When we previewed Comic-Con 2017, we specifically said that the thing we want the most out of this convention – as far as news announcements go – is something completely unexpected. The awesome idea we didn’t know any of the studios had yet. And we’ve already got one.
At the Comic-Con panel for the popular and trippy superhero series Legion, producer Noah Hawley dropped a last minute bombshell on the audience: “I’ll just say two words. The first one is Doctor and the next one is Doom” (via Variety).
Doctor Doom is a megalomaniacal dictator who is also a brilliant scientist and sorcerer. His face was scarred in a scientific experiment, and now he wears a metal mask to hide his deformity. The iconic image and persona of Doctor Doom, who was first introduced in Fantastic Four #5, way back in 1962, is said to have directly inspired the design and character of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars.
Although Doctor Doom quickly became one of Marvel’s most iconic characters and – arguably – the greatest comic book villain of all time, the live-action versions of the character have always had to share their screen time with that infernal Reed Richards and his blasted Fantastic Four. Details about Noah Hawley’s Doctor Doom movie have not yet been made available, but the implication is that, for once, the spotlight will be Doom’s.
This is a very clever way for 20th Century Fox to keep their rights to release Fantastic Four movies without simply rebooting Fantastic Four again. After the ill-fated Roger Corman version, Fox acquired The Fantastic Four and put out two reasonably successful but not particularly popular live-action movies under director Tim Story, and then they rebooted the franchise under filmmaker Josh Trank, in a version that is widely considered one of the worst superhero movies of the modern era.
Telling a similar story but from the perspective of the Fantastic Four’s greatest nemesis – who has, if we’re being honest, never been adapted faithfully in any film – gives the studio an opportunity to work backwards, starting with a novel approach and then potentially sliding back into a more conventional Fantastic Four franchise.
We can expect to see more movies like this in the future. Suicide Squad did big business and proved that audiences are interested in supervillain movies, not just superhero films. There are many supervillain characters who could either carry their own movie, as an antihero or even in a manner akin to horror movie franchise villains (what are Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees if not their own kind of supervillains, after all). It will be interesting to see which comic book bad guys get their own franchises next.
The 15 Best Supervillains Who Haven’t Been in a Movie Yet:
Top Photo: 20th Century Fox
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.