It's a tricky business adapting comic books to film. The screenwriter has the unenviable task of cramming decades of backstory into two hours, and difficult decisions have to be made.
These cuts, however, are not the difficult ones. Here are five story lines from upcoming comic book films that the studio won't let within a thousand miles of the screen.
#5. The Incredible Hulk Nearly Gets Man-Raped
In this 2008 sequel/reboot of Ang Lee's Hulk, Bruce Banner (played by Edward Norton) attempts to keep his anger in check while accosted by the US government and his archenemy, the Abomination (Tim Roth). Previews indicate they have figured out what the first film did wrong, and set about doing completely different things wrong.
What We Probably Won't See:
How about this little vignette from '80s Hulk #23 in which Bruce Banner attempts to keep his anger in check while being accosted by two marauding homosexuals at the YMCA.
Evidently, Luellen and Dewey here aren't the friendly dudes the Village People sang about, so Bruce Banner has to think fast! In comic books, as in life, honesty is always the best policy:
We readers may laugh at Dewey's naivety, but remember, when you live in the Marvel universe, you run into crazy shit every day. You never know when you'll spot Galactus at the Cinnabon or catch the Juggernaut stealing your mail. And not even the most depraved locker room rapist will feel good about himself the next day knowing he anally violated, say, Captain America.
So better safe than sorry. If the guy says he's a superhero, just walk away.
#4. The Submissive Wonder Woman
A live-action Wonder Woman film has been in the works since 2001, but is currently on hold until the Justice League film finishes production in 2009. Australian supermodel Megan Gale is rumored to be the babe behind the bullet-proof bustier in what seems destined to be an unavoidably terrible movie.
Before we go any further, if you think we're going to pull a bunch of Wonder Woman panels out of context and mock her as some kind of bondage-loving super-lesbian ...
... you're wrong, because they're not out of context. Wonder Woman was created in 1941 by psychologist Dr. William Marston, who believed that bondage had a leveling effect on gender relationships. We're thinking his bedroom saw its share of Wonder Woman costumes over the years.
But still, that would hardly fit under the category of things we "won't see," because we're actually guessing you will see at least one hot woman get tied up on screen, if not several. Hell, Catwoman has nothing going for her but fetishism, and the studios didn't hesitate to write the check for that one.What We Probably Won't See:
The film will likely not give us the early version of Wonder Woman, who was the kind of cringe-worthy, air-headed stereotype that was still acceptable in the '40s.
In fact, when Wonder Woman first appeared as a member of The Justice Society in 1941, the group made her their secretary (we're not kidding).
It was years before Wonder Woman got revamped as a badass feminist hero. So if they ever do a "back to its roots" reboot on this franchise, we're guessing they won't go all the way back.
Wonders indeed, Wonder Woman. Wonders indeed.
#3. Ant-Man Has a Way With the Ladies
This dinky superhero fought alongside Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk as member of Marvel Comics' premier super team, The Avengers. Ant-Man's powers unsurprisingly revolved around ants. He could shrink to the size of an ant, communicate with ants, and wore a chrome hat that sort of made his head look like an ant's head. OK, it's not the greatest idea for a superhero.
Director Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) recently announced that he has completed a first draft of an Ant-Man feature film. If Simon Pegg isn't tapped to fill those tiny ant-pants, we'll eat our hats.
What We Probably Won't See:
Ant-Man's arch-nemesis was curiously existential. Instead of battling the Orkin Man or a pair of size 10 Keds or something, Ant-Man (who in real life was scientist Henry Pym) constantly grappled with his own insecurities. Such a small man complex is to be expected when A) you have shrinking powers and B) you hang out with the Hulk, whose penis is the size of a fire extinguisher.
Rather than drown his sorrows in alcohol (like Iron Man) or an endless supply of nubile tail (like Wolverine), Pym dealt with his self-esteem problems in the least superheroic way possible: he beat his wife.
Mind you, the "Ant-Man is a spousal abuser" subplot was not something future writers ignored--it became the hallmark of the Ant-Man character, so much so that when The Avengers were relaunched as The Ultimates in 2002, Ant-Man was still doing the Ralph Kramden routine:
On the other hand, Ant-Man's marital bliss was pretty damn disconcerting too. Feast your eyes on this tableau from Avengers #71:
See those droplets dappling Ant-Man's skin? That ain't royal jelly, kids.