As nerds, as FANGRRLS, we have a deep and abiding love for so many of our favorite characters and stories. Sometimes those stories are adapted and made real on screen. Sometimes they're great! And we bring them into the fold of our love.
Sometimes, however, they are less than great, and we live in our disappointment. But in the FANGRRLtopia, we have the chance to make things right! In our utopia, here are the properties we could love, with just a few tweaks.
Though there have been good things about the existing FF films, they’ve thus far lacked the rewatch factor of many modern superhero flicks. That’s because a lot of the weird stuff from the comics really hasn’t come anywhere close to the big screen. In the comics, the Fantastic Four is a bizarro take on the expectations of the nuclear family era of US culture. At their heart, the FF are a couple of very weird science geeks and their two semi-normal friends that cavalierly and regularly volunteer for missions that almost guarantee certain death. The sheer bonkers scope of the cosmic worlds this team has uncovered in the Marvel Universe have not made it anywhere close to an FF film to date. Besides, not every superhero film should be an origin story. If we were meeting the FF a little further into their careers, already formed and in tune with one another, then film fans could finally know what comic fans see in the First Family of Marvel. - Sara Century
Blade Runner 2049
Rachael’s arc is secretly the most interesting part of the Blade Runner franchise, but we see basically none of it onscreen. Here’s what we’re working with: she has no idea that she is a Replicant until Deckard gives her a heads up. Tyrell datamines his niece’s memories and gives them to Rachael, no notes on how creepy that is. The niece’s memories are inflicted on Rachael just for the purpose of giving her more depth. Similarly, Deckard completely imprints his own desires onto her and falls in love with her. AND she is the sole Replicant with the ability to bear a child. Yet none of this is addressed outside of its effect on Deckard. Blade Runner 2049 had its issues, but the most glaring was that we still barely see any of Rachael even in flashback. The amount of commentary that can be garnered from a Replicant who is created to resemble the niece of the man that ultimately uses her as a tool and is the only one of her kind able to utilize (false) memories and give birth is INFINITE. This whole sequel should have just been Rachael’s story. - Sara Century
In our utopia, Spider-Man 3 is the first movie sequel to appear on Broadway instead of in theaters. It's not like the Spider-Man franchise is a stranger to the stage. The original version of Spider-Man 3 has its own decent amount of singing and dancing, and a Broadway production would better fit whatever Spider-Man 3 was trying to be, so over the top and busy. How great would a three-part harmony between Mary Jane, Peter Parker, and Harry Osborn be? So many R&B-inspired numbers, so many dramatic shower wall slides. There could be a musical number from Sand-Man singing about he’s doing the best he can. See how easily that rhymed? I haven’t even mentioned the symbiote musical number where it expresses the rejection it felt when it and Peter broke up at church. Spider-Man 3 the Broadway play makes the emo-goth moment Peter goes through a little less cringeworthy and a little more enjoyable. There would even be musical numbers for the flashbacks Spider-Man has about the Green Goblin because we absolutely have to have them. The fever dreams could unfold right before us, sung in A-minor. - Stephanie Williams
Harley Quinn is the kind of character you can’t help but love. As chaos incarnate, she embodies everything about comic books that make them so damn fun to read. She’s colorful (literally and figuratively), loud, bold, destructive, funny, and quirky. Originally created for Batman: The Animated Series, Harley has become a symbol of how female characters are treated both within the story and by creators and how a character is capable of growth and love with someone new, someone named Poison Ivy. On-screen, Harley hasn’t really moved much beyond being either Mr. J’s lovesick pet “psycho” or just a bundle of chaos. In the new Harley Quinn cartoon at least she’s left the Joker, but the issue is that Harley doesn’t really get to be her full self, the self she develops while in a loving and open relationship with Ivy. This is more than my-ship-isn’t-canon-and-I’m-mad because in the comics Harley and Ivy are in a canonical polyamorous relationship. This is about the erasure of the queerness of two super important comic book characters and their deeply restorative and empowering relationship.
There’s still a chance we’ll see an onscreen Harley who embraces her queerness in Birds of Prey, but I’m not holding my breath. - SE Fleenor
Romance, family, friendship, teamwork, healing, revenge, murder, explosions, so much blood, a lot of sexual innuendoes, and skee ball. What film franchise could I be describing except Deadpool? When Ryan Reynolds’ Merc with a Mouth appeared in 2016, he showed that an R-rated superhero film could not only work but be funny as all get out. When the 2018 sequel, Deadpool 2, brought Cable, Domino, and Yukio to the big screen we all said YAY WOO YES! Each time, though, we had to sort of squint and cock our heads to the side to catch a glimpse of Wade Wilson’s queerness. Though canonically pansexual in the comics, the Deadpool we meet onscreen engages more in queer taunts and queerbaiting than in actual queerness. Can you imagine if he was just as much a s***storm of a human but he was OK with his sexuality—or more accurately, if creators were OK with his sexuality? It wouldn’t require changing much in the world of Deadpool, but it could change everything for viewers. Suddenly his flirting with Cable isn’t him pretending to be effeminate, but him expressing his attraction in as weird a way as possible, which tracks for DP. His affection for Colossus, then, isn’t an odd friendship, but rather the natural outgrowth of his feelings as a pansexual person in the world. I don’t know what version of Deadpool 2 you were watching, but in both versions I watched the evidence for, all this queering was right there onscreen.
The only final element needed to make Deadpool incredible would be to stop fridging female characters. - SE Fleenor
The X-Files revival
Chris Carter has never wanted to commit to Mulder and Scully as a couple, despite the natural progression of their onscreen relationship and crackling chemistry between the pair. Shipping as a term that meant something beyond sea cargo began with Mulder and Scully, but with each near kiss, something always got in the way. Bees as an obstacle to happiness 20 years ago I can forgive, but the coy way Carter dealt with Mulder and Scully in the revival was incredibly frustrating. An unwillingness to commit to this relationship doesn't work after all this time, which when coupled with Scully's lack of bodily autonomy made it more egregious. This is not the only frustrating aspect of the two-season revival — the mythology of The X-Files is so convoluted by now, my eyes would glaze over as soon as these storylines would come to the forefront. These aspects go hand-in-hand and while I am grateful to Chris Carter for creating one of my favorite shows of all time, he really should have handed over these characters to a fresh voice. It was noted in Season 10 that only two women had ever directed and six contributed to the writing (including Gillian Anderson), something Carter addressed in Season 11; however, it was too little too late. It is no wonder Gillian Anderson said she was done with this character. If Mulder and Scully were to return, a new showrunner is the only way forward, and hopefully, it will be someone who is not stuck in the past. - Emma Fraser
All the Transformers movies except Bumblebee
The Transformers are cool enough. You don’t need a human element, or at least not in the first movie. You definitely don’t need to make any of the Transformers horribly racist stereotypes or to mention that Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman knew about the Transformers. Why the hell didn’t Optimus and friends help end slavery if they knew about it? See. This is why you don’t include information like that in your Transformers movie. In our utopia, Michael Bay is not the go-to director for any of these movies. We’re willing to keep Shia LeBeouf but also actually utilize Megan Fox instead of doing a bunch of creep up-skirt shots. Shia and Megan wouldn’t show up until the second movie because we are spending 90% of the first one on Cybertron. All the really cool action is happening there anyway so why not focus on the strife there. The Bumblebee movie doesn’t spend the entire time on it but the 10 minutes spent there actually do make the movie more enjoyable. In our utopia, each movie is also under 140 minutes. We don’t need the length of Transformers 3 or 4, it’s just simply way too much time and the filler isn’t worth it. - Stephanie Williams
The Star Wars Prequels
The Star Wars prequels are a ripe landscape for dunking, this is known. But while I’ve certainly had my share of rants against them in the past, age, an appreciation of fantastic meme generation, and the views of those who grew up with them instead of just the original trilogy have softened my view of them. Now my approach to them falls much more in the “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” range. Because there truly is a great trilogy’s worth of story in there and it’s almost heartbreaking how close it comes to hitting that and then just falls ever so short. Their ambitions are as tragic as the story of Darth Plagueis the Wise. Like many a nerdy writer on the internet, I have spent a lot of time in my mental garage, fixing up the old jalopy that is the prequels. But in doing so one discovers a very inconvenient truth: making the prequels into something that would be legitimately crowd-pleasing may be a thankless task, and the more you attempt to add or alter to them the more of a behemoth they become. And while one, like myself, may have legitimate complaints with George Lucas’ execution of the prequels, it’s hard not to feel some sympathy for him in trying to emulate his task. It may truly be impossible to create a Star Wars movie that gives the people what they want anymore, and when you try, you maybe end up with The Rise of Skywalker.
With that in mind, my own alt-universe version of the prequels would accept them for what they are in the most part, but treat them like a draft in the process before the final one. My two major changes would be to shift more of the point of view to Obi-Wan and Padme, giving her much more to do and letting her be as richly presented as a character as she is in the Clone Wars animated series. We’d see Anakin’s rise and fall primarily through the eyes of his best friend and the woman who loves him, instead of as closely through his own, which always felt a bit shaky given the audience largely knows where he’s headed before he does. The most major change I’d make is to have him fall to the Dark Side earlier, and have his pre-suit Darth Vader be present as a significant threat to the Jedi as he hunts them down, versus pulling off one major, mostly off-screen massacre at the temple. Imagine an Episode III where Obi-Wan has heard reports of a powerful new Sith Lord that he’s been tasked with finding. Unable to reach Anakin, he and Padme fear the worst, only to discover that the man they’ve been hunting has been him. It’d be a gut punch for sure, but also might go a long way towards repairing the disconnect between the Anakin we’ve been following for three films, and the man inside the suit. - Riley Silverman