We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.
In honor of Marvel's upcoming comic book legend Thor making his way to the big screen on May 6, I'd like to take a look at the heroes, heroines, and even the bad guys that haven't gotten the silver screen treatment.
That's right folks, there are more people in the Marvel Universe than Spiderman, Daredevil, Elektra, X-Men, and the Punisher. For that very reason we dedicated this week's TOP 7 to the comic book nerds of TSR, although I was beginning to have the sneaking suspicion that I was the only one around.
Here are the rules of the game. First and foremost, anyone is fair game. Man, woman, or mutant. Good or bad. Secondly, this list is dedicated to those that haven't had their own movie. For example, Emma Frost would be fair game considering her fleeting appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Considering she's one of the main characters in the upcoming X-Men First Class she may not be the best example, but you get the gist of it. Finally, this is limited to Marvel so be aware of that when you're making your picks!
7. Black Widow
Recap: Black Widow a.k.a. Natalia Romanova is a Soviet-raised spy who has made her way through a number of comics, most noticeably as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. She was trained by the Soviet government to be a secret agent, a job she proved remarkably good at as she got older. Her advanced biotechnology allows her to heal quickly and keeps her looking young, both traits that prove useful in the life of a super-spy. Reason: Black Widow has received the silver screen treatment before, but I hesitate to even mention that, considering her lack of backstory or even screen time. Remember Scarlett Johansson in Iron man 2? Yeah, that was supposedly Black Widow. Not only was the character woefully underused, but her token technique, The Widow's Kiss wasn't even used once. Her powerful blend of sexuality and stealth, paired with an engaging backstory make her the perfect candidate for her own movie.
Recap:Nightcrawler will be familiar to fans of X2 but even then, the story of Nightcrawler a.k.a. Kurt Wagner is significantly different from his comic book origins. Abandoned as a child, Wagner, unlike some mutants, wore his "otherness" on his skin. Appearing as a "freak", he was the love child of Azazel and Mystique, but was raised in a traveling circus until he joined the X-Men as an adult. Reason: Nightcrawler's origin story is the stuff of comic book legend. Unfortunately, Singer and the movie studios didn't seem to think that audiences had the attention span for a thorough backstory, so they slapped together what little origin we got in X2. Still, Nightcrawler remains one of the most compelling comic book characters as he struggles how to make sense of his life in a world that has never been kind to him. It's the right mix of pathos and drama to make for a great movie.
5. Scarlet Witch
Recap: The daughter of Magneto, Scarlet Witch found herself on opposing sides throughout the Mutant struggle. Originally she was written as a villain, she soon developed into a sympathetic character. Unaware of who her father is, she finds herself in the Brotherhood after being saved by Magneto. As time wears on, she finds herself questioning her dedication to the cause and eventually leaves the Brotherhood to join the Avengers. Reason: Scarlet Witch isn't always a fan favorite, but there's no denying that interesting things happen whenever she's around. The House of M arc is the perfect showcase of Scarlet Witch's impact on the comic book universe. In fact, considering the impact she's had on many of the storylines, as well as her involvement with the Avengers make it a little surprising that her story hasn't been tapped into earlier. Once again, it's that weird soap-operatic quality that makes her such an interesting character, but when it comes to her powers, which include pyrokinesis, limited telekinesis, and the ability to manipulate reality as a whole, she certainly doesn't disappoint on any level.
4. Silver Sable
Recap: Silver Sable is the closest we really come to a villain on the list. After seeing her mother killed in front of her, Silver Sable dedicated the rest of her life to the protection of her family and herself. Emotionless and cold, Silver Sable is the perfect mercenary, showing no remorse for her actions. As a mercenary, she frequently finds herself at odds with the moral majority but in her world, cash reigns king. Reason: It's a little understandable why Silver Sable has never really made it to the big screen. It's difficult to paint a mercenary as a sympathetic or even engaging character, but after seeing movies like Hanna, I'm convinced that it can be done. Sable has the sort of powerful presence that commands the screen and a backstory that is absolutely unforgettable. Even her appearance in the short-lived Spider-Man TV series from 2003 remains one of the most memorable episodes and it doesn't even delve into her backstory. Her moral dubiousness and manipulative nature could easily cement her as an epic anti-hero that few superhero movies have seen before.
3. Black Panther
Recap: Black Panther, also known as T'Challa, is an African prince. When his mother is kidnapped after his father is killed, he finds himself fueled by the desire to avenge the wrongs committed against his family. The Black Panther is a title bestowed upon T'Challa after passing a number of trials. As Black Panther, he develops heightened senses and a powerful strength derived from the Panther God himself. After many years, T'Challa leaves his tribe to join the Avengers, but not before proving himself an unparalleled defender of his people and an unlikely ally of the Fantastic Four. Reason: Black Panther is probably one of the most politically charged choices on the list, I'll admit. As one of the first black superheroes in mainstream publication, he's a breath of fresh air in the otherwise stale superhero world. Still, I think it is his position as a powerful force, both physically and intellectually, that makes him an obvious choice for this list. Never before has a comic book character had such a rich and colorful, not to mention complex, backstory as Black Panther who has found himself paired up with some of the greatest Marvel characters, while maintaining the strength it takes to carry his own series.
Recap: Havok will be better known to some as Alex Summers, brother of Cyclops. Although he will be appearing in X-Men First Class, it has already been confirmed that his origin story will be altered for the film. Raised in an orphanage, he was adopted by a family who had lost their own son. When he found himself threatened by a kidnapper, his powers manifested for the first time which resulted in his kidnapper being burned alive. From then on, he found himself only able to use his powers when his life was threatened. As time went on, he became able to control it although he remained afraid of his powers for much of his youth. Reason: I know it's a little presumptuous to assume that I already won't like the depiction of Havok, but if you mess with an epic origin story like Havok's, you're just asking for trouble. I admit that I might take my comics a little too seriously, but the only problem I have with ensemble pieces like X-Men first Class is that, assuming they delve into the origin at all, the most you can devote to their story is a couple of lines or 10 or 15 minutes. That's not nearly enough time to flesh out the driving force of Havok, who remains one of my favorite additions to the X-Men. This one might be splitting hairs, but damnit, you just don't mess with Havok!
Recap: Cable is the son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor. Born in the present, he was sent to the future where he was raised and groomed to become a leader of the New Mutants. His strong personality and his natural inclination to take charge frequently put him at odds with the other X-Men, most notably Wolverine, but his good intentions in the fight against evil flesh him out as a complex, but compassionate character in the X-Men universe. Reason: Cable is a tricky one because when time travel is involved in the origin story, well, you get some folks who just won't buy into it. Still, if you see what Cable has become, you can't deny that he's one of the most badass characters that Marvel has come up with. His complex relationships with characters of the universe make him a rich addition to the world of X-Men. Still, what wins me over is his power. Telepathic and telekinetic, his mutant powers have never been his sole source of strength. In fact, most issues to this day display his fighting skills rather than his use of his powers. Seriously, how hardcore is that? Sure, he's got the telepathy, but he still knows how to handle himself in a good, ol' fashioned fist fight. Either way you cut it, Cable has proven himself, since his inception, to be a force to be reckoned with.