9 Lesser-Known Superheroes Who Deserve Movie Franchises

Last month I wrote about five superheroes who should have gotten movies before Ant-Man, aka five superheroes who aren't Ant-Man. As you'd expect, there were some fantastic comments. Dozens of great comic book fans suggested other heroes who would also make excellent movies, because great fans understand that more people being involved in the thing you like means more fun for everyone.

With two lavender exceptions.

There were some interesting defenses of Ant-Man, which I answered on my site, and anyone with further superquestions can ask me on Twitter, because spending far too long thinking about superbattles is my actual job.

I would mock both for wearing underwear over their pants, but when working I'm not qualified in either.

In the meantime, nine more movie-perfect superheroes.

#8. & #9. Storm and Black Panther

The X-Men have hundreds of the most diversely powered superheroes in existence, but the only one to get his own movies is identical to every other action hero: unkillable tough guy. Wolverine's powers are wasted on cinema because John McClane could already power through more wounds than the Somme and looked far cooler doing it. The next one of the X-Men to get a movie should be Storm.

The most terrifyingly named hero in existence.

Existing metahuman movies are fun but fail to conjure superpowers beyond "hit things REALLY hard." And in the ensemble X-movies, Storm just floated around with a free Taser. Storm should be IMAX incarnate. She's a disaster movie on the side of the angels and should be scarier than seeing both at the same time. Her abilities should make her a single-person superpower, and that's not as in "flying" -- that's as in "the U.S. and China send ambassadors to be nice to her." Forget smart bombs: She's a smart apocalypse that can seek and destroy enemies with the entire sky. She's nothing less than a mutant god. She should be reshaping the world, and we should be blown away by the effects.

I would pay all the money to see this fight.

She's also one of the most storied characters in X-history, and the best arc for movies is when she was married to T'Challa, King of Wakanda, Black Panther. He has no overt superpowers. A mystical connection with a panther god gives him Olympic-level abilities, but that's still around human maximum, and kingship grants access to Wakanda's advanced armory. He's who Marvel calls when they want a mere mortal to take down a super. So he's Batman, except he lets everyone know who he is, takes public responsibility for his actions, guards an entire nation instead of a single city, and actively rules that nation instead of embezzling its profits while a board runs it for him. So he's Batman with bigger balls and a cooler animal.

"I hold off global superpowers that are jealous of our priceless natural resources. But I'm sure clowns are really hard, too."

The Black Panther movie is definitely coming, but he's been bumped into the next decade by Dr. Strange, and by then we'll need a break from the endless origin stories of "Meet another new hero!" It'll be all kinds of awesome if Ororo can bring T'Challa along. Their asymmetric powers avoid overlap, and unlike other hero-meets-hero movies, you're not left wondering why Superman doesn't just win in one single second. In fact, their whole movie dynamic puts the Batman vs. Superman posturing to shame. It's a superheroic love story that's entirely damsel-free, a movie where romance can happen during the awesome scenes instead of interrupting them, and Hollywood will finally have one man who isn't terrified by the idea of a powerful superheroine headlining a movie.

#6. & #7. Luke Cage and Iron Fist

Are you ready for the most ass-kicking buddy comedy of all time?

"From now on we say 'BEGINNING: A NEW ERA OF GREATNESS!' instead of 'Good morning.'"

Power Man and Iron Fist make Riggs and Murtaugh look like twin sedative addicts. Luke Cage doesn't need powers to win a fight, but skin stronger than steel is the only reason his foot hasn't eroded through sheer ass-kicking. His only curse words are "Sweet Christmas," because his actions speak louder than any words about how fucked you are, and because it's as good an estimate as any of when you'll wake up. He once single-handedly invaded Latveria to attack Doctor Doom over an unpaid invoice. He takes less shit than a drip-fed colonectomy patient. He's Marvel's best effort at creating an unpitiable human.


Spoiler: Doom totally pays up.

Danny Rand is Iron Fist. He's what happens when a billionaire learns so much kung fu that he doesn't need to bother mastering anything else. He gained powers by traveling to an interdimensional monastery town whose only industry, entertainment, and export was a martial arts tournament. His reward for winning was the chance to fight a secret kung fu dragon with his bare hands. When he won that too, he plunged those bare hands into the dragon's molten heart, making them like things of iron. You know what, Hollywood? If you must do another origin story, do that one! Why isn't that a movie? Why isn't that a video game? Why isn't that everything?

When I wrestle the dragon, it's a euphemism.

Together they are Power Man and Iron Fist: powerful enough to be kickass, not powerful enough to leave you screaming "Just throw them into the sun/use your shoulder-mounted instant kill guns!" They're already scheduled for a Marvel miniseries in a Netflix deal, but I would have been more excited about that before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And Arrow. And Smallville. Honestly, I would never have been excited about that. Most superhero series are documentaries on why you need a bigger budget for superhero stories. But I'm prepared to be extremely wrong (just like I was about the new RoboCop), and here's hoping the series does well enough to get one.

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Luke McKinney

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