It’s been a trying past 15 months for the movie industry. Comic book and superhero movie fans were left hanging as 2020 delayed every major film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and whatever DC has cooked up.
But, knock on wood, movies are slowly coming back whether it’s through your local cinema or through streaming services. Both Marvel and DC have a combined 20+ films in the works with nearly a dozen releasing in the next two years alone.
The MCU is more limited in what it can cover given the shared universe, but DC essentially downplaying its shared universe gives it more freedom to explore different stories of contrasting tones.
Let’s explore some powerful and timely stories DC can bring to the big screen taking into account a more multicultural universe just like this year’s Oscars unabashedly pushing that theme.
Green Lantern: Beware My Power! (1970)
It’s been almost a decade now since Ryan Reynolds’s embarrassing turn as Hal Jordan in the 2011 film. This franchise is due for a reboot and DC has been keeping things hush hush on a potential movie based on the Corps.
But DC can do a complete facelift on this franchise by switching the role from Jordan’s entitled white guy act to that of John Stewart, DC’s first black superhero and a character who’s had to deal with adversity even against Jordan and his microaggressions.
Beware My Power! stands as Stewart’s origin story. But instead of being a simple substitute to Jordan or Guy Gardner, DC can just outright make Stewart the Green Lantern.
Atom: Sword of the Atom (1983)
We jump from a black superhero to an Asian one in Ryan Choi, who took up the mantle of Atom in place of Ryan Palmer. Choi was recently introduced in Zack Snyder’s Justice League and while we don’t have to stick with this version of the character, it at least familiarizes him to the fans.
Sword of the Atom remains one of The Atom’s most popular story arcs and can be adapted to look like a cross between Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!, Journey To The Center of the Earth 2, and Marvel’s Ant-Man.
While the comic had Palmer in this role, DC can adapt it to have Choi in his place. This should not only give DC their own Asian superhero in the cinematic universe but a fantastic and family-friendly adventure as well.
Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-86)
Had the Snyderverse actually come to fruition, DC may have their cinematic equivalent to Marvel’s Infinity Gauntlet saga. Alas, the Snyderverse remains but the fans’ petition until further notice.
Given the mess an extended universe created for DC, the studio hasn’t done much to connect their recent releases. But if it wanted to restart things, Crisis on Infinite Earths would, dare I say, seamlessly integrate all their movies and characters.
This popular story arc pits the many DC universes and squishes it into one unified universe. In the comics, several beloved characters like Barry Allen and Supergirl die, which could also be DC’s excuse to kill off and/or retcon several maligned films on their roster.
Kingdom Come (1996)
As far as alternate storylines in either DC or Marvel goes, Kingdom Come is the crown jewel. This is what Marvel’s Civil War could have been if it wasn’t so coy at raising the stakes and eliminating a good portion of its characters.
Kingdom Come tells the story of a war between three factions: the out-of-touch “traditional” superheroes led by Superman, the amoral and “pragmatic” set of new vigilantes, and Batman and his group attempting to keep the peace.
Of course, Lex Luthor and his group of baddies are also involved and what we get is an all-out war with the fate of the planet and every hero’s (and villain’s) life on the line. Though written 25 years ago, the themes of this story couldn’t be more apt for today.
Superman: Red Son (2003)
There is a new Superman reboot coming to the DC Universe and rumors are already hot that it will be an “alternative” take on the Man of the Steel. So why not Red Son?
Any new portrayals of the world’s most popular superhero is welcome and Red Son takes a simple question and turns it into a critically acclaimed story: what if Superman had been raised in the Soviet Union?
As far as combustible stories would go, this would take the top prize, especially with today’s political climate and the dreaded concept of “socialism”. DC can also substitute Superboy or a similar character if using the iconic hero is too hot.