Fast becoming an industry all of his very own, comic-book supremo Mark Millar announced this week that he has sold yet another of his original works into screen development with 2014’s Chrononauts.
Billed as “a bromance for the ages”, Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy’s sci-fi adventure tells the story of the first scientific duo to travel back through time and how everything goes wrong in the process, and will be produced by Fast and Furious head-honcho Chris Morgan for Universal.
It’s merely the latest in a seemingly ever-expanding slate of movie adaptations for the man behind R-Rated cult hits like Kick-Ass, Kingsman and Timur Bekmambetov’s Wanted, and with so many properties in various stages of development it can be near impossible to keep track of them all.
Here, then, is a handy list of the many, many movies of Mark Millar currently creeping their way to a screen near you.
Due here in August with a sequel already penciled in for 2017, Chronicle director Josh Trank’s reboot of the superhero franchise is at least partly inspired by Millar’s Ultimate Fantastic Four series, which modernised the comic’s origin story to focus on a much younger team of scientists who gain their powers during a malfunctioned tele-porter experiment.
Even with less than five months to go until its release, very little is known about Trank’s vision for the franchise, so it’s hard to know how close Simon Kinberg’s script will stick to Millar’s original template. However, based on the elliptical trailer released earlier in the year, it looks pretty certain that the film will be set in a darker, more grounded world that pays all due attention to the emotional impact the transformation has on our heroes. And that should come as blessed relief to anyone who endured both of Tim Story’s goofy and juvenile efforts in the mid-noughties.
Captain America: Civil War
Civil War, a huge Marvel crossover storyline written by Millar and Steve McNiven, will form the basis of Anthony and Joe Russo’s Winter Soldier follow-up, which promises to pit Chris Evans’s star-spangled Avenger against Robert Downey Jr.’s snark-tastic billionaire Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, when the US government passes a Superhero Registration Act designed to bring all super-powered characters under official regulation.
This marks the first time one of the principal Avengers will crossover into another’s individual franchise (not counting Cap’s brief but memorable cameo in Thor: Dark World), giving you some idea as to the scale of Marvel’s expanding ambitions post-Age of Ultron whilst also promising an intriguing turn of character for Jr.’s Stark.
And as if the movie wasn’t already stuffed with enough superhuman force to fell a particularly grumpy Bruce Banner, Marvel’s newly announced partnership with Sony means we’re also likely to see the first appearance of a re-cast Spiderman, as everyone’s favourite web-slinger gets caught up in the middle of these two warring behemoths. May 6th, 2016 can’t come soon enough.
“What if Batman was the Joker?” That’s the question Millar and Steve McNiven controversially asked in their 2010 limited-run series, Nemesis – which should tell you all you need to know about the project.
Okay, I’ll give you a little more. The story centres on a well-trained super-villain who uses his immense wealth to terrorise the world and the life of Chief Inspector Blake Morrow, whom he ostensibly blames for the suicide of his cruel father.
Graphic and gruesome, Nemesis traverses the same darkly subversive terrain as Kick-Ass and The Secret Service, which means the resultant film is likely to be more of a cult hit than a box office smash. However, Millar himself was extraordinarily effusive in his praise of Joe and Matthew Carnaghan’s script, calling it one of the most “powerful and relentless” he’d ever read, which suggest we could be in for something truly special.
With the script now complete, hopefully it won’t be too long before the film hits the multiplexes and we can finally judge its quality for ourselves.
While he may be best known for works containing lashings of blood, ultra-violence and pre-pubescent swearing, you may be surprised to know that Millar also has a softer side. It’s this cuddly alter-ego that is given a thorough airing in Kindergarten Heroes, a Pixar-esque tale co-written with Curtis Tiegs that’s set in the kindergarten where all our favourite superheroes leave their offspring when they head off on dangerous adventures.
Carter Blanch, a screenwriter with a burgeoning reputation thanks to boasting the likes of a new Spy Hunter film and Dreamworks’s time-travelling adventure Glimmer on his slate, will crank out the script for Fox under Simon Kinberg’s supervision, with the studio hoping to spawn a family-friendly franchise to rival that of How to Train Your Dragon and Big Hero 6. Whether their film can match the poignancy and wrenching emotional depth of those two heavy-weights, however, remains to be seen.
Picked up in April last year by 20th Century Fox, for whom Millar serves as creative consultant, this seven-issue Icon series, about a 12 year-old boy with multiple sclerosis who is transformed into his idolised superhero by a demonic monkey named Ormon (you can make these things up, as it turns out), will be overseen by Kick-Ass and Kingsman producer Matthew Vaughn, though don’t expect the director to helm the project himself just yet, as the studio is still searching for the right screenwriter to tackle the job.
Just in case you thought all of Millar’s upcoming projects were strictly Marvel/Fox affairs, this story of a young man, Roscoe Rodrigues, who sees the chance to escape his poverty-stricken existence when he discovers a new drug that will give him the ability to travel at light-speed was snapped up by Transformers: Age of Extinction producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura last year.
While the core idea of a double-crossed drug runner gaining super-human powers via a nifty designer drug has already been explored in Luc Besson’s mind-bending thriller Lucy, Millar’s comic has an interesting take on the pursuit of the American Dream and plenty of opportunities to create some eye-popping visuals, with Rodrigues’s speed depicted in a Quicksilver-esque slow-motion style, which could prove very enticing when Bonaventura starts shopping the project around studios later this year.
A space-set adventure described by Millar as “Flash Gordon meets The Dark Knight Returns”, this six-issue miniseries centres on a widowed former space hero who is dragged back into one last adventure when his old rocket ship suddenly reappears.
There’s been very little in the way of movement on this one since Fox picked up the rights last year, with news of a director, screenwriter or casting as yet unannounced, but expect that to change rapidly if any of the above releases makes a big splash at the box office.