Over a week ago, a report surfaced claiming that DC Entertainment’s big announcement for 2014 is a plan to release two low budget movie adaptations (likely within the $20-40M range) a year. Among the titles that were mentioned were Suicide Squad, Deathstroke, and Booster Gold. A couple of those are included in the following list, suggesting which characters could headline their own lower budget films.
Dick Grayson/Nightwing will make his big screen debut in 2015’s Batman vs. Superman, but a solo film starring the former Robin would be an interesting and ideal way to go afterwards. Especially since this likely won’t be focused on much in the Zack Snyder-directed film, perhaps a spin-off could focus on Grayson’s transition from Robin to Nightwing, as well as how and why he became estranged from the Caped Crusader? A Nightwing movie can easily be done with a smaller budget, and it can expand the new cinematic take on Batman’s world without the Dark Knight being the focus.
Slade Wilson was specifically mentioned as a character who could star in a low budget DC movie. Deathstroke is an interesting character who could hold his own film, even if he is normally used as a villain. The only letdown would be the unlikelihood of its being connected to Arrow. Manu Bennett plays Wilson wonderfully, and the series is starting to portray the character as a villain. Since there are currently no plans to connect the show to the DC movie universe, a new actor will most likely be cast. Nevertheless, a Deathstroke movie would be one of the most obvious options for a lower budget DC adaptation.
A feature length film starring The Question may be unlikely, but the character could certainly do fine in his own stand-alone movie. A Sherlock Holmes-esque detective thriller would depict a different aspect of the DC universe not seen on film yet. While Vic Sage would also work well as a supporting character in a bigger movie, a smaller film where he is the focus is a solid idea that is worth pursuing.
Another title that is under consideration (and is perhaps the most likely to be made), Suicide Squad has been in development for some time. Such a movie would focus on some of the villains and anti-heroes of the DC Universe, which would be a different way to expand the DCCU. Deathstroke could be recruited for this project following his own film, while fan-favorite characters such as Harley Quinn and Deadshot may finally make their big screen debuts. A new movie incarnation of Amanda Waller is also ideal, and any of these characters can later transfer to bigger DC installments.
Oliver Queen is at the peak of his popularity right now, with Arrow being a big hit on television. It would be obvious for Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment to cash in on that success with Green Arrow’s own movie. If they do decide to connect the TV show to the cinematic universe, an Arrow movie is the most ideal way to do so. If not, then it could introduce a new version of the Emerald Archer who may then appear in a Justice League movie. Either way, a Green Arrow film doesn’t need a big budget to be produced, making it an even more profitable move for WB.
Black Canary is another key character on Arrow, increasing her popularity. While she would work just as well as a supporting character in a Green Arrow movie, a lower-budget solo film is another option. Again, this will likely be a separate incarnation of Dinah Lance from Arrow, but a Black Canary movie would be a unique way to go. It can also help give Warner Bros. an edge in the female superhero film department, differentiating its universe building some from Marvel’s so far.
Jonah Hex [Reboot]
A Jonah Hex movie was released back in 2010, starring Josh Brolin. However, it was a critical and financial failure, making another film starring the character unlikely. Despite this, Hex has big screen potential, so a grounded, more realistic reboot with a lower budget is the way to go. Plus, the Western genre has only been touched upon a handful of times in comic book movies, making a Jonah Hex series different.
Birds of Prey
Next to a Wonder Woman movie, Birds of Prey would be the best way for DC Entertainment to exploit its catalog of female characters. Introducing iconic figures like Barbara Gordon (either as Batgirl or Oracle) and Huntress is a must, while Black Canary can be featured here after her own movie. Additionally, it can be the launching pad for more character spin-offs.
Yet another different approach to the superhero genre that DC can take, a Zatanna project would be the most difficult to make with a $40M budget or less. It’s still possible, however, even though a $50-60M budget is more plausible. Zatanna’s magic-based powers have potential to be unlike anything we’ve seen in a superhero movie before, and the character certainly can hold her own film. A solo movie can also serve as a lead-in for Guillermo del Toro’s planned Justice League Dark adaptation, which is confirmed to feature Zatanna.
You probably didn’t see this one coming. Yes, I believe that Batman’s arch nemesis is able to headline his own film. A movie chronicling his descent into madness would be a fascinating watch. It can draw influence from The Killing Joke, and more interestingly, it can depict one of the origin tales the Joker made up in The Dark Knight. Plus, since the character likely won’t appear in a solo Batman movie anytime soon, those who wish to see another big screen incarnation of the Clown Prince of Crime can get one sooner.
Which DC characters do you wish to see in their own low budget movies?
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