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I’m wondering why Hawkgirl wouldn’t work, unless it’s because even if you imagine with all your might a hot woman carrying a mace and then add CGI wings, the CGI wings make her look ridiculous? Is that why?

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DistantFred said on August 3rd, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Okay, Bluebeast has had a truly INSPIRED idea in swapping J’onn out for the Phantom Stranger, because damn if the Phantom Stranger isn’t perfect for the role of linking together seemingly unconnected stories.

Plus, that opens up the possibility for a Martian Manhunter movie, which is a whole lot more doable than I think is given credit for. It’s frankly, probably an easier project than Aquaman.

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philippos42 said on August 3rd, 2012 at 11:57 pm

JesseBaker, how many people really care about Hal Jordan? The ring is the power set, not “test pilot guy.” All the GL’s are different anyway:
Hal – test pilot, weird relationship with Carol
Guy – ex-social worker, brain damage victim
John – architect (was he a Marine in the TV version?)
Kyle – comic-book artist
Jennie-Lynn – orphan, photographer, hot chick, legacy

Oh, and Alan Scott was a railroad engineer originally, and his ring is different, too.

I still think GL is too silly to begin with, but it really doesn’t matter who has the ring. That’s the beauty of the concept.

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philippos42 said on August 4th, 2012 at 12:28 am

Hm. Maybe…

Between umpteen versions of Batman & Superman, the tv Wonder Woman, Super Friends, Super Powers, Batman: Brave and the Bold, Justice League/JLU, and Smallville, we don’t need to do origins, we know who these guys are.

Use that. Use the fact that these are familiar trademarks to jump right in the middle.

When you step back and look at it, rewriting an origin is pretty weird. “I want to prove I’m a good writer by copying some old story much of my audience already knows”?

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Brian T. said on August 4th, 2012 at 1:34 am

I dunno… I don’t think the general public (i.e., people who haven’t been reading comic books at least since the Nineties) would be too into the idea of a sentient race of humanoids with practically all of the commonly used superpowers living on Mars.

About the only time the Martian Manhunter made any sense to me was when somebody tried to retcon the matter transporter that brought him to earth into being a time machine. I’m okay with Mars having intelligent life at some point long before we started sending sample collecting robots there. But I’m not so into the classic Silver Age “I can’t go home! Even though Hawkman, Green Lantern or Wonder Woman could just give me a ride since they have adventures in outer space on a regular basis!” version of the character.

… maybe if the Martians were established as really being from some other planet, but then that would offend fans of the character…

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As a JLI fan I take offense to the idea that the JLA can’t be done without the big three. They did just fine with no Superman, minimal Batman, and just enough Wonder Woman to call it a cameo.

Plus, if you absolutely HAVE to put them in the League then they’re well known enough that they don’t need origin movies. At the most you do a World’s Finest/Trinity/Brave and the Bold/whatever team-up for the purposes of establishing connections to a larger DCU.

And please get a decent Green Lantern character and actor this time. ANYONE else would do.

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Brian T. said on August 4th, 2012 at 2:27 am

I’m digging the idea of using Black Canary, but I would prefer to keep it simple: she’s an amazing martial artist and spy/saboteur-type who occasionally uses her sonic scream power instead of carrying a gun.

I used to be a huge DC fan until a couple of reboots ago, but the problem with a lot of DC characters is that they’re only cool to people who started reading about them when they were young. Or people who read Silver Age comics “ironically.”

Starro is one of those characters that the general public would have a hard time taking seriously. Despero can be a legitimate threat, but his crappy Silver Age name works against him (see also: Sinestro).

The Phantom Stranger is awesome, but his name kind of sucks. It sounds to me like something from an old radio serial, but I could see it not making sense to people who don’t know as much about comics as we do. See also: Deathstroke the Terminator. Great character, unfortunate name that would seem really stupid to a lot of people. Also, the fedora might not work for modern audiences…

I agree that it would be really hard to make the general public like Aquaman–mostly because he was so dang useless in the old Super Friends cartoons and that’s the version most people still know best. Aquaman just doesn’t really work unless you’re either a big Peter David fan or you have fond memories of his old pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths adventures.

Somebody mentioned Hawkgirl… I loved Hawkman and Hawkwoman as a kid back in the Eighties, but I was really glad about the Hawkworld reboot because it came along right around when I started wondering about the effectiveness of their crime fighting methods. Other than somehow being able to hit somebody with a studded mace without seriously injuring them, Hawkman really wasn’t good for much most of the time.

It’s not so much the wings as having your only well-known superpower being flight when a bunch of other superheroes can fly faster than him and do a bunch of other stuff. Which may explain why Johns gave him a bunch of dumb new powers, but anyway…

A guy who flies at, say, 120 m.p.h. and uses pre-gunpowder weapons mostly because they look cool just isn’t as impressive as a guy with a power ring. Or a guy who can run faster than him. Or the guy who talks to fish.

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I guess I would do

Supes
Bats
Wonder Woman
Flash
Green Lantern.

Keep it really simple. Instead of bringing a bunch of characters, focus on the main 5, make them compelling in a way that DC movies have been unable to do, and differentiate this group from the Avengers – the Starro idea is good. You can do a surreal cosmic thing with the JLA without it being too weird. Whedon’s space invasion of NYC was a little out in left field for me, but for the JLA, that sort of thing works.

Then again, I don’t dig the JLA. I’m more of an Azrael/Nightwing fan.

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I like it. Zatanna’s always been a good addition to a superman-based team since his major weakness is, um, her major strength. So you’re kind of covering all your bases by teaming them up, and I think the only reason they don’t get teamed up more is the massive stylistic/thematic incongruities. But we can manifest those as social/organisational issues, just like with Captain America and Iron Man, thus also allowing a dramatic finally-we-can-work-together moment that stops them being unbeatable too early in the movie.

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…..also if somebody does not cast Emma Stone as Zatanna soon I may actually explode.

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SilverHammerMan said on August 4th, 2012 at 10:46 am

Brian, I think the beauty of the Martians-as-shapeshifters is that they don’t have to be humanoid aliens. Yeah, J’onn J’onzz looks like a green human for the most part, but that’s because it’s how he chooses to look for the people on Earth, the natural Martian form could be whatever, it could be a weird tentacle-beast or a sentient frog, it doesn’t particularly matter.
I’m totally with you on the transporter also being a time machine though. It gets rid of some of the goofiness and raised questions and allows for some survivor’s guilt that differs from Superman’s in that Supes never new his home, J’onn grew up there and had a life, only to have it lost forever. It could work as a good contrast.

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Ha! I wrote something similar in the comments somewhere. Even down to J’onn playing the Coulson role. Probably a John Seavey article.

Here’s how I’d change it. Start with (depending on how Man of Steel turns out) Superman. If Man of Steel works out, it’s the sequel. If it doesn’t, a soft reboot. Then Wonder Woman. She’s the real start of the JL series. Then JL. JL is say three years after WW, and it’s all about how superheroes are coming out of the woodwork. We’d have cameos of bunches of fan favorites. It’s establishing that there are super heroes everywhere without having to explain all these origins. Enter the founders: Green Lantern (John Stewart version), the Flash, Aquaman, and Vixen (inspired choice from the commenters). They are rounded up by J’onn, who doesn’t reveal his true identity until later on – or perhaps now, so as to not ruin Batman’s reveal. J’onn reveals that behind this explosion of superheroes is a sinister force, seeking to essentially make metahumans weapons of the state (a la Civil War). He wants to create a task force of good that will create a shining example that all heroes stand up to…while also uncovering the evil underfoot. Halfway through the movie, evil makes its move. And boy is the move big. Using a Stamford-esque incident, the world governments turn on their heroes. Suddenly loads of the heroes are revealed to be government agents, rounding up the actual heroes in one fell swoop. The JL are caught in a trap that they cannot escape – J’onn, captured and tortured, has revealed their weaknesses. It is at this point that he is revealed as a martian. Maybe. Possibly also one of the characters has a relationship with a government hero and that reveals their particular secret. Just when everything looks to go to shit, Batman comes and saves the day.

Who’s behind all this? Lex Luthor. And with the exception of the JL, who’ve gone into hiding, his plan has worked masterfully. Superman is off planet, chasing a bogus alien invasion. Diana is defending Themyscira from a global invasion force made up of the world’s most despotic nations (since her message is essentially dangerous to their continued rule). The JL (now including Batman), full of discord for both J’onn’s reveal (he hid his real identity, he had dossiers on all of them) make a Hail Mary play: free all the superheroes and call back Superman.

The JL get caught and it looks like it’s the end. The twist: they freed the superheroes. And then they sent them to Themyscira. Diana is on her way. But it might not be soon enough for our heroes, when Big Blue comes in and together they bust shit up. (This is one point that I’m still unsure about…Superman’s sudden arrival can deflate the efforts and roles of the JL).

Superman and Wonder Woman sequel. Maybe a Batman and another hero to build up for JL sequel, which will be very much like the animated universe’s JL Unlimited.

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Go straight to Batman versus Superman. (Someone is obviously setting them up.) Batman recruits the League. He’s the Great Detective. We see him track down the Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern in whatever order is most compelling. Have a good reason why Clark Kent is not immediately outed as Superman that ties into the plot.

The Wonder Woman problem: have her be out of her time as well. She’s a 1940s hero like Captain America. She’s naturally ageless. (The sexual tension will be between Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Namor him up just a bit. Flash and Green Dogwelder — if not John Stewart — just don’t get it.)

The first climactic fight will be JLA minus Superman versus Superman. Batman realizes Superman isn’t the droid he’s looking for, big character moments as they learn to “trust but verify”.

They work as a team, and find the *real* threat. Insert villain here. Maybe they rescue the Martian Manhunter.

The next movie is the Justice League movie. If Batman versus Superman had a science fiction gimmick, the second movie should have a supernatural theme. The Big Two have their origins in death, after all. Then they could work in Black Lanterns, the Phantom Stranger, Zatanna, John Constantine, Swamp Thing, whatever the hell they want.

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DistantFred said on August 4th, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Brian T. – Yeah, at this point it basically has to be assumed that the teleporter has to also be a time machine… but that, if anything, makes it easier to make the badguy in his movie another Martian. Like Malefic or Blanx.

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More thoughts …

Try to cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Batman if you can. Don’t bother explaining his origin. That works on two levels; either you assume this follows Nolan’s Batman trilogy and this is Batman II or you just figure that Batman’s origin has been explained enough times that everyone knows it and there’s no point in wasting another movie on it.

I sort of like the idea of someone gathering the team but I’d rather it wasn’t Martian Manhunter or Phantom Stranger. Use Maxwell Lord, Amanda Waller (the Wall, not the twig), King Faraday, or even Snapper Carr (if you want to go really old-school). Then reveal the character as an agent of Starro who just wanted all of Earth’s greatest defenders in one place. From there its Starro-controlled heroes vs free heroes (who sort of have to be the underdogs power-wise). If you don’t think Starro can carry the movie (and it totally can) then have it working with Brainiac or someone.

But don’t use Darksied; that will just invite comparisons with the end of the Avengers movie.

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Scavenger said on August 7th, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I think you can get Aquaman to bad ass real easily if you go the way Priest intro’d Panther…focus on the KING aspect, not the hero. (which is pretty much, iirc, what the JL cartoon did).

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Halloween Jack said on August 8th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

A few things about this.

1) Do not, I repeat, do not feel bound by the comics, not just the specific plotlines but the characters in general. The movies aren’t a “spin-off” of the comics; they are orders of magnitude more lucrative, and popular, and the tail needs to stop wagging the dog. Major clue: the Batman movies weren’t successful in spite of kicking comics continuity to the curb, but because of it.

2) Pursuant to #1, Green Lantern is a black woman. Four GLs from Earth, and they’re all dudes? Who dealt that mess of a sausage fest? If you’re going to reboot, reboot big or go home. Ryan Reynolds will get other parts, I’m sure.

3) No Starro, except as a punchline. Compare the big bads from the first two Star Trek films, or consider Dust Bunny Galactus from the second FF movie. Even if Thanos does show up in Avengers 2, bring in Darkseid and show everyone who’s the original and who’s the wannabe.

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Love the ideas, MGK, but there is one thing missing: A Nightwing flick, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt! I know I’m like the umpteenth person to mention this idea, but still. JGL! Nightwing! Just sayin’. Think it could be awesome.

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