It's hard to imagine anyone but Ryan Coogler making "Black Panther" or Patty Jenkins making "Wonder Woman." But there was once a time when that was a possibility, along with many other would-be superhero movies that never came to be.
James Cameron wanted to make a "Spider-Man" movie, Joss Whedon wrote an infamous "Wonder Woman" script, and "Mad Max: Fury Road" director George Miller had assembled a cast for a "Justice League" movie a decade ago.
These and other strange superhero movies almost saw the light of day, but were eventually scrapped.
For movies like "Black Panther," that's a good thing. But for other movies like Miller's "Justice League: Mortal," it's hard not to think about what could have been, considering last year's Zack Snyder-directed "Justice League" movie was a major flop.
Below are 6 of the strangest cancelled superhero movies, and the ones that actually got made:
James Cameron's "Spider-Man"
The scrapped movie: If James Cameron always got what he wanted, we would have gotten one of the weirdest, most unsettling superhero movies of all time — one that included Peter Parker spying on his crush as she changed, describing the mating habits of spiders to impress said crush, and waking up one morning covered in a white, sticky substance.
This was Cameron's vision for a "Spider-Man" movie back in 1990, the same man who made "The Terminator," "Aliens," "Titanic," and "Avatar."
By the sounds of it, Cameron's version of Spider-Man was a lot more mature (and creepy) than the films we've seen come to life. And according to the Telegraph, Leonardo DiCaprio (pre-"Titanic" Leo even!) was strongly considered for the role.
In 2014, Cameron told Collider that he wrote an extensive, 90-page treatment for the film, which Carolco Pictures bought the rights to. However, Carolco went bankrupt in 1995 and the rights were bought by Sony.
Cameron reportedly wanted Fox to try to snag the rights, but he dropped it once he realized it would result in a long, expensive bidding war. Cameron's vision was lost ... thanks goodness.
The actual movie: Sony went through with making its own "Spider-Man" movie in 2002 directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire as the hero and Kirsten Dunst as love interest Mary Jane Watson.
After a poorly received reboot in 2012 and a failed attempt to make a "Spider-Man cinematic universe," Sony and Marvel struck a deal to include Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sony maintains creative control and distribution rights, but Marvel is basically free to use the character in any of its movies. Meanwhile, Sony is still rolling out Spider-Man related movies of its own, including a "Venom" spin-off in October starring Tom Hardy.
Tim Burton's "Superman Lives"
The scrapped movie: Nicolas Cage as Superman is the only thing you need to know in order to decide whether this would have been the greatest or worst superhero movie ever (it's really all a matter of perspective).
But it almost happened in the early 1990s. Tim Burton, who had made "Batman" in 1989, would have directed the movie, called "Superman Lives," and there were many scripts floating around to work with, including one from Kevin Smith. Tim Burton directing Nicolas Cage as Superman from a script by Kevin Smith is an actual sentence that could have become a reality.
After years of development, Warner Bros. finally canceled the movie, but a 2015 documentary called "The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?" brought the long-forgotten movie back into the spotlight.
The documentary actually makes the case that Burton's film might not have been that bad, and reveals the suit that Nic Cage would have donned (it's ... not that bad).
Cage still stands by the project, so that must count for something. Last year, he said that if he and Burton had been able to make the movie they wanted to make, it would have been "more powerful than any of the Superman movies."
The actual movie: And maybe he's right. The character wouldn't make it to the big screen again until Bryan Singer's 2006 film "Superman Returns," which was more of an homage to the Christopher Reeve Superman films than a reboot. And now Henry Cavill plays Superman in the DC Extended Universe, which hasn't exactly been met with heaps of praise.
Wesley Snipes' "Black Panther"
The scrapped movie: We know Wesley Snipes as another Marvel character, Blade, but in the early 1990s he was circling a different Marvel property.
Earlier this year, Snipes opened up about a potential "Black Panther" movie back in 1992.
"I had a good agent at the time who was sensitive to some of the artistic concerns that I had," Snipes said. "We thought it would be very cool and atypical for a Marvel comic-book character. Something that would be appeal to white people, black people, Asian people, and have some martial arts in it and expose the world of Africa in a way that most people were unfamiliar with and very contrary to the stereotypes that are projected about the continent."
However, the project fell apart because Snipes said there were "no templates" for it at the time and he was too busy.
The actual movie: Now Black Panther is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Ryan Coogler's film is still fresh in our minds (as well as the character's appearance in "Avengers: Infinity War").
"Black Panther" blew away expectations at the box office, making $242 million in its opening 4-day Presidents' Day weekend in February. It eventually made over $1 billion worldwide.
Its February success has paved the way for big movies to open earlier in the year and outside of the usual summer release calendar. Probably for the best that Snipes' movie never got made.
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