The current trend in Hollywood for movie source material is to hit untapped source material from such media as hit bestsellers, video games and comics. Many major hits have come from Marvel and DC Comics franchises: Spiderman, X-Men, Batman, Avengers, Superman, Green Lantern. The list goes on from past to present. Batman started out as far back as the ‘60s, and many current movies are re-imaginings of source material already made into movies. However, many solid concepts never made it to the big or small screen.
Books, comics and video games have provided source material since the beginning of the film industry. The list is nearly endless. The list is also endless of source material that should have made it to the big screen. Such as:
1. Honor Harrington
This military science fiction series, penned by author David Weber, features a female naval officer in a gritty setting, likened to a mix of Horatio Hornblower and Star Wars. The idea of an Honor Harrington movie has been bandied about on various forums with Angelina Jolie as a popular choice to play Honor. In the series, Honor deals with problems from all fronts: political and personal as well as militarily. Angelina Jolie, depicted above in a still from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, cuts a striking resemblance to Honor Harrington, eyepatch and all.
2. Somerset Holmes
This six-issue comic series (later collected into a graphic novel) created in 1983 by Bruce Jones, April Campbell and Brent Anderson (who represents the character’s physical looks,) features an amnesic chased by criminals. With no memory of her former life, she takes her name from a Somerset Homes sign advertising a housing community. From there, she survives criminal attacks while in the process of discover who she was. Though Somerset Holmes should have been made into a movie under the creators efforts, Jones, Campbell and Anderson believe that the 1996 Geena Davis movie, The Long kiss Goodnight was an unauthorized, unpaid rip-off of their idea.
3. Donald Simpson’s Border Worlds
Set on a space station against the backdrop of a colonial war, Border Worlds features a female lead struggling between societal polar opposites. Border Worlds started out as a backup story in the comic book issues of Megaton Man and later gained its own series for “mature readers.” The imagery, in black and white, was reminiscent of techniques used in oil painting. The story itself was about as Machiavellian as one could want, with the lead character battered about by political forces and caught on the wrong side of colonial law.
These three intellectual properties represent only the tip of a very large iceberg of untapped source material for movies (and video games.) Some overlooked source material has already begun seeping into the movie industry, such as Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game recent release as a movie, which features Harrison Ford.
Update: Evergreen Studios has announced Tales of Honor, which will use material from the 28 books set in Weber’s Honor Harrington universe as the source for storylines. Also planned to coincide with movies are webisodes, comics and video games. A mobile game, Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet, is already set for a mid-March release.
Many would have other choices in the top three, but all would agree that there is much material out there that should have been made into movies.
Opinion by Lee Birdine