Part II
Read: Geek’s 20 Greatest Joker Moments Ever, Part III
even spent time in space amongst aliens, lived on the moon, and some of them have even been members of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and the Illuminati.
This is yet another series that has had a long standing movie/TV adaptation in the works. The Inhumans home city of Attilan would make an excellent setting for a film, and offer some unique visuals much like Atlantis: The Lost Empire. While it could touch on some of the usual themes involved with the Inhumans like their exile from humanity or the damage of pollution, I think it would be simpler to follow a human character who has found his way into Attilan and meets the Inhumans for the first time, adding a nice mix of culture shock and introducing the mainstream audience to some great characters.
And that wraps up our list of potentially amazing Marvel and Disney animated films. And by our list I clearly mean mine, because after I finished putting it together I realized it was basically a bunch of fan service for myself. I’m oddly fine with that.
What do you think? Would you be interested in seeing any of these movies? Have some of your own you’d like to see? Let us know in the comments section!