Thanksgiving is right around the corner and there’s plenty to be thankful for this holiday season. Personally, I’m thankful for a lot of things. My friends, my family, my job, and the fact that I never had to sit through these terrible superhero movies:
(I got a lot of this information from Screenrant’s “20 Canceled Superhero Movies We’ll Never Get To See” and from YouTuber Cutshort. His videos are spectacular and if you are interested in learning about canceled movies and what led to their downfall, I would highly recommend you visit his channel. I’ll also leave a link to his videos on each of the superhero movies listed below)
Spider-Man 3 is widely regarded as the worst film of the Sam Raimi trilogy. This was due to many things. Peter and Mary Jane’s relationship problems took up a good chunk of the screen time. Venom, Sandman, and Green Goblin 2.0 had to share the scraps of what was left. Topher Grace’s performance as Venom was…not so great. To top it all off, the film featured way too many dance numbers that would make you question what movie you bought a ticket to.
Despite this, Sam Raimi wanted to do right by this franchise with its sequel, Spider-Man 4. Venom’s involvement in Spider-Man 3 was mainly the studio’s doing. Raimi just wasn’t comfortable with his knowledge or understanding of the character (he instead wanted to focus on Sandman and Harry as the main villains). This is something he wanted to avoid with Spider-Man 4.
Spider-Man 4 was set to bring Tobey Maguire’s Spidey back to battle two major villains. Vulture and Felicia Hardy. These two would’ve been played by John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway respectively. Hardy is notoriously known as the expert thief, Black Cat. However, Spider-Man 4 would have put Hardy in another role. As Vulture’s partner, Vultress. Mysterio, played by Bruce Campbell, would have also made an appearance. This version of the character would’ve been a comedic villain for the movie’s first act. Studio meddling ultimately led to Raimi leaving the project.
Although I loved these movies, I think this particular project would have failed for a few reasons. First, I think that some people were done with this franchise after the failure of Spider-Man 3. Second, changing Felicia Hardy into a sidekick for Vulture seemed totally out of left field and out of character. Finally, it was said that the studio once again meddled in Raimi’s plans as they wanted the director to include The Lizard as another main antagonist. This would have bogged down Spider-Man 4 with too many villains much like its predecessor. The Lizard would go on to be featured in Sony’s reboot of the franchise, Amazing Spider-Man.
(Click here to see Cutshort’s Spider-Man 4 video that goes into why it failed and more casting information for the canceled project)
Joel Schumacher’s Batman universe isn’t highly regarded by many out there today. It was cheesy, over the top, and was the home of the infamous bat-nipples. Batman and Robin was the end of Schumacher’s set of Batman movies but it wasn’t supposed to be.
Getting to the point, Schumacher planned for a new film that could potentially act as a finale to the franchise called Batman: Triumphant. This movie would star Nicholas Cage as Scarecrow and reportedly either Courtney Love or Madonna as Harley Quinn (who would be the Joker’s daughter in this movie). Scarecrow and Harley would have been our main antagonists against a now alone Batman (yes, Robin leaves again). An inner mental breakdown of Bruce Wayne would have also seen the return of Jack Nicholson’s Joker. The final battle would feature Batman against Scarecrow, Harley, and all of his past foes via fear toxin (Two-Face, Penguin, Riddler, Joker, etc.). All seems lost until Robin returns and the two team up once again. After defeating all of his former enemies, Bruce has finally triumphed over his fears.
Look, Cutshort and Den of Geek go into the demise of Triumphant a lot better than the paragraph above. Not all of this movie sounded that bad. Nicholas Cage as Scarecrow is perfect casting and the idea of Batman facing off against all of his enemies at once sounds amazing on paper.
That being said, there are creative decisions that were just baffling. Robin abandons Bruce again. No Batgirl to be seen. Harley Quinn is The Joker’s daughter? Yikes.
Batman and Robin destroyed this franchise and even if Batman: Triumphant released, I couldn’t see it fixing the past mistakes from the Schumacherverse.
(Click here to see Cutshort’s video on the plot of Batman: Triumphant and why it never released)
Amazing Spider-Man 3
When Sony and Sam Raimi parted ways, the studio went full force into developing a reboot for the Spider-Man franchise. This gave us 2012’s Amazing Spider-Man. This new take on Spider-Man looked to be set in a more gritty and realistic world, akin to Nolan’s The Dark Knight universe. It’s sequel, Amazing Spider-Man 2, attempted to expand on that universe by laying the groundwork for the Sinister Six.
Ultimately, TASM2 fell short in just about every possible way. It was a seen as a failure from critics and moviegoers alike. Its story was a jumbled mess, featured too many villains, and only looked to be a set-up for Sony’s Sinister Six spin-off project. In the box office, Sony didn’t see much hope either. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 sits as the lowest grossing film among all of the Spider-Man movies (including the Raimi and MCU universe).
Amazing Spider-Man 3’s plot details are, just like TASM2, a jumbled mess. Dennis Leary, who played Gwen Stacey’s father in the original and died at the end of the film at the hands of The Lizard, said that there was an idea floating around for Peter to obtain a potion that could return dead loved ones. There was also talk of the entire Sinister Six making an appearance, as well as Chris Cooper’s Norman Osborn and Venom. I’m not sure if the alternate ending of TASM2 would’ve played a factor in any way, which saw the return of Peter’s not-so-dead father.
If you read what I just wrote above, I trust that you should know this sequel would have been absolutely awful. All of this honestly sounds like some really bad fan-fiction. But, seeing as Sony has been known to overstuff their films in the past, it’s not too far-fetched to believe that this was the plan for the third Amazing Spider-Man movie.
(Click here to see Cutshort’s video on why Amazing Spider-Man 3 was canceled)
Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman
Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman is looked today by many as the best DCEU film to date. Gal Gadot totally owned the role of the Amazon Warrior. Not only that but Chris Pine as Steve Trevor and the awesome soundtrack stood out as strong bullet points for Wonder Woman’s success.
In 2006, Joss Whedon was set to direct a Wonder Woman solo film. Keep in mind, this is right off the heels of Nolan’s Batman Begins. Whedon wanted How I Met Your Mother star Cobie Smulders in the lead role. It also would have been set in the present day.
You’re probably thinking that this doesn’t sound that bad. You’re right. But here’s where it goes downhill. Apparently, the movie would have been from the perspective of Steve Trevor. A Wonder Woman movie where Wonder Woman isn’t even the main character. That’s enough to make it on this list alone.
It gets worse. The first draft script of the scrapped film shows that Steve Trevor would have been an unlikeable protagonist who constantly puts down Diana. In pretty much every fight, Wonder Woman came off as weak and ultimately lost. Finally, this script featured Diana piloting the invisible jet.
Long story short, I’m glad that this movie never saw the light of day. Other than Cobie Smulders as Wonder Woman, this project looked like a catastrophe waiting to happen. After researching this, I think it’s probably for the best that Whedon stepped away from the upcoming Batgirl solo project.
(Click here to see Cutshort’s video that fully dives into some plot details of the canceled Wonder Woman movie. I recommend you skip ahead to about the 2-minute mark to hear a direct quote from the script that should provide proof on why Steve Trevor would’ve been a horrible protagonist)
Batman vs. Superman
No, I’m not talking about that trainwreck. Zack Snyder put together the first mash-up of these two iconic heroes in 2016’s Batman v. Superman. And if you never watched this battle, well, let’s just say that it wasn’t received very well.
So what if I told you that there was a Batman vs. Superman film in the works years earlier that would have actually been much worse for DC Comics. Sounds difficult for some out there to stomach but that was a very good possibility in the early 2000s.
Secretly under the codename “Asylum”, this Batman vs. Superman would have featured Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent as friends from the beginning. Their lives aren’t all that great though. Clark and Lois are divorced. Bruce has lost Robin (Dick Grayson), Commissioner Gordon, Alfred, and even the Joker. Despite this, Bruce finds love and gets married. Clark is actually his best man.
However, the story takes a dark turn soon after this. Bruce’s wife is murdered by a toy bee (yes, a toy bee) carrying Joker toxin, sending Bruce into a rage. He once again dons the cowl, hellbent on killing those responsible for his wife’s death. Superman plays the boy scout, trying to talk Batman out of his revenge quest.
Christian Bale was reportedly considered for the role of Batman with Jude Law rumored to play Supes. Matt Damon was also rumored for both roles. Bale, of course, would go on to play the world’s greatest detective in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy.
Honestly, I’ve done quite a bit of research on this project and it didn’t sound that bad. It is similar to Snyder’s BvS but this version seemed more structured. The idea of Bruce and Clark as friends from the start sounded cool and there are some fun (but cheesy) twists to read about.
The reason why Batman vs. Superman makes this list is that although it seemed to be a fun action movie, it just came at the wrong time. WB had yet to make Batman Begins and if this flick got into full production, we never would have seen Nolan’s movies and its universe come to fruition. This means we wouldn’t have seen the grounded universe Nolan created nor would we have seen Heath Ledger’s legendary portrayal as The Joker.
(Click here to see Cutshort’s video on the full plot details of Batman vs. Superman, as well as why it never happened)
Do you agree with my list of superhero movies that thankfully never happened? What canceled movies are you glad never saw the light of day? Let us know in the comments below!
Avid gamer and placeholder of what is now the worst selfie of all time. Mostly an Xbox/PS4 player but I have been known to destroy friendships in Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.