Comic book movies have classically been focused on the heroic characters like Superman, Batman, the Avengers, Spider-Man, Hellboy and the X-Men. Although the likes of Suicide Squad and the touted Sinister Six movie look set to break that pattern, there still seems to be a hesitancy when it comes to focusing a villain-centric movie on a single character.
That’s a real shame, because there are countless villains in comic books whose stories are strong enough and interesting enough to warrant them being the titular solo stars of a movie. In fact, villain stories can often be more interesting than those of the heroes and can often warrant the sympathy of the audience (you know, prior to the whole “being diabolical” thing).
Villain origins and arcs have been depicted in movies before, but never in the amount of detail they would otherwise be depicted if a movie focused solely on them.
We think there are a number of villains whose solo adventures would be worthy of making a movie about – and that’s what this article will focus on. Here are ten awesome comic book villains that deserve their own movies.
Sinestro’s story is a very interesting one. It sees him joining the Green Lantern Corps, becoming the most capable member in their 7200 strong ranks, before harnessing the power of fear to form his own Corps – aptly named the Sinestro Corps – of which he was obviously the leader.
It’s such an extreme change in trajectory and one that was touched upon in 2011’s Green Lantern movie. It was even teased at the end of the movie that it would be further explored in future instalments, had there actually been any – but it has never truly been explored on screen. Seeing him go from rookie Green Lantern to menacing Green Lantern villain on the big screen would be quite the ride.
Magneto has certainly had his fair share of screen time in the X-Men movie franchise, with both Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen having portrayed the character at different stages of his life. You could say the X-Men: First Class was a Magneto origin movie of sorts, but it would undoubtedly be great to see a movie that focused solely on his transition from innocent child to adult villain.
Having been mistreated by the Nazis as a child, Magneto befriended Charles Xavier and fought alongside him, before realising their views were very different, and became a villain (it’s such a rich life arc). Watching that transition in one movie would be very cool, especially if it focused on his forming the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and fighting alongside them in the same movie.
8. Evil Ernie
The only character not from Marvel or DC on this list, Evil Ernie is a Chaos! This comics character (and later, Devil’s Due Publishing character) would genuinely make for a brilliant (if not slightly horrifying) movie.
Having started life as a child called Ernest Fairchild (who had powers of foresight), Evil Ernie’s parents didn’t understand him and feared him. He was sent to a psychiatrist named Leonard Price, who used a dream probe machine that sent his consciousness to a place called the Endless Graveyard. There, Ernie met Lady Death, who he fell in love with. She told him she would reciprocate that love if he killed all of mankind. Ernie killed twelve people and his parents and was sent to a mental institute. On using the machine again, Ernie died and was brought back to life as Evil Ernie – a powerful zombie of sorts who reprised his mission to kill mankind in order to win Lady Death’s affections.
7. Lex Luthor
The iconic and bald-headed Lex Luthor is actually a very weird character when you think about it. He’s just a regular man (albeit an extremely rich and successful one) with no superpowers to speak of and yet he’s the arch-nemesis of (and a major threat to) one of the most popular and powerful superheroes in fiction. What’s even weirder is that he pulls it off, which makes him extremely interesting.
Aside from being somewhat loveless, Luthor had a relatively normal upbringing and that transition from an innocent child, to a successful businessman, to a power-mad super-villain is one that would make a very interesting big screen story (and a refreshing change from the regularly repeated one that invariably includes him told from Superman’s perspective).
Thanos is the current “big-bad” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s slowly being built-up for what will be a very Thanos-centric story arc in the form of the Avengers: Infinity War movies, but it would be very cool to have a movie focused solely on the Mad Titan.
Once he’s inevitably defeated in the aforementioned movies, a Thanos origin prequel could be a very interesting idea. He was born on Saturn’s moon Titan to two Eternals, but he had the Deviant gene (which altered his appearance to grotesque levels and essentially made him the Titanian equivalent of a mutant) and was a pacifist as a child. However, he became obsessed with nihilism and death during adolescence, which moulded him into the mighty villain known to comic book fans today. What a great (and somewhat tragic) movie that story would make.
If Marvel’s Thanos deserves a movie of his own, then DC’s Darkseid – the character whose look Thanos’ is based on – definitely deserves one. Darkseid was born as Prince Uxas, son of the rulers of Apokolips, King Yuga Khan and Queen Heggra, and started plotting to takeover their rule at a very young age.
He harnessed the Omega Force (which gave him his rock-like appearance), adopted the name “Darkseid” and began his reign as the ruler of the planet and the New Gods. He has fallen in love, had a son (Kalibak) and warred with neighbouring planets, but he has also become a key villain to Superman and the Justice League. Seeing that arc develop in a big budget movie would be simply awesome.
Surely, Tom Hiddleston’s performances as Loki have earned the character the right to a solo movie? Not only is he a tremendously interesting character, he has also become an extremely popular one thanks to Hiddleston’s portrayal and there are a number of ways in which Marvel Studios could go about giving him a titular offering.
It could be an origin story, showing Loki being rejected as a baby, then taken in and brought up by Odin, before coming to resent his adoptive brother Thor and becoming the character we all known and love. It could simply follow Loki’s escapades as he is now, perhaps as he forms his own Masters of Evil team or plots to take over the universe. Or, given the nature of his character in Norse lore, and given that Thor: Ragnarok is almost upon us, it could even follow the adventures of a reincarnated Loki if Hiddleston’s version falls during the events of Ragnarok. Either way, a Loki movie would be welcomed by most fans.
3. Norman Osborn
Norman Osborn is so much more than the mere Spider-Man rogue he is so often thought of as. He had a troubled upbringing with an alcoholic father that physically abused him and he began having homicidal urges as a youngster as a result. But he got past all that and established Oscorp, becoming a successful businessman in the process.
However, when he discovered the Goblin Formula, his intelligence and strength increased, but he was also driven insane and he became the Green Goblin with the intention of taking over New York’s organised crime scene. This brought him to the attention of Spider-Man and he is classically a Spider-Man villain, but he has become a thorn in the side of the Avengers and the entire Marvel universe. He has been the mastermind behind a number of major story arcs (Dark Reign, Siege etc) and his transition from troubled child to A-list vision is definitely movie-worthy.
2. Doctor Doom
The way Doctor Doom has been depicted in movies to date is unforgivable. Portrayals by Julian McMahon and Toby Kebbel in two different Fantastic Four franchises have been terrible and far cries from the formidable version in the comic books. For that reason, a movie based solely on the character (and one done properly) is needed to give the character what he deserves.
He is a multi-layered character, having been born to a Latverian Romani family (his mother being a witch and his father being a medicine man). He went on to study in the United States, before rising to become ruler on his homeland. He’s a bona fide genius in science, technology and magic, and he wears an armour full of advanced high-tech gadgetry. He’s also a formidable hand-to-hand combatant and a threat to entire Avengers teams on many levels. His superiority complex is second to none, as is his arrogance, and he has occasionally fought alongside heroes for the greater good. He’s one of the most interesting characters in comic books and his story in movie form would be truly brilliant.
1. The Joker
Who else? The Joker holds the distinction of being the most popular villain in comic books – and arguably in all of fiction – and is just as popular as the majority of the most iconic superheroes too. His portrayals in movies to date by Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger have been great and he is due to be played by Jared Leto in 2016’s Suicide Squad.
But he undoubtedly deserves a movie of his own. He’s a truly unique and extremely interesting character with a superb story and wicked personality that deserves focus. His origins are famously mysterious and ambiguous, but seeing Joker in some detail as a child and as an adult would certainly be interesting, as would his transformation from a normal man into the psychopathic criminal mastermind audiences know so well. Could it actually be done? It would be quite the task, but well worth the risk.