7 Stan Lee creations that should have been movies a long time ago

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Rick Klaw
Dec 16, 2012

Last week, Stan Lee received the lifetime achievement award from the Visual Effects Society, presumably for all the work he's given the members of the past decade. While many of Lee's Marvel co-creations dominate this century's movies, several potentially deserving and exciting properties have amazingly yet to receive the full screen treatment.

Dr. Strange

Given the immense visual potential, Dr. Strange is the most surprising character on this list. The second most famous creation from Lee and artist Steve Ditko, the Master of Mystic Arts previously starred in a mediocre 1978 made-for-TV movie and a forgettable 2007 direct-to-video release, plus numerous guest appearances on various Marvel cartoons.

Rumors have persisted for well over a decade about a live-action feature film. The latest attempt centers around the completed script by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (the duo responsible for the recent Conan the Barbarian) that is believed to focus more on science than magic. Tentatively scheduled for 2013, the project still needs a director.

Black Panther

The first black superhero in American mainstream comics, Black Panther, actually the ruler of a small technologically advanced African kingdom, first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 (July, 1966) and almost immediately acquired a prominent role within the Marvel Universe. The character, co-created like most of these selections with Jack Kirby, has starred in various incarnations of his own title, joined the Avengers and guest-starred in numerous books.

While there have been several animated versions (including a short-lived BET-produced eponymous series), numerous live action attempts involving Wesley Snipes, Joe Quesada, Jimmy Palmiotti and John Singleton, all led to nothing. The most recent effort centers around documentary screenwriter Mark Bailey (The Fence).

But that doesn't mean the fans don't keep dreaming, as in the fan-made trailer below.


Another Lee/Kirby concept from the pages of the Fantastic Four, the Inhumans were prehistoric Homo sapiens modified by the alien race Kree into an advanced race. The stories of these superbeings, who reside in the hidden city of Attilan, tend to focus on the Inhuman Royal Family.

Exploding with science fiction concepts, court intrigue and magnificent alien visuals, these unusual tales would make for a fascinating movie and/or TV series. Last year, Marvel began a search for screenwriter(s) and director for a big-screen adaptation.

Quicksilver & the Scarlet Witch

The twin children of Magneto, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were originally members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Pietro and Wanda eventually reformed and joined the Avengers. The silver-haired Quicksilver, as the name suggests, runs at superhuman speed. Scarlet Witch manipulates chaos magic affecting probability.

Ostracized largely due to their parentage and mutations, the duo has adventures that are among the most tragic and fascinating in comics. Their engaging story and visually engaging abilities could make for some excellent theater. While both have appeared in many of the Marvel cartoons, there are currently no plans for a movie.

Ant-Man & The Wasp

Two of the founding Avengers, Ant-Man and The Wasp actually hearkened back to the Marvel monster and romance comics of the 1950s. Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym discovers a method to control size and weight. Donning a helmet that enables him to control ants, he shrinks to become Ant-Man. Heiress Janet Van Dyne convinces Pym to give her similar powers. Along with shrinking, he grants her the ability to grow wings and fire blasts of energy.

The pair fight villainy and eventually get married. At best they enjoy a star-crossed romance, encountering countless obstacles to their happiness. A film treatment of Ant-Man has long been in production by director Edgar Wright, using a script by himself and Joe Cornish. Rumor is that Wasp will also be in the picture.

Check out another fan trailer below.

Keeping in mind that lifetime achievement awards are typically only given to the living, what other comic creators deserve the "Stan Lee treatment" from the Visual Effects Society?