Nothing has dominated the movies over the last few years like comic books. Films based on comics have gone from being the movie industry's dirty little secret to becoming the lifeblood of the summer blockbuster season. But despite nearly every comic book property being gobbled up by the studios, there have been plenty of movies that have come close to production, only to fall apart at the last minute.
For every Man of Steel or Amazing Spider-Man, there are dozens of rejected scripts and disgruntled directors who bounce on projects during production. The most recent example of the ever-evolving moviemaking process is The Wolverine (in theaters Friday). It was originally set to be directed by Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler) with a completely different script that would be shot exclusively in Japan. Aronofsky’s involvement promised that The Wolverine would have, at the very least, been a much different animal than both Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel, neither of which revolutionized the genre this summer.
Unfortunately Aronofsky left the film during pre-production, citing personal issues as the reason for the split. He was soon replaced by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma), who's a more than suitable replacement. However, we can’t help but wonder how a visionary auteur like Aronofsky would have handled the character. It’s a near-miss that will have longtime fans of Wolverine always curious, especially if Mangold’s movie doesn’t deliver.
The Wolverine is just one example of a history of comic book movies that came so close to happening, but stopped dead before they ever went before cameras. As we imagine a world where Aronofsky’s The Wolverine is hitting theaters this Friday, let's take a look at these 15 comic book movies that almost happened (but didn’t).