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33 Failed Marvel Films & TV Reveals You (Want You) Forgot

With how massively profitable Marvel Studios films are–they’ve raked in nearly $30 billion on the worldwide field office–it’s exhausting to keep in mind that for each profitable undertaking, there are others which are by no means introduced, sputter out, or fail spectacularly. There are such a lot of iconic pre-Marvel Cinematic Universe initiatives just like the Nineteen Nineties X-Males collection and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, however what in regards to the Improbable 4 film that was reportedly made simply to hold onto rights and never meant to be launched? Or the handful of made-for-TV films that introduced Hulk, Thor, Daredevil, and Physician Unusual into our houses a long time earlier than they made it large on the large display screen?

There are dozens–literally dozens–of Marvel initiatives which were all however forgotten by time, and others that reside on in infamy, just like the 1986 Howard the Duck film. This record goes all the best way again to 1950, when first makes an attempt have been made to develop a Namor tv show–a man in swim trunks is a straightforward costume to make, after all–up by means of the most recent cancelations of Hulu animated collection earlier than they may even hit the service.

What counts as a failure right here? The one uniting factor right here is that these initiatives all failed to depart a optimistic mark on popular culture. The record consists of blockbuster films that owned their field workplace debuts and exhibits that went on for a couple of season, however in these circumstances, folks bear in mind the dangerous greater than the nice. Learn on for the failures of Marvel TV and film–missed potential, tiny budgets, shifts in company route are all right here.

1. Namor (1950)

Little or no is understood in regards to the Namor show aside from it was set to star Richard Egan (Pollyanna) within the title position. Sadly, it by no means went very far, nor did a Sub-Mariner collection that was developed within the ’70s.

2. Dr. Unusual (1978)

Lengthy earlier than Benedict Cumberbatch performed Dr. Unusual, Peter Hooten performed the nice physician within the 1978 made-for-TV film named after the primary character. The 1978 Dr. Strange movie was meant to be a pilot for a tv collection, however as Stan Lee famous in a later interview, the film aired reverse Roots. Lee was usually pleased with the manufacturing, nevertheless it by no means made it previous the pilot stage. Whereas the star himself did not do a lot else of word, Morgan Le Fay is performed by Jessica Walter, who trendy TV followers will bear in mind as Arrested Growth’s Lucille Bluth and Archer’s Malory Archer.

3. Captain America (1979)

Cap received his first film in 1979, wherein Steve Rogers, performed by Reb Brown, lived out of a conversion van as an artist. A bunch of difficult plot stuff occurs and he will get the serum his father developed that offers him superpowers. He has a high-tech bike with turbo boosters that he launches out of the again of his van. The costume appeared extra like that of somebody who jumps over a number of automobiles on their bike, although on the finish of the movie–and for the sequel, Captain America II: Dying Too Quickly–he will get a dressing up that is nearer to the standard one. However even that one nonetheless entails a cumbersome bike helmet that retains the outfit from trying like something aside from a tacky Halloween costume.

4. Marvel Animated Reveals (Eighties)

Quite a few characters, together with Iron Man, Ant-Man, and Daredevil have been thought of for collection, with writers and artists employed to construct bibles for the exhibits. A Daredevil present even made it onto ABC’s schedule at one level and featured Daredevil and a seeing-eye canine helper for the Man With out Worry.

The Younger Astronauts (1985)

The Younger Astronauts is a chunk of misplaced media that might be the poster youngster for badly-timed content material if anybody really remembered it. This animated collection was produced in cooperation between Marvel and the Younger Astronauts Council and was meant to get youngsters taken with the true Younger Astronauts program. Like Misplaced in House, it adopted a household and their adventures in house. Reportedly, although, the primary episode aired on January 25, 1985–just a couple of days earlier than the Challenger tragedy, wherein NASA’s Challenger shuttle tragically exploded throughout its launch. CBS reportedly shelved the present after that, and its existence is simply remembered by means of some animation cels, a couple of movies posted on-line, and the phrase of people that labored on it.

6. Howard the Duck (1986) (Film)

Following the massive success of the unique Star Wars trilogy, George Lucas turned his consideration to adapting a comic book guide. Lucasfilm produced the William Huyck-directed movie Howard the Duck, which starred Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins as two people who crew up with Howard after he is out of the blue transported from his dwelling on DuckWorld to Earth. Whereas the film had some praiseworthy visible results for the time, it’s in any other case largely considered one of many worst films ever.

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7. Thor (1988) through The Unbelievable Hulk Returns

Do you know that Marvel’s The Avengers (2012) is not the primary time that Thor and Hulk appeared on-screen collectively? That honor goes to the 1988 made-for-TV film The Unbelievable Hulk Returns, a continuation of The Unbelievable Hulk, the tv collection that ran from 1978 to 1982, starring Invoice Bixby and Lou Ferrigno as David Banner and the Hulk. Within the movie, Banner meets a person named Donald Blake who can summon Thor from a hammer by talking Odin’s title. It was meant to behave as a backdoor pilot for a Thor TV collection, however whereas the film itself was a rankings success, the Thor TV collection by no means got here to fruition. This model of Thor is neither Asgardian, nor a god, and he can’t fly or management the climate. His hammer is not even known as Mjolnir. However we are able to think about this the start of the MMFTMU, or Marvel Made-For-TV Film Universe, nevertheless it’s not the tip precisely. Hold studying to see who else this model of the Hulk crossed over with only a yr later.

8. The Punisher (1989) (Film)

After maybe Spider-Man, no single Marvel character has extra films named after him than The Punisher. His first film arrived in 1989 and featured motion star Dolph Lundgren (real-life 4th Dan black belt with a grasp’s diploma in chemical engineering) as Frank Fortress. The film is usually considered dangerous, and it appears much less like a Punisher film and extra like a film that includes a personality that bears putting resemblance to the Punisher.

9. Solarman (Eighties) (Animated)

Solarman is Marvel by technicality, so we’re together with it. Solarman was a one-shot animated particular that was initially meant to be a pilot for a collection in regards to the character. Solarman was created in 1979 by David Oliphant and Deborah Kalman of Pendulum Press, an organization specializing in youngsters’s academic materials. The character was meant to convey consideration to various gas sources following the Nineteen Seventies vitality disaster. Like so many different heroes, it began with an alien giving an earthling a bracelet and a robotic companion. Marvel licensed the character, however Oliphant put up a lot of the cash for the pilot, permitting his firm to retain rights. The episode was created someday between 1986 and 1988 (sources range on this), however the present by no means made it to collection. The one episode lastly aired in 1992, per week earlier than Fox debuted the fan-favorite X-Males animated collection.

10. Daredevil (1989) through The Trial of the Unbelievable Hulk

In case your plan would not work the primary time, strive, strive once more. Whereas Thor’s visitor look within the Unbelievable Hulk TV film did not encourage sufficient like to get him his personal collection, Daredevil’s look within the 1989 TV film The Trial of the Unbelievable Hulk… additionally did not work out. This film is a direct sequel to the Return and was launched only a yr later. Banner continues to be on the run and runs afoul of Wilson Fisk. That results in him teaming up with Daredevil to struggle the Kingpin. Additionally, there isn’t a trial within the film, other than one which Banner imagines in a nightmare. However hey, who knew we received Daredevil’s black costume again in 1989? Invoice Bixby would play the Hulk yet one more time in 1990’s Dying of the Unbelievable Hulk, however the film targeted on Banner and Hulk and didn’t cross over with one other character in that movie.

11. X-Males: Pryde of the X-Males (Late ’80s) (Animated)

Pryde of the X-Males was an animated tv pilot that was broadcast in 1989 that targeted on, who else, however the X-Males’s personal Kitty Pryde. The pilot takes the crew, together with new recruit Pryde, into house to struggle Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The present by no means made it to collection. Apparently, the present’s funds got here from the RoboCop animated series–Marvel shifted the funding from that collection, making this as a substitute of a thirteenth RoboCop episode.

12. Captain America (Early ’90s) (Animated)

Not like so most of the animated exhibits on this record, Captain America’s animated collection by no means made it to the pilot stage. Whereas at the very least seven episodes have been written, a 60-second demo reel is all that was ever animated, as Marvel’s monetary issues claimed Captain America and a bunch of different exhibits in numerous levels of manufacturing.

13. Captain America (1990) (Film)

Captain America’s second cinematic outing appeared in 1990. The film was initially meant to be a theatrical movie starring Jeff Bridges as Cap and Peter Fonda because the Crimson Cranium. As so typically occurs with licensed films, although, it sat in manufacturing lengthy sufficient that the rights have been offered off and ended up with the Cannon Group. The film was delayed a number of occasions earlier than a 1992 direct-to-video launch. The film’s Captain America costume is way more devoted to the comics, and the film has Cap going through off in opposition to Crimson Cranium throughout each World Conflict II and modern-day, nevertheless it’s usually considered being a nasty film.

14. Energy Pack (1991)

Energy Pack, which follows 4 younger siblings with superpowers, was meant to be a live-action collection geared toward youngsters. The present was by no means picked up for collection, however the 27-minute episode has been aired as a standalone TV film a couple of occasions and has the children exploring the haunted mansion of Dr. Morbius.

15. Physician Mordrid (1992)

One other Unusual manufacturing made it to the end line in 1992, however by the point it was prepared for launch, the license holders had misplaced the Physician Unusual license and launched it as Doctor Mordrid. The film was directed by the father-son duo of Albert and Charles Band, who additionally introduced us B-movie classics like Robotic Jox and Re-Animator.

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16. The Improbable 4 (1994) (Film)

The 1994 Improbable 4 film is without doubt one of the most notorious failures in Marvel cinematic historical past. Produced by Constantin Movie, the film was made after which, shortly earlier than launch, pulled from schedules, with the actors even being given cease-and-desist orders to stop additional promotion. It had gotten trailers and protection in magazines throughout this time. Stan Lee stated in 2005 that the film was by no means really meant to be launched and was made as a manner for rights-holder Bernd Eichinger to retain the rights, although Eichinger has disputed this. In the event you look exhausting sufficient, you will discover bootlegs of the unreleased film on-line.

17. Era X (1996)

Era X feels, in a manner, like a predecessor to exhibits like Smallville. This TV film was a spin-off of the X-Males, that includes Jubilee, Emma Frost, and Sean Cassidy as main characters, preventing in opposition to a person named Russell Tresh who wished to create his personal mutant powers to manage the world’s goals. It is usually considered a nasty film. Notably, although, it made use of Hatley Fortress because the setting for Xavier’s faculty within the film, and the identical location can be used later in six completely different X-Males movies, beginning with X2, in addition to in Smallville and Arrow. That is essentially the most notable factor about this TV film that gestured at live-action X-Males however by no means received shut sufficient to matter.

18. Nick Fury: Agent of Protect (1998) (Film)

Fox wasn’t executed with Marvel TV films, although. Earlier than comics author Mark Millar reimagined Nick Fury within the picture of Samuel L. Jackson in 2002, the character was a middle-aged white man in blue spandex and white boots. Fox TV put the then-hot actor David Hasselhoff within the titular position (Baywatch was on in one thing like 140 international locations round this time), and made a forgettable TV film about Fury and SHIELD battling Hydra to cease them from unleashing a virus in New York Metropolis. A handful of characters that might later seem within the MCU present up right here, together with not simply this earlier model of Fury, but additionally Lisa Rinna as SHIELD Agent Contessa Valentina ‘Val’ Allegra De Fontaine, Garry Chalk as Dum-Dum Dugan, Peter Haworth as Arnim Zola, and Campbell Lane as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker.

19. Daredevil (2003) (Film)

Daredevil adopted sizzling on the heels of 2002’s triumphant Spider-Man film directed by Sam Raimi. Lengthy earlier than Ben Affleck would play Batman, he performed Red Batman, higher generally known as Daredevil. Daredevil had a star-studded forged that included Affleck’s future spouse Jennifer Garner as Elektra Natchios, Colin Farrell as Bullseye, MCU originator and Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau as Foggy Nelson, and the late Michael Clarke Duncan as Wilson Fisk. This film is extra of a failure looking back, because it was comparatively profitable on the field workplace on the time, opening with the second-biggest February opening of all time.

Crucial response was blended, however Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and highlighted Duncan as a very efficient member of the forged. Stan Lee would later say that the screenwriters “wrote the entire thing improper” by making the character of Matt Murdock “too tragic.” We surprise what Lee considered Netflix’s Daredevil. The movie hasn’t aged nicely with followers, nevertheless, and is trotted out as one of many examples of dangerous Marvel flicks from earlier than the MCU. Director Marc Steven Johnson additionally blamed himself for wanting to place too many issues in–the movie launched Elektra, Foggy, Bullseye, Wilson Fisk, and Ben Urich in 103 minutes, whereas the Netflix collection did that throughout three seasons of tv.

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20. Elektra (2005) (Film)

Whereas a Daredevil sequel was thought of, the studio first wished to check the waters with an Elektra spin-off. Jennifer Garner reprised the position of Elektra Natchios in a film that went on to grow to be each a important and industrial failure. My greatest reminiscence of the film is Jennifer Garner saying the phrase “sensei” (Japanese for trainer or mentor) as “sensai.”

21. The Punisher (2004)

What in case you took the Punisher and moved him from the gritty streets of New York and down south to Miami? This film places Tom Jane within the titular position and there may be enjoyable available here–as a easy revenge film, there are lots of enjoyable concepts and Jane brings Fortress to life as a troubled however relentless fighter who finally ends up not simply going for revenge however to guard a short lived discovered household. It’s nonetheless usually thought of to not be superb, although, and through sequel discussions, Tom Jane determined not to stick with the collection.

22. Punisher: Conflict Zone (2008)

As a substitute, Ray Stevenson, who would play Thor ally Volstagg within the MCU only a few years later, took over. Stevenson does what he can with the fabric however would not convey as a lot pathos to the character as Jane managed, and the remainder of the film is almost as forgettable.

23. Spider-Man 4 (2010)

Do you know that there was alleged to be a fourth Spider-Man film directed by Sam Raimi? Characters like Vulture and Black Cat have been thought of for the film. By this level, nevertheless, Raimi had the irritating expertise of Spider-Man 3 within the rearview mirror, which required that he shoehorn Venom into the film on the request of Marvel executives, regardless of already having a script with Sandman and the brand new Inexperienced Goblin because the villains. Raimi stated later that he grew to become exhausted with the quantity of labor required to create giant superhero films, and described the choice to scrap the film as an undramatic and amicable break-up between him and Sony Footage.

24. Gambit (2014)

The mid-2010s was an arms race between Marvel Studios, Fox, Sony, and Warner Bros. to create the most important and most profitable superhero movies. Whereas Marvel and Warner Bros. have been each attempting to construct completely different sorts of linked universes and Sony was rebooting Spider-Man but once more, Fox was diving as deep into the catalog of X-Males characters because it may. One long-time fan-favorite character was Gambit, the Cajun mutant who may flip something he picked up right into a projectile explosive. His weapon of selection: taking part in playing cards. What might be extra trendy and space-efficient than 52 grenades in your pocket? In 2014, Southern-born actor Channing Tatum checked out Gambit and noticed his entry level into the world of superhero films. Sadly, the film would keep in growth hell for years till Fox offered off its library and superhero licenses to Disney, restoring the X-Males to Marvel Studios and canceling any mutant films that weren’t but in manufacturing. Earlier that yr, Channing Tatum informed Self-importance Truthful that “in the end I simply suppose that the tone of the film we wished to make was very removed from what they wished to do–or, you already know, possibly they’re ready to see how they do it with us or with out us.”

25. Powers (2015)

Typically a superhero property’s success is much less in regards to the present itself and extra about the place you may watch it. Within the early 2010s, console makers have been searching for methods to maintain avid gamers utilizing their methods even after they weren’t gaming. That is the place Powers enters the image. After being introduced in 2011 as an FX present, Powers spent a couple of years in growth earlier than Sony determined to make it the large debut present for its entry into streaming tv on the PlayStation Community. Sadly, the subset of people that had PlayStation consoles, who appreciated superhero exhibits, and who wished to pay to entry a present on a community with little or no different content material proved to be fairly small. Powers lasted two seasons earlier than it was canceled. You’ll find it on VOD websites like Amazon Prime Video and Vudu now for the reason that PlayStation Community is now not internet hosting tv exhibits.

26. Marvel’s Most Needed (2015)

Earlier than Marvel started growing exhibits for the Disney+ streaming service, it was working with a bunch of networks, together with Netflix, Hulu, and the Disney-owned broadcast community ABC to develop exhibits, with the thought of the exhibits being at the very least tangentially linked to the MCU. That was the thought with Brokers of SHIELD, and it was to be the case with the spin-off, Marvel’s Most Needed. The present was to star Nick Blood and Adrianne Palicki as two former brokers on the run from the regulation. Whereas a pilot was filmed for the present, ABC determined to not transfer ahead with the undertaking.

27. Inhumans (2017)

When Marvel’s slate of live-action initiatives started to increase quickly, the absence of the X-Males–still owned by Fox at that time–became obviously apparent. The studio appeared to a different of its previous properties, the Inhumans, to behave as a stand-in. The Inhumans have been round for a very long time as a department of humanity dwelling in a secret kingdom on the Moon. This offshoot was modified first by the Celestials after which by the Kree, and every Inhuman would obtain powers as a ceremonial ceremony. Marvel tried to introduce the Inhumans to the lots with the 2017, eight-episode tv show–even going as far as to play the premiere episode in IMAX theaters. Sadly, it was panned for poor VFX and soapy melodrama and stands at 11% on Rotten Tomatoes.

28. New Warriors (2018)

Developed for the Freeform community, New Warriors was to observe another crew of superheroes led by Squirrel Woman, a fan-favorite from the comics. It was meant to be a live-action present adjoining to the MCU with fixed references to the occasions of the flicks. The pilot for the present examined nicely with Disney executives, however Freeform discovered it didn’t have room in its schedule for the present. The present was shifted round between networks for some time earlier than it was lastly pronounced lifeless. Notably, this crew consists of Speedball, the character who units off the occasions of Civil Conflict within the comics.

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29. Ghost Rider (2019)

Marvel has a complete arm of supernatural characters that, other than Physician Unusual and Scarlet Witch, are nearly completely unexplored in live-action. One other spin-off of Brokers of SHIELD was meant to rectify that. Actor Gabriel Luna joined the forged of Brokers and, based on him, Marvel executed a “maintain clause” on his contract–he was so well-received on the present that they wished to right away look right into a present centered on his character, Robbie Reyes. Reyes is the second incarnation of Ghost Rider. The primary is Johnny Blaze, the motorcycle-riding, flaming cranium man that Nicolas Cage performed in two films. Reyes is a brand new, youthful incarnation who drives a automotive as a substitute of using a motorcycle. Ghost Rider was to kick off a Hulu-centered supernatural superhero crew together with Ghost Rider, Daimon Helstrom, and others. Helstrom had one season, whereas Ghost Rider by no means made it to pilot. You possibly can see Ghost Rider and a few of the characters which may have joined him within the recreation Marvel’s Midnight Suns, launched in December 2022.

30. Helstrom (2020)

If a Marvel present airs on a streaming service, and nobody watches, did it ever exist? Helstrom adopted a person named Damion Helstrom and his sister, Satana, youngsters of an notorious serial killer, who work collectively to seek out demons linked to the worst of humanity. Helstrom’s ten-episode run was unceremoniously dumped onto Hulu in October 2020, with evaluations evaluating it to a 2006 CW present and saying that it appeared appreciated it was completed solely attributable to contractual obligations. Even Marvel stalwarts largely skipped this one.

31. Hit-Monkey (2021) (animated)

What in case you changed Agent 47 within the Hitman video games with a monkey? That is the thought behind the Marvel character Hit-Monkey, a Japanese macaque monkey that realized assassination strategies by watching an murderer prepare. Hit-Monkey debuted on Hulu in 2021 as an animated collection with 10 episodes. Since MODOK’s cancelation, although, neither Marvel nor Hulu has spoken about additional seasons of the present, and it’s assumed to be canceled at this level.

32. Tigra and Dazzler (2020) (Animated)

Whereas Hit-Monkey did make it to air, two different exhibits received the axe earlier than that they had an opportunity to develop right into a full collection. Tigra & Dazzler is one such present. The present would’ve adopted Tigra, a lady with cat-like talents, and Dazzler, a light-based mutant who has beforehand been a member of the X-Males, in addition to different superhero groups, as they “struggle for recognition amongst powered individuals who make up the eight million tales in Los Angeles,” based on the present’s official synopsis. Tigra & Dazzler’s showrunner, Erica Rivinoja, and the present’s complete writing employees have been let go from the present attributable to “creative differences” in December 2019, and the present was confirmed lifeless simply a month later alongside the final present in our line-up…

33. Howard the Duck (2020) (Animated)

Director and comedian guide author Kevin Smith was set to put in writing and produce Howard the Duck, additionally an animated collection for Hulu, together with Aqua Teen Starvation Power co-creator Dave Willis. The present would have ultimately crossed over in a particular known as The Offenders, with Hit-Monkey, MODOK, and Tigra and Dazzler meant to play on the Defenders universe of exhibits initially filmed for Netflix. Whereas this present won’t ever see the sunshine of day, you may all the time return to the 1986 film we talked about, and the character additionally pops up in cameo appearances a couple of occasions within the MCU, in addition to within the “What If…T’Challa Turned Star-Lord?” episode of Marvel’s What If…? collection.