List of unproduced DC Comics projects
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This is a list of unmade and unreleased projects by DC Comics. Some of these productions were, or still are, in development limbo of other mediums. Along with DC Comics properties, their subdivisions like Vertigo and WildStorm will also be credited.
- 1 Batman
- 1.1 Fleischer Studios' Batman
- 1.2 CBS' Mike Henry Batman
- 1.3 Batman vs. Godzilla
- 1.4 Tim Burton's Batman 3
- 1.5 Joel Schumacher's Batman 5
- 1.6 Batman: Year One live action film
- 1.7 Batman: Assault on Arkham 2
- 1.8 Batman: The Musical
- 1.9 Bruce Wayne
- 1.10 Gotham High
- 1.11 Batman: No Man's Land
- 1.12 Batman: Arkham
- 1.13 The Batman vs. Hush
- 1.14 Batman Beyond
- 1.15 In the Batman Family
- 2 Superman
- 2.1 Superman III: Supergirl
- 2.2 Superman V
- 2.3 Superman Reborn
- 2.4 Superman Lives
- 2.5 Superman: Flyby
- 2.6 Superman Returns sequel
- 2.7 The Adventures of Superboy TV pilot
- 2.8 The Adventures of Superpup TV pilot
- 2.9 Untitled Superman spinoff series
- 2.10 Superman: Red Son
- 3 Wonder Woman
- 4 Team ups
- 4.1 Justice League
- 4.2 Superman and Batman
- 4.3 Teen Titans
- 4.4 Doom Patrol
- 5 The Flash
- 6 Plastic Man
- 7 Aquaman
- 8 Green Lantern
- 9 Green Arrow
- 10 Deadman
- 11 Rōnin
- 12 Watchmen
- 13 Static
- 14 Others
- 14.1 Early development of Blackhawk film
- 14.2 Early development of Zatanna film
- 14.3 Blue Beetle TV series
- 14.4 Swamp Thing reboot
- 14.5 Metal Men film
- 14.6 The Joker vs. The Powerpuff Girls
- 14.7 Lobo: The Animated Series
- 14.8 Hourman TV series
- 14.9 Spectre TV series
- 14.10 Global Frequency TV series
- 14.11 #4Hero Web series
- 14.12 Constantine sequel
- 14.13 The Original Human Target TV series
- 14.14 Jonah Hex TV special
- 14.15 Starman television series
- 14.16 Early attempts at a Mad TV series
- 14.17 Sgt. Rock film
- 14.18 New Gods animated film
- 14.19 Project 13 TV series
- 14.20 Secret Six TV series
- 14.21 Early attempts of a Shazam! film
- 15 Vertigo
- 15.1 Fables
- 15.2 The Books of Magic film
- 15.3 Astro City
- 15.4 The American Way film
- 15.5 Codename: Knockout film
- 15.6 Y: The Last Man film
- 15.7 We3 film
- 15.8 FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics film
- 15.9 DMZ TV series
- 15.10 Amped/Jacked TV series
- 15.11 The Exterminators TV series
- 15.12 Scalped TV series
- 15.13 100 Bullets
- 15.14 The Sandman
- 15.15 HBO's Preacher TV series
- 15.16 Transmetropolitan film
- 15.17 Death: The High Cost of Living film
- 15.18 V for Vendetta TV series
- 15.19 Unfollow TV series
- 15.20 Survivors Club TV series
- 16 Wildstorm
- 17 See also
- 18 References
Fleischer Studios' Batman
Following the success of the Fleischer Superman cartoons, Fleischer Studios communicated with DC Comics over the possibility of adapting Batman. The communication got to the point of budget discussions as illustrated in a letter dated January 25, 1942, and reproduced in longtime Batman executive producer, Michael E. Uslan's 2011 memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman. It is however unknown how far the production of this project went before being abandoned.
CBS' Mike Henry Batman
Prior to the 1966 juggernaut that was the Adam West/Burt Ward Batman series, CBS attempted to launch a live action children's program based on the character. Former Rams linebacker and Tarzan actor Mike Henry was soon approached to appear as the character and even took publicity stills. The project went into limbo, and after a long stagnation, producers attempted to ironically sell it to NBC; they passed on the project in 1965.
The original idea for this, seemingly, mismatched crossover comes from the hand of series writer Shinichi Sekizawa, who submitted a manuscript of the proposal in November 1965. Sekizawa's concept featured several characters from the Batman universe, including Robin and Commissioner Gordon. To actually battle the King of the Monsters, Batman and his sidekicks would have utilized several vehicles to engage in combat, including the Batmobile, the Batcopter, and the Batcycle. Interesting to note, the concept also featured the introduction of a weather control apparatus, an idea which would later be worked into the Son of Godzilla (1967) script. It also was going to have another device to control Godzilla himself, which would possibly indicate another antagonist being behind pitting the two characters against each other. In terms of Sekizawa's motivation, his reasoning seems clear in these drafts: to try and repeat the mammoth international success that the King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) crossover enjoyed. This is made apparent in allusions to the earlier 1962 film, as even this extremely early take at the concept included mention of Godzilla's battle with King Kong, which was noted as being included with stock footage of the two titans fighting. Not surprisingly, though, the concept never got far enough for a full-fledged script to have been created. There are many questions related to the proposal still unknown as well, such as if DC Comics was ever actually approached with the idea or not. It's also not known to what degree the then recent Batman TV series, which debuted two months after Sekizawa proposed this idea, might have played, if any. It's also interesting to note that references to "Batgirl" are made in the concept, which would predate the Barbara Gordon version of the character that would later become synonymous with the name in 1966.
Tim Burton's Batman 3
During the early development of the cancelled Catwoman spin-off, Burton expressed his interest in directing the third installment of the Batman film series that began with Batman in 1989. The Monkees lead drummer Micky Dolenz was attached to star as the Riddler, the film's main antagonist. Also, Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face was supposed to occur in the film, with Billy Dee Williams reprising his role as Dent from the first film, after turning down the offer to appear in Batman Returns. Along with these, Michelle Pfeiffer was attached to return as Catwoman, Marlon Wayans was attached to star as Robin, and Rene Russo was attached to star as Dr. Chase Meridian. However, when Warner Bros. observed that the script was just as gloomy as the previous film, they decided to put Joel Schumacher as the director of the third installment, leading to the release of Batman Forever, in which Burton served as producer, without being able to contribute ideas.
Joel Schumacher's Batman 5
Batman: Year One live action film
Batman: Assault on Arkham 2
In a 2016 interview, Jay Oliva mentioned that he had plans to make a sequel to Batman: Assault on Arkham. But following his departure from Warner Bros. Animation, the project may have been pulled.
Batman: The Musical
In 2002, Burton, Jim Steinman, and David Ives had worked on a theatre production called Batman: The Musical. Steinman has revealed five songs from the musical. The first is the opening theme for "Gotham City" and the entry of Batman with his tortured solo "The Graveyard Shift"; followed by "The Joker's Song (Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?)", "The Catwoman's Song (I Need All The Love I Can Get)", "We're Still The Children We Once Were" (the climactic sequence) and "In The Land Of The Pig The Butcher Is King", sung by the corrupt blood-suckers ruling Gotham, covered on the Meat Loaf album Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose. After production was cancelled, these songs were released on the Batman: The Musical memorial site.
An animated series that reimagines Batman characters as high school students was in development in the late 2000s and early 2010s.
Batman: No Man's Land
After the success of Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero, Warner Bros. greenlighted the production of a third installment, entitled Batman: Arkham. Boyd Kirkland, the director of this film, was attached to write and direct. The film would have Batman and Robin facing off against a collection of Arkham Asylum escapees, in addition to Batman finding himself falling in love with a new love interest, planned to be voiced by Angie Harmon. The main cast of Batman: The Animated Series was attached to reprise their roles. Steven E. Gordon also drew some art concept for the film. However, the film was cancelled in favor of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (which also featured Harmon), while Batman: Arkham eventually became a successful video game series by Rocksteady.
The Batman vs. Hush
A second movie of The Batman titled The Batman vs. Hush that featured Hush as the main villain along with the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman and Clayface was planned for a long time. However, the film ended up being scrapped. Before its cancellation, producer Alan Burnett had hopes of making one or two more DTV movies based on The Batman. However, a film based on Batman: Hush is scheduled to released sometime in 2019 as part of the DC Animated Movie Universe.
Batman Beyond live action film
Untitled Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker sequel
Untitled Batman Beyond animated film
Timm has mentioned that a Batman Beyond film is a possibility, and in August 2017, Tucker stated in his Twitter account that discussions about a possible Batman Beyond film occur several times at the studio, There has been no further announcements since.
In the Batman Family
Batgirl: Year One
Batman: Year One's executive producer Bruce Timm and co-director Lauren Montgomery expressed interest in producing an animated film based on Batgirl: Year One. But DC cancelled all plans for an adaptation.
Nightwing: The Animated Series
Catwoman: The Animated Series
Tim Burton's Catwoman spin-off
—Daniel Waters on his script for Catwoman
Batman Returns would be the last film in the Warner Bros. Batman film series that featured Burton and Michael Keaton as director and leading actor. With Batman Forever, Warner Bros. decided to go in a "lighter" direction to be more mainstream in the process of a family film. Burton had no interest in returning to direct a sequel, but was credited as producer. With Warner Bros. moving on development for Batman Forever in June 1993, a Catwoman spin-off was announced. Michelle Pfeiffer was to reprise her role, with the character not to appear in Forever because of her own spin-off.
Burton became attached as director, while producer Denise Di Novi and writer Daniel Waters also returned. In January 1994, Burton was unsure of his plans to direct Catwoman or an adaptation of "The Fall of the House of Usher". On June 6, 1995, Waters turned in his Catwoman script to Warner Bros., the same day Batman Forever was released. Burton was still being courted to direct. Waters joked, "Turning it in the day Batman Forever opened may not have been my best logistical move, in that it's the celebration of the fun-for-the-whole-family Batman. Catwoman is definitely not a fun-for-the-whole-family script." In an August 1995 interview, Pfeiffer re-iterated her interest in the spin-off, but explained her priorities would be challenged as a mother and commitments to other projects. The film labored in development hell for years, with Pfeiffer replaced by Ashley Judd. The film ended up becoming the critically panned Catwoman (2004), starring Halle Berry.
Untitled direct-to-video Catwoman film
Around 2003, during the production of Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, Warner Bros. approached Boyd Kirkland to write a Catwoman direct-to-video feature film as a tie-in with the 2004 live-action film. Although the script was written, the project was soon scrapped after the poor reception of the live-action film.
Direct-to-video Joker film
Superman III: Supergirl
Producer Ilya Salkind originally wrote a treatment for the third installment from the Superman film series starring Christopher Reeve that expanded the film's scope to a cosmic scale, introducing the villains Brainiac and Mister Mxyzptlk, as well as Supergirl. The original outline featured a father–daughter relationship between Brainiac and Supergirl and a romance between Superman and Supergirl, even though the two are cousins in the comics. Warner Bros. rejected the outline and made their own Superman III film.
A sequel to the original Superman film series was in the works following Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. The film was cancelled due to the disaster from Quest for Peace.
Superman Returns sequel
The Adventures of Superboy TV pilot
The Adventures of Superpup TV pilot
Untitled Superman spinoff series
In June 2006, during an interview about Superman: Brainiac Attacks, writer Duane Capizzi mentioned a Superman series set in the same universe of The Batman, a possibility supported by Superman's revealed existence during the show's fifth season. Despite this, the expansion was never realized, and Capizzi never again mentioned the spinoff.
In 2013, James Tucker expressed interest in making an animated movie adaptation of Red Son for DC Universe Animated Original Movies, such the project is in consideration by Warner Bros. In January 8, 2019 however, it was announced that a direct-to-video film adaption of the comic is in development, part of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line. It will be a stand-alone movie separate from the DC Animated Movie Universe starring the voice talents of Amy Acker, Anna Vocino, Diedrich Bader, Greg Chun, Jim Ward, Jason Isaacs, Jason Spisak, Jim Meskimen, Paul Williams, Phil Lamarr, Phil Morris, Roger Craig Smith, Sasha Roiz, Tara Strong, Travis Willingham, Vanessa Marshall, William Salyers, and Winter Zoli. There has been no further announcements since.
In 2017, Jordan Vogt-Roberts pitched a Red Son adaptation to Warner Brothers, as an "offshoot" of the DC Extended Universe with different actors for Superman and Batman, but "was told no." Mark Millar responded by saying that two friends of his had been approached by WB to direct a live-action Red Son. There have been no further developments.
Who's Afraid of Diana Prince TV pilot (1967)
A proposed 1967 television series, that only resulted in the production of a short pilot. The success of the Batman television series led Batman producer William Dozier to commission a pilot script by Stan Hart and Larry Siegel. Batman writer Stanley Ralph Ross was then asked to perform a re-write, after Hart and Siegel's script was deemed unsuitable. A portion of the pilot, under five minutes in length, was filmed by Greenway Productions, the company behind the Batman show under the title Who's Afraid of Diana Prince? The piece starred Ellie Wood Walker (Robert Walker Jr.'s wife) as Diana Prince, Linda Harrison as Diana's Wonder Woman alter ego and Maudie Prickett as Diana's mother. In the proposed series Diana Prince (not Wonder Woman) would have been the focus of the comedy. Diana, an awkward and rather plain young woman, lives with her mother close to a United States Air Force base. Much of the film consists of her mother berating Diana about not having a boyfriend. When her mother leaves the room, Diana changes into her Wonder Woman costume and admires her reflection in a mirror. What she sees is not Diana Prince, but rather a sexy super-heroic figure (played by Linda Harrison) who proceeds to preen and pose as the song "Oh, You Beautiful Doll" plays on the soundtrack. The pilot ends with Diana climbing out a window and flying away, indicating that, despite her apparent delusions regarding her alter ego, she does have some super powers. This pilot episode was never broadcast and the project was abandoned.
Wonder Woman TV pilot (2011)
Early attempts of Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman 2 (2011)
Filmation's Wonder Woman animated series
In 2012, The CW, Warner Bros. Television and DC Comics announced that they were developing a new origin story for Wonder Woman called Amazon. In early 2013, the network pushed the pilot back until the 2014/15 season. On May 16, 2013, The CW announced that the show was still in development, with a new script by Aron Eli Coleite, replacing Allan Heinberg, who wrote the previous script for the planned pilot. However, in July 2013 The Flash, by Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg was fast-tracked instead. Mark Pedowitz confirmed that "Amazon is on pause (as) the script is not exactly what we wanted, and with an iconic character like Wonder Woman, we have to get it right." In January 2014, Pedowitz told The Hollywood Reporter that the project was no longer in development: "We did not go forward with it [...] it all depends on the script. We were very careful with Arrow, and we're being very careful with Flash [...] these are iconic characters, so we're going to be very careful with Wonder Woman. You only get one shot before you get bit." In August 2017, Pedowitz confirmed that the success of the feature film has killed any current attempts to bring the Amazonian warrior to the small screen on their channel.
George Miller's Justice League: Mortal
Justice League of America
Early Attempt at a Justice League series
An early attempt at a Justice League television series was to feature lesser known superheroes, like The Question and Doctor Fate, that would've been part of the DC Animated Universe. The series was cancelled in favor of Batman Beyond.
Justice League: Worlds Collide
Circa 2004, Bruce Timm announced that a direct-to-video Justice League feature film was in the works. The film was intended to make a bridge between the second season of Justice League to the first season of Justice League Unlimited. The film was planned to reveal how Wonder Woman acquired her Invisible-Jet, and also planned to feature the Crime Syndicate as the main antagonists, an idea that was originally conceived for the two-part episode "A Better World", until the Syndicate was replaced by the Justice Lords. Dwayne McDuffie wrote the script and Andrea Romano assembled the cast, but Warner Bros. finally scrapped the project. However, in 2010, the film's plot was used for the non-DCAU film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, but removing all references to the continuity of the DC animated universe, and replacing John Stewart with Hal Jordan as the Justice League's Green Lantern.
Crisis on Infinite Earths film
Untitled direct-to-video Justice League film
An untitled Justice League direct to DVD film was in the works in 2008, with a design by James Tucker.
Superman and Batman
Untitled Batman/Superman TV series
There was plans to make an animated series featuring Batman and Superman. It would've been an origin story.
Batman vs. Superman
Hanna Barbera's Teen Titans
In the 1980s Hanna Barbera planned a TV series for the Teen Titans in the same universe as the Super Friends.
DCAU's Teen Titans TV series
An early plan for the Teen Titans TV series was to included it into the DC Animated Universe. That idea was later abandoned in favor of being its own standalone series. This roster would've included Robin, Speedy, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Aquaman, The Flash, and Wonder Girl.
Teen Titans live action film
Doom Patrol film
Early attempts at a The Flash live action film (2000s)
The WB's Flash
In 2003, it was reported that The WB was planning a Flash TV series with Todd Komarnicki signed on to write and executive produce it. Inspired by the 1960s science fiction drama The Time Tunnel, the series would have been a loose adaptation of the Flash, depicting him as a fresh-out-of-college Gotham City resident who uses his powers to travel backwards and forwards in time, going on missions. As with Smallville, the series would have eschewed superhero costumes altogether.
Plastic Man live action film
A live-action feature film featuring Plastic Man was in the works in 1992. It would've been produced by Amblin Entertainment, Warner Bros., and DreamWorks SKG, written by The Wachowskis, and to be directed by Brian Spicer, following the success of 1989's Batman. Nothing was made official until 14 years later, following the box-office disaster of The Wachowskis' Speed Racer, they decided to resurrect the old script and make the film with a release date set for December 2009. Both Jim Carrey and Bruce Campbell were considered for the role, until it was announced that Keanu Reeves would play Plastic Man. Nothing came out of this proposed 2009 film either. In 2013, rumors began to spread that David Tennant would play Plastic Man in the 2017 Justice League film as a comical character, something that The Flash's role in the film is. In December 2018, new development of a Plastic Man film was announced, with Amanda Idoko writing the screenplay and Robert Shaye will executive produce.
Plastic Man animated film
Filmmaker and comic book writer Kevin Smith mentioned at Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo that he met with Johns, where he pitched an animated Plastic Man film that he wrote for DC. There have since been no further developments.
Plastic Man TV series
Another attempt was in the 2006 where Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network commissioned an animated pilot titled "Puddle Trouble". They ultimately decided not to pick it up as a series, but the pilot can be seen on Plastic Man: The Complete Collection DVD set.
Aquaman TV pilot (2006)
Aquaman animated film
Early attempts of an Aquaman live action film
In 2003, Sunrise Entertainment made plans to produce an Aquaman film with Warner Bros., with first time writer Ben Grant set to write the screenplay. Nothing came out of this. Until a year, Leonardo DiCaprio signed on to the project that would've been produced by his production company, Appian Way Productions. But nothing came out of this either.
Early attempts of a Green Lantern live action film
Green Lantern: First Flight sequel
Green Lantern (2011) sequels
Sinestro Corps War animated film
Green Arrow: Escape from Super Max
Untitled Green Arrow animated film
Guillermo del Toro has taken interest in producing a film based on Deadman, supposedly from the only source. Variety reported that Nikolaj Arcel was set to direct the film. Since then, no updates have emerged for the project.
Deadman TV series
Following the success of X-Men in 2000, Warner Bros. Television announced that a Deadman television film for TNT was in development, which was also being considered as a pilot for a potential television series. The project was still in development by 2003, but was later shelved. In 2011, WBTV hired Supernatural creator Eric Kripke to helm a Deadman television series for The CW, as the network was looking to commission a new superhero series. The following year, another superhero series debuted on the network. A Deadman series never materialized and Kripke has since moved on to other projects.
In 1998, Darren Aronofsky inked a deal with New Line Cinema for a film adaptation of the graphic novel Rōnin. In 2007, Gianni Nunnari, producer of 300, announced he would be producing and Sylvain White, director of Stomp the Yard, directing the Rōnin film adaptation. There has been no further announcements since.
Rōnin TV miniseries
Early development of Watchmen live action film
Watchmen animated direct-to-video movie
Static Shock TV series
In October 2014, it was announced that Warner Bros. would be launching a live-action Static Shock program from Reginald Hudlin as part of the company's new Blue Ribbon Content digital division, and are eyeing Jaden Smith for the role of Virgil Hawkins/Static. On May 24, 2015, actor Tyler James Williams announced in an interview that Jaden Smith was cast as Static, but this has yet to be confirmed by Blue Ribbon Content or by Warner Bros. Hudlin, DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, and Denys Cowan are collaborating on the live-action project. Since then, there have been no new announcements.
Static animated direct-to-video movie
On August 30, 2017, when asked on his Twitter account if the character could have a feature film set in the DC animated universe as part of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies, producer James Tucker responded that there's interest in Static on the studio. There has been no further discussions for such a project.
Early development of Blackhawk film
In the early 1980s, Spielberg announced that he had plans to direct a film adaptation of the Blackhawk comic book series. Dan Aykroyd was attached to play Blackhawk. However, the project never materialized and Spielberg chose to direct Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Early development of Zatanna film
In 2005, Ice Princess screenwriter Hadley Davis was hired to write an action-comedy film about a teenage version of Zatanna. In 2018, Deadline Hollywood revealed that Warner Bros is interested in developing a Zatanna solo film in the DC Extended Universe.
Blue Beetle TV series
Geoff Johns announced a live action TV series featuring the Jamie Reyes version of Blue Beetle. They made a test trailer with stuntman and actor Garrett Plotkin as Jaime Reyes. Scenes of this trailer were shown as part of the upcoming DC Nation block of programming in 2012 on Cartoon Network during the premiere of Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Since then, nothing has been announced about the project.
Swamp Thing reboot
In 2009, Joel Silver announced plans to produce a reboot of the Swamp Thing film franchise from a story written by Akiva Goldsman. In April 2010, Vincenzo Natali was confirmed to direct, but on May 12, 2010, Vincenzo Natali decided to delay the Swamp Thing reboot to pursue other projects.
Metal Men film
The Joker vs. The Powerpuff Girls
When we did the original series I really wanted to do an episode where the Joker came to town and started committing crimes. The idea was that The Mayor was so excited to have a celebrity villain in town that he actually tried to thwart The Girls from stopping him because The Joker was finally putting Townsville on the map! We wanted to use Bruce Timm’s designs from Batman the animated series and get Mark Hamill to do the voice. Unfortunately Warner Brothers said no.
Lobo: The Animated Series
Following his appearance on Superman: The Animated Series, plans for a children's television show based on the character Lobo was in development at Kids WB. But due to executive issues, the series was converted into a vulgar Flash animated web series that was released in 2000.
Hourman TV series
In November 2013, a live action Hourman series was revealed to be in development at The CW. Michael Caleo was writing the script, to executive produce the series alongside Dan Lin, and Jennifer Gwartz. The premise of the series "centers on a brilliant-yet-troubled pharmaceutical analyst who discovers that the visions that have plagued him since childhood are actually glimpses of tragic events occurring one hour in the future. Determined to win back his ex-wife and son, he heroically prevents these tragedies from unfolding, finding both purpose and redemption along the way". Since then, no progress on the series was made after its announcement.
Spectre TV series
Global Frequency TV series
Mark Burnett prepared a Global Frequency television series for 2005 with Michelle Forbes as Miranda Zero, Josh Hopkins as Sean Flynn, Jenni Baird as Dr. Katrina Finch and Aimee Garcia as Aleph. The characters of Sean Flynn, an ex-policeman who accidentally stumbled on a Global Frequency mission, and Katrina Finch, a brilliant scientist with expertise in multiple fields, were created especially for the series.
Unlike the comic book, which had an ever-changing cast of field agents, Flynn and Finch were to be regulars along with Zero and Aleph, with other Frequency members coming in as and when necessary in supporting roles. This would allow for the character continuity expected of a television series and yet allow other characters to be killed off as in the comic book.
A pilot episode, based heavily on the first issue of the comic book, was produced, but The WB (the original intended network) did not commission the series. John Rogers was the principal creative force behind the television incarnation, writing the pilot episode, with Ellis credited as producer and creator. Other writers waiting to come on board included David Slack, Ben Edlund and Diego Gutierrez. The pilot was directed by Nelson McCormick.
The unaired pilot was leaked onto the Internet in June 2005 and continues to be downloaded and shared, primarily via BitTorrent and other P2P networks. Although it was popular and critically acclaimed, according to Ellis himself the leaking of the pilot annoyed Warner Brothers to the extent that they killed the project.
In November 2014, it was announced that Fox was producing a new Global Frequency pilot, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and written by Rockne S. O'Bannon. In February 2015, bleedingcool.com revealed that Fox will not order the pilot for Global Frequency due to problems with the script.
#4Hero Web series
Machinima Inc. and DC Entertainment were producing a live-action web series based on an updated version of Dial H for Hero. Titled #4Hero, the VFX-heavy comedy would have been about a young woman named Nellie Tribble who discovers a smartphone app that allows her to temporarily gain semi-useful superpowers dictated by whatever is trending at the moment. Since then, no production updates were announced.
In a 2011 interview with MTV Splash Page, director Francis Lawrence spoke of a potential sequel: It's interesting that over the years, Constantine seems like it's become...like it has this sort of cult following, which has been great. It's been embraced. It would be great to figure out a sequel, and if we did, and we've been trying to figure one out, it would be great to do the really dark, scary version. We got caught in that weird PG-13–R no man's land, and we should do the hard-R scary version, which I would love to do.
The Original Human Target TV series
The original version of Human Target was created by Warner Bros. Television and Pet Fly Productions, producers of The Flash and later The Sentinel for Paramount Pictures. The original pilot for the series was in filmed in 1990 but ABC declined to pick up the series for the 1990-91 television season and this pilot never aired. In the original unaired pilot, musician Clarence Clemons who was trying to establish himself as an actor, played Chance's pilot.
Harvey Shephard, then the president of Warner Bros. Television, told The New York Times in December 1991 that Human Target was intended for both American audiences and the international television market, saying "Hopefully, it's a formula for all tastes that could have a strong foreign market." A different pilot was filmed, resulting in the 1992 short lived series Human Target.
Jonah Hex TV special
In 2000, 20th Century Fox developed a one-hour adaptation based on the character Jonah Hex to television with producers Akiva Goldsman and Robert Zappia involved, but the project never made it into production.
Starman television series
There was a television series planned based on Jack Knight's adventures from the creators of Smallville and Birds of Prey. It would have featured both Jack and his father, been set in Opal City, and attempted to follow the comics as closely as possible. However, in 2003, after the failure of Birds of Prey, it was last referred to as being "indefinitely on hold". There has since been no sign that it will ever be produced.
Early attempts at a Mad TV series
A 1974 animated television pilot based on the Mad magazine that used selected material from the magazine was commissioned by ABC, but the network decided to not broadcast it. Dick DeBartolo noted, "Nobody wanted to sponsor a show that made fun of products that were advertised on TV, like car manufacturers." The program was instead created into a TV special, and is available for online viewing.
Sgt. Rock film
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Arnold Schwarzenegger was attached to the title role of a Sgt. Rock film, despite the seeming incongruity of an Austrian actor playing an American G.I. in World War II. Screenplays were written by David Webb Peoples in 1987, Steven E. de Souza in 1988, John Milius in 1993, and Brian Helgeland in 1996, depicting Rock as having a German-American father and being able to speak German (a skill he uses to ambush the enemy). Producer Joel Silver still attempted to make a Sgt. Rock movie. John Cox has written the latest screenplay, which is not based on any of the previous screenplay drafts. Cox has stated that Schwarzenegger is no longer attached to star in the project. In April 2007, David Gambino, VP at Silver Pictures said, "The good news is we have a fantastic screenplay and everybody's really happy with it. It's really just about trying to attach cast right now and really decide what the movie is going to be, how we're going to make it". Bruce Willis was reportedly under consideration for the role. In December 2008, Guy Ritchie reported that the film has been shelved due to his work on Sherlock Holmes, but confirmed that the Sgt. Rock film will indeed be set during World War II and include the members of Easy Company. On February 2, 2010, Silver announced the setting change from World War II to another battle in the near future. Since then, there has been no further announcements.
New Gods animated film
Project 13 TV series
In October 2017, it was announced that The CW was developing a one-hour drama series based on Traci Thirteen and her father Dr. Terrance Thirteen, titled Project 13, with Elizabeth Banks attached as an executive producer. It is unknown if it will be picked up by The CW or DC Universe.
Secret Six TV series
In October 2018, Suits’s Rick Muirragui will write and produce a Secret Six TV series with Bill Lawrence’s Doozer Productions the for CBS. It is unknown if it will be picked up by CBS or DC Universe.
Early attempts of a Shazam! film
Fables TV series
A television series based on Fables was put into development by NBC in 2005 for the 2006–2007 Television Season. The show received a script order and was developed by Craig Silverstein and Warner Bros. Television but was not developed any further than the scripting stage. NBC would later go on to produce Grimm, a police procedural set in a world where fairytales are real.
On December 8, 2008 it was announced that ABC had picked up the rights to develop a pilot of Fables for the 2009–2010 television season. Six Degrees creators and executive producers Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner was writing the script for the hour-long drama, again set up at Warner Brothers Television, while David Semel came on board to direct. However, in December 2010, Willingham said, in an interview with Io9, that the ABC show is "probably dead", though he also admits to being "out of the loop".
In 2015, it was announced that Warner Bros. was developing a live action Fables film with David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford producing, Jeremy Slater and Jane Goldman writing and Nikolaj Arcel directing. Since then, there has been no further announcements.
Fables Video game
On February 17, 2011, Telltale Games announced The Wolf Among Us, an episodic graphic adventure game based upon Fables. With the first of its five episodes released on October 11, 2013 (and the final episode released on July 8, 2014), the game is canon with the comic book universe and is set as a prequel to the comic book. In July 2017 Telltale Games announced that a second season of The Wolf Among Us was in production, and was planned to be released sometime in 2018. However, it was announced in May 2018 that the game was delayed and was rescheduled for release in 2019 before ultimately being cancelled in September 2018 following the studio's closure.
The Books of Magic film
A film version of The Books of Magic has been in development hell for many years. It was originally optioned by Warner Bros. for some years before the first Harry Potter book was published, with Neil Gaiman signing on as executive producer in 1998. After several years of drafting and redrafting, the script moved so far from the original concept that Gaiman and Paul Levitz advised the filmmakers that any audience seeing it expecting a film based on the comic would be disappointed, and decided to develop the movie themselves. They worked with screenwriter Matt Greenberg, who had written early drafts of the original script, to come up with some closer to the original story, but nothing came from this.
Astro City film
In 2003, Ben Barenholtz, Jonathan Alpers and Kurt Busiek hoped to develop an Astro City film, with Barenholtz as producer and Alpers as lead scripter, but the plans did not take off, whereupon Barenholtz subsequently took the project to Working Title Films. In July 2010, it was announced that Working Title had acquired the rights to make a live-action feature film adaptation of Astro City. Busiek was to write a script treatment, and also to executive-produce, along with Barenholtz and Alpers. On May 10, 2013 Kurt Busiek reported that Working Title's option had lapsed but he was in negotiation with another party.
Astro City TV series
The American Way film
Codename: Knockout film
In 2001, Codename: Knockout artist Louis Small, Jr. reported that Warner Bros. had picked up the option to adapt the comic series into a film, and commissioned a script, but nothing coming out of this.
Y: The Last Man film
The film rights to the Y: The Last Man series were acquired by New Line Cinema (a sister company to Vertigo), and in July 2007 screenwriter Carl Ellsworth and director D. J. Caruso were attached to the project with David S. Goyer as a producer. Caruso intended on finishing the script in the summer and filming during the fall of 2008. The script would be a rewrite of the original draft written by Jeff Vintar. Although Vintar's draft was faithful to the original comic book and considered by many to be a success, the higher-ups at New Line Cinema seemed unable to fully embrace the material. A subsequent draft by Vaughan himself, which departed from his own comic considerably, was even less successful in convincing the studio to proceed.
Caruso maintained that the source material was too much to be told in one film and his team decided to concentrate on the best first film they could, which would end somewhere around issue 14 of the comic series. The entire comic series as a whole would be plotted into three films. Actor Shia LaBeouf, who has worked with these writers for the films Disturbia and Eagle Eye, has previously stated that he is unwilling to play the role of Yorick. According to LaBeouf, the role is far too similar to the character Sam Witwicky, which he portrays in the Transformers series. In an interview conducted by collider.com, LaBeouf stated that there is still a chance that he would be starring. Caruso planned to use a real monkey, and not a CGI construct, to play Ampersand. Caruso also said he would like to have Alicia Keys for the part of Agent 355. Zachary Levi, who plays the lead in the TV series Chuck, has expressed interest in playing Yorick as he is a fan of the comic book series, even going as far as having his character Chuck Bartowski read the Y: The Last Man graphic novel in the episode "Chuck Versus the Nacho Sampler".
Caruso remained "loosely attached" to the project, but New Line refused to acquiesce on its development as a stand-alone film as opposed to the trilogy Caruso (who has since moved on to direct the science fiction film I Am Number Four) preferred. Caruso, maintaining "I didn't think that you could take Yorick's story and put it in to a two-hour movie and do it justice... I just feel like it's too much for one screenplay," ultimately walked away from the project.
In March 2012, former Jericho writers Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia entered final negotiations to write New Line's adaptation of the series, following in the footsteps of Vintar, Vaughan, and Ellsworth. J.C. Spink, Chris Bender and David Goyer were attached to produce; Mason Novick and Jake Weiner are executive producers. Reports in September 2012 suggested New Line was enthusiastic about the draft screenplay produced by Federman and Scaia, and had begun the process of meeting potential directors to hire for the project.
In January 2013, it was announced that Dan Trachtenberg will direct the film. In June 2013, producer David Goyer announced having "a script that’s as close as it’s ever been," and suggested the film could go into production in 2014. However, in January 2014, Brian K. Vaughan stated "It's my understanding that the rights to Y: The Last Man will revert to co-creator Pia Guerra and me for the first time in a decade if the planned New Line adaptation doesn't start shooting in the next few months." On September 24, Trachtenberg tweeted that the film was "Not happening. But it's in trusted hands (the creators)." In a subsequent interview he noted that in fact, "The rights reverted back to Brian quite a few months ago."
New Line Cinema announced in June 2005 that it had optioned We3, with that comic's writer, Grant Morrison, then in negotiations to write the screenplay. On December 9, 2008, it was reported that John Stevenson, director of Kung Fu Panda was attached to the project as a director, and that New Line Cinema was no longer involved. As of November 2010[update], the status of the film is that Morrison has written the script, but the project appears to have stalled, partially due to concerns over the level of violence. Morrison said in an interview that "Relativity Pictures keeps saying they're doing it, and they still haven't done it", and that he cannot say anything more as it stands.
FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics film
In April 2014, Deadline announced the production of a movie adaptation of Vertigo's FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics. Justin Marks and David Goyer will be reuniting for the production of the film, with Nellie Reed producing. Since then, there has been no more announcements.
DMZ TV series
In February 2014 it was announced that Syfy is planning on making a TV series adaptation of the DMZ comics with former Mad Men writers and executive producers Andre and Maria Jacquemetton. Executive producer for the pilot is David Heyman, who previously worked on Harry Potter, Gravity and is working on the film adaptation of the Vertigo comic series Fables. No production news has followed since.
Amped/Jacked TV series
In April 2015, it was announced that Supernatural creator Eric Kripke is writing the comic book series called Amped (later retitled Jacked) for DC and Vertigo to be released in fall 2015. In the same time it was announced that USA Network are developing a TV adaptation of the comic book series. Kripke will serve as both writer and executive producer of the show. The series will be co-produced by Kripke Enterprises and Warner Horizon Television.
The Exterminators TV series
In July 2008, Showtime announced that it would develop the Vertigo series The Exterminators as a one-hour drama. The comic was created by writer Simon Oliver and artist Tony Moore. Executive producer Sara Colleton's credits include the Showtime hit drama Dexter. However, in February 2011, Oliver revealed in an interview that the project is currently in limbo.
Scalped TV series
In 2014 it was reported that WGN America was developing a live action TV show based on the Vertigo comic book series Scalped. The pilot order was given on March 7, 2016. In February 2017, Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi began directing the pilot, but in November, after WGN saw the pilot episode, they decided to abandon the series.
100 Bullets TV series
In June 23, 2011, IGN reported that David S. Goyer, co-writer of Dark City and The Dark Knight, was attached to executive produce and write a TV series based on 100 Bullets for Showtime. However, in a June 2013 interview with Ain't It Cool News, Goyer stated that the project got "incredibly close" at Showtime before being turned down due to a multitude of mass shootings across the United States. He called the sudden turn of events "frustrating", further stating, "At one point, I thought it was going to happen at Showtime. It got to the three-yard line."
100 Bullets film
On April 28, 2014, SciFiNow reported The Wall Street Journal's release of information regarding upcoming Warner Brothers films based on DC Comics properties. The films that were revealed to be in development included the much anticipated Justice League film; Shazam!, Fables, and 100 Bullets were among the other films listed, and are currently in varying stages of production. In August 2015, it was announced that a film adaptation is being produced by Tom Hardy with the option for him to star in the film. It was to be written by Chris Borrelli and distributed by New Line Cinema.
The Sandman film
Throughout the late 1990s, a film adaptation of The Sandman was periodically planned by Warner Bros., parent company of DC Comics. Roger Avary was originally attached to direct after the success of Pulp Fiction, collaborating with Pirates of the Caribbean screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio in 1996 on a revision of their first script draft, which merged the "Preludes and Nocturnes" storyline with that of "The Doll's House." Avary intended the film to be in part visually inspired by animator Jan Švankmajer's work. Avary was fired after disagreements over the creative direction with executive producer Jon Peters, best known for Batman and Superman Lives. It was due to their meeting on the Sandman film project that Avary and Gaiman collaborated one year later on the script for Beowulf. The project carried on through several more writers and scripts. A later draft by William Farmer, reviewed at Ain't It Cool News, was met with scorn from fans. Gaiman called the last screenplay that Warner Bros. would send him "not only the worst Sandman script I've ever seen, but quite easily the worst script I've ever read." Gaiman has said that his dissatisfaction with how his characters were being treated had dissuaded him from writing any more stories involving the Endless, although he has since written Endless Nights.
By 2001, the project had become stranded in development hell. In a Q&A panel at Comic-Con 2007, Gaiman remarked, "I'd rather see no Sandman movie made than a bad Sandman movie. But I feel like the time for a Sandman movie is coming soon. We need someone who has the same obsession with the source material as Peter Jackson had with Lord of the Rings or Sam Raimi had with Spider-Man." That same year, he stated that he could imagine Terry Gilliam as a director for the adaptation: "I would always give anything to Terry Gilliam, forever, so if Terry Gilliam ever wants to do Sandman then as far as I'm concerned Terry Gilliam should do Sandman." In 2013, DC President Diane Nelson said that a Sandman film would be as rich as the Harry Potter universe. David S. Goyer announced in an interview in early December that he would be producing an adaptation of the graphic novel, alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Neil Gaiman. Jack Thorne was hired to write the script. On October 16, 2014, Gaiman clarified that while the film was not announced with the DC slate by Warner Bros., it would instead be distributed by Vertigo and announced with those slate of films. Goyer told Deadline Hollywood in an interview that the studio was very happy with the film's script. According to Deadline.com, the film was to be distributed by New Line Cinema. In October 2015, Goyer revealed that a new screenwriter was being brought on board to revise the script by Jack Thorne and stated that he believed the film would go into production the following year. In March 2016, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Eric Heisserer was hired to rewrite the film's script. The next day, Gordon-Levitt announced that he had dropped out due to disagreements with the studio over the creative direction of the film. On November 9, 2016, i09 reported that Heisserer had turned in his draft of the script but left the film, stating that the film should be an HBO series instead.
The Sandman TV series
Due to the prolonged development period of the film, in 2010, DC Entertainment shifted focus onto developing a television series adaptation. Film director James Mangold pitched a series concept to cable channel HBO, whilst consulting with Gaiman himself on an unofficial basis, but this proved to be unsuccessful. It was reported in September 2010 that Warner Bros. Television was licensing the rights to produce a TV series, and that Supernatural creator Eric Kripke was their preferred candidate to adapt the saga. In March 2011, it was announced via Neil Gaiman's web blog that while he and DC liked Eric Kripke and his approach, it didn't feel quite right. The author hoped to launch the series in another form but plans for a television adaptation are on hold as production moves forward on the film. As the film adaptation of Morpheus' story was being planned, DC and Fox discussed in September about a possible TV series based on the Sandman character Lucifer.
HBO's Preacher TV series
HBO announced in November 2006 it was adapting Preacher as a one-hour television series, with a pilot episode written by Mark Steven Johnson and directed by Howard Deutch. However, in August 2008, series executive producer Mark Steven Johnson announced that the Preacher project was "dead at HBO."
Co-creators Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson were approached about making a Transmetropolitan film adaptation, with Patrick Stewart's production company Flying Freehold Productions offering to option the rights in February 2003. Later, the burgeoning Internet boom led to an offer to create an online animated film series, with Stewart providing the voice of Spider Jerusalem, but the project never fully developed. Ellis and Robertson have been rumored to have indicated that they would like to see Tim Roth play Jerusalem; however, during a panel at London's Kapow! comic convention Ellis said that there is no chance of seeing Spider Jerusalem on the big screen and Tim Roth was not discussed to play him, and explained that production costs would be too high to bring Transmetropolitan to the big screen. In 2010, Ellis noted in his Twitter account that production discussions have ceased.
Death: The High Cost of Living film
Since the late 1990s, a film based on Death: The High Cost of Living, to be called Death and Me, was under production at New Line Cinema. Neil Gaiman wrote the screenplay, and would also direct, with Guillermo del Toro as executive producer. Gaiman spent several days on the set of del Toro's film Hellboy II: The Golden Army to get pointers on how to direct. Other than two additional scenes at the beginning (set in a Tibetan monastery and Alaska), and a move from New York City to London for the main setting, the screenplay was relatively unchanged from the comic script. After being in development hell for several years, work on it was renewed in 2007, but quickly derailed again due to the WGA strikes. According to Gaiman, the studio "may still be New Line, but Warner Independent is keen on it too." Shia LaBeouf may have had a role in the film, possibly as the lead character Sexton, due to his help in trying to get the movie developed. On October 14, 2010 it was reported in an interview with Gaiman that as of June or July, DC and Warner Bros. had closed down work on the film and it was unclear if they would start it up again.
V for Vendetta TV series
Unfollow TV series
In November 2015, it was announced that ABC was developing a television project based on the Unfollow comic series from ‘’The Originals showrunner Michael Narducci. Since then, there has been no further announcements.
Survivors Club TV series
In November 2018, it was announced that The CW was developing a television project based on the Survivors Club comic series from Sweet/Vicious writer Jared Frieder and Hart of Dixie producer Len Goldstein. Since then, there has been no further announcements.
Ex Machina film
On July 14, 2005, New Line Cinema announced that they picked up the rights to make a film based on the Ex Machina comic book series. On August 17, 2012, Tony Harris stated that he and Brian K. Vaughan had reacquired the rights to the film adaptation. Since then, they have since yet to do anything with the film.
RED TV series
Battle Chasers film
The Boys film
Variety reported in February 2008 that Columbia Pictures had optioned the comic for a film adaptation, to be produced by Neal H. Moritz, and Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi writing the screenplay. In August 2010, Adam McKay said that he had been signed on to direct the film. McKay added, "They already have a script and we're doing a rewrite on it so hopefully getting the whole thing into shape in the Fall with maybe a shoot happening in January." Columbia Pictures reported in February 2012 that it had dropped its option regarding a film adaptation of The Boys. However, Adam McKay said in a Twitter response that Paramount Pictures had picked it up, and that it was still in the works. On April 30, 2013, Manfredi and Hay were hired by Paramount to write the film, though the project never came to fruition. Later it was announced that Amazon Prime bought the rights for a TV adaptation developed by Eric Kripke, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen.
In August 2007, Randy Queen, creator of the comic book character Darkchylde, revealed to Newsarama that a movie is in the works. In an interview with Nicholas Yanes from scifipulse.net, Queen was asked and responded to a question about a film/television adaptation of Darkchylde: "Yanes: For years now there have been rumors of Darkchylde being turned into an animated series, miniseries for a cable network and movie. Are you able to comment on Darkchylde’s potential future on in television and film? Any actresses you’d love to play Ariel? Queen: A movie makes so much sense it’s ridiculous, and all I can say is that we are working on it. I know that’s a frustrating answer for fans, but it’s a frustrating process. It’s probably best for me not to comment on actresses, so we’ll just all have to wait and see." Test footage from the set of Darkchylde emerged in July 2010 and on October 31, 2010, it was announced John Carpenter was to direct. Since then, there has not been any further announcements, falling into development hell.
In August 2008, Tom Cruise and Sam Raimi were in the process of creating a movie adaptation of Sleeper with Warner Bros., in which Cruise may have starred and Brad Inglesby is writing the screenplay, but this rumor went cold. In November 2013, the magazine Variety reported that Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Todd will produce the film and Shawn Ryan and David Wiener to pen the film. Since then, there has not been any further announcements, falling into development hell.
- List of unproduced Marvel Comics projects
- List of films based on DC Comics
- List of television series based on DC Comics
- List of films based on comics
- List of films based on English-language comics
- List of American superhero films
- List of comic-based films directed by women
- List of R-rated films based on comics
- List of unproduced Warner Bros. Animation projects
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