In a few weeks time, the DC fandom will be granted the first standalone movie of a lesser known DC character, Shazam! Will this decision prove a catastrophy, or are unfamiliar DC superheroes an/or villains even more appealing than perennial favorites? With “The Flash” currently on standby until it works out its director and script kinks, there’s creative room for other figures of comic lore to be given a hearty re-introduction. In fact, maybe audiences prefer the road less “Just” moving forward with this brand. Below are a mix of heroes and villains past due for a big-screen spotlight.
The Wonder Twin powers have been deactivated for far too long. Extraterrestrial twins Zan and Jayna were memorable additions to the Justice League in their brief stint on the 1977 Hanna-Barbara produced “The All-New Superhero Friends” and subsequent “Superfriends” animated shows. Inspired by the popularity of sibling act Donny and Marie Osmond, these DC heroes had their own bit of fanfare despite minimal involvement throughout the years. Incorporating them into the new DC
Expanded Universe would continue the brand’s recent upward trajectory given their lighthearted appeal.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Maggie Gyllenhaal would be a studio fantasy Hollywood pairing if cast. However, the genre needs a little less whitewashing and a lot more racial inclusivity. Therefore, why don’t the dynamic duo be played by charismatic Asian megastars Henry Golding and Gemma Chan? From cousins in “Crazy Rich Asians” to twins in “DC’s Wonder Twins,” the familial leap would create a clamor of excitement across respective fan bases.
Talia al Ghul
After Marion Cotillard’s shallow femme fatale portrayal of Ra’s al Ghul’s vengeful daughter in “The Dark Knight Rises,” it’s only fair that the sole woman to ever consummate the Batman legacy gets a second shot at villainy. Truthfully, Talia’s maleficence is inherited, not inherent. Her father is the head of the demon-worshipping League of Shadows. As its successor, and with no sense of morality to compare to, Talia was raised a murderer, unaware until Batman came into her cross-hairs that love produces more satisfaction than violence.
There has never been a comic book film with a wounded, headstrong anti-heroine at its center. It would benefit the brand to see one of the most multi-dimensional villains in the DC roster to wrestle with an internal “good vs evil” tug of war. Making matters even more complex is Talia’s role as mother of Damian Wayne, the son born from a night of passion with the Dark Knight. Audiences would witness a woman changed by motherhood, raising her son as a single parent, unsure of which man in her life to shield Damian from: his grandfather or biological dad. After wasting her talents in depthless female “bouncer” roles, this might finally be the pivotal part Sofia Boutella was always destined to embrace.
Just like fans initially boycotted the idea of anyone but Grant Gustin playing Barry Allen/The Flash, it would be a declaration of war if someone other than Stephen Amell portrayed Oliver Queen/Green Arrow. However, with love interest Black Canary killed off in the CW’s “Arrow,” it’s possible in an alternate universe decision that someone other than Katie Cassidy can don the vigilante mask. For once, it would be refreshing to see a female superhero who’s typically bound to a male counterpart be free of that invisible chain. Think of the ripple effect it would cause throughout the DC fandom if Black Canary existed in a universe where Green Arrow, well, doesn’t. She would be free to have her own origin story unattached to a man, able to veer in any personal narrative direction of her choosing.
Because there should never be an ethnicity restriction in multiverse lore, a woman of color could portray the beloved crime-fighter in this version. “Battlestar Galactica’s” Kandyse McClure would perfect as Canary, tenaciously convincing in the pursuit of justice yet exhibiting a measured calmness when facing adversity.
This diabolical genius warrants his own spinoff as much as The Joker. As the intellectual foil to Superman’s brawn time and again, Lex Luthor’s madness stems from his inability to defeat the Man of Steel for good. His heightened cognitive abilities grant him solutions to problems with complexities beyond comprehension, and yet he is still unable to reign supreme because of one alien creature standing in his way of world dominance.
In many ways Luthor was ahead of his time, a tech industry megalomaniac extending his reach through enterprise and economic manipulation. There’s insightful villain introspection for the magnifying with Luthor, a man who has seemingly everything at his disposal and yet zealously craves more. If Corey Stoll were to play him, would he deliver us a Lex Luthor worthy of seismic terror, not a petulant and entitled rich boy who treats Superman like a pesky fly? Here’s to hoping that DC’s second-most destructive force of evil finally gets the intricate characterization to match his brilliance.
Formerly the golden retriever of sidekicks, the chipper Dick Grayson would have remained in the shadow abyss of Batman had he not evolved into “Nightwing.” This new alias sees Grayson settle into adulthood with a sleeker suit and a hardened resolve to keep Gotham’s inhabitants safe. A solo film would emphasize the individual capabilities of Grayson; his impressive acumen and skyscraper dexterity have been overlooked since his first appearance. The movie could also mark the passing of the baton, with Nightwing an heir to a retired Bruce Wayne hanging up his cape for good. After that huge middle name reveal at the end of “The Dark Knight Rises,” bequeathing Joseph Gordon-Levitt with the “Robin” moniker would be the least DC could do.