Six IPs That Haven’t Been Made Into Movies, But Should Be
In this week’s Blogger Q&A, we pick out some intellectual properties that are ripe for movie treatment. From board games to video games to books, there are lots of beloved characters and worlds that haven’t yet been explored in film. Read ours and let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to submit a question here or on Flickchart’s Facebook page for the bloggers to address in the future.
Tabletop adaptations haven’t been given a fair shot. From Dungeons & Dragons to Battleship, they keep ending up lackluster. But with the growing popularity of board games, they shouldn’t be given up on just yet. Games are growing richer and more complex, telling unique stories.
Cooperative card game Sentinels of the Multiverse has created a universe as rich and diverse as the MCU, and zombie survival game Dead of Winter offers as many gut-wrenching moral dilemmas as The Walking Dead. With the right creative team, any of these games could be turned into an engaging and creative movie. Some of the best film adaptations, after all, are the ones that are not wedded to their source material, and board games are perfect for that as you need to be creative to invent a story based in a game’s world. Clue did it, and Arkham Horror offers perfect building blocks as well: a spooky town, great villains, the mystery and awe of portals leading to other worlds, and a colorful cast of heroes each with their own backstory, strengths, and weaknesses.
Centered on a group of investigators who face Lovecraftian monsters as they struggle to prevent Ancient Ones from crossing into our world, the game is thematically rich with a vast amount of story and lore. Not to mention that the historical setting of 1926 offers a visual feast in and of itself. With the right director helming the project, and a solid storyteller behind the script, an Arkham Horror film could be fabulously entertaining and a fantastic blend of action, adventure, and horror. —Naomi Laeuchli
Metroid Prime trilogy
The Metroid Prime trilogy was one of the best sets of games for the Nintendo GameCube and Wii. It followed the story of Samus Aran, a mechanical suit-wearing bounty hunter, as she traveled throughout the galaxy fighting off hordes of aliens and exploring hostile planets while unveiling the mystery behind the substance known as Phazon. This game trilogy has all the makings of a fantastic sci-fi movie trilogy. The games themselves already have a highly cinematic feel to them. Noted for their excellent sound design and visual style, the material is “prime” to make a trilogy in the vein of the Alien films.
Many have said it would difficult or impossible to adapt these games into a film series as they are largely unguided exploration games in a vein similar to other Nintendo hits such as the Legend of Zelda franchise. This is a fair point, but I think the proper filmmaker could tackle the challenge appropriately. By fleshing out and exploring the character of Samus Aran, the hostile environments could make for a psychological exploration of her character while also proving fertile grounds for sci-fi horror and action scenes. The cold silence as Samus explores foreign planets and her quest to uncover the mystery of the story sounds like a perfect recipe for chill-inducing sequences.
Like the Alien films, the trilogy could become more action-oriented in the second and third entries as Samus interacts with more characters and learns more about the Phazon, the central substance of the trilogy. Films based on video games have a bad reputation, but a trilogy based off these games, with the right director, crew, and actors, could be a multi-million dollar franchise. — Connor Adamson
The Dresden Files/Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher
Back in 2000, author Jim Butcher released a book called Storm Front, and 14 books later, this series featuring detective/wizard Harry Dresden is still going strong.
Harry Dresden lives in Chicago and is the world’s only known consulting wizard, working cases that the Chicago PD’s Special Investigation unit can’t handle, as well as his own cases. And if you think of Sherlock Holmes when you hear “consulting,” think again. This is modern fantasy by way of Raymond Chandler and his hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe. This is pulp fiction with magic spells. Each entry into the series shows Dresden going toe to toe with demons, werewolves, vampires and so on, as well as dealing with the bureaucrats on the White Council, the wizard world’s governing body, and the more devious Faerie Courts that control other magical beings. Oh, and the Chicago PD, too.
The world that Jim Butcher has managed to create is perfect for a series of films, even though the series already got an ill-fortuned television series. Butcher is able to take Dresden through wild cases and even beating the ever-loving crap out of him, too. I would even say that Dresden risks life and limb, seeing as, at a certain point in the series, the hero gets killed off.
I would love to see this book series get a loving, accurate adaptation to the big screen by someone who understands how a good detective film is supposed to work. This shouldn’t be a big, flashy production; it should be small, focused, and intense. Who would be right for this? — Jeff Lombardi
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
Let’s get this out of the way: Peter Jackson should not do a Silmarillion trilogy. His Hobbit effort was as embarrassing as his Lord of the Rings was awe-inspiring, and though The Silmarillion — the posthumous summation of Tolkien’s unpublished Middle-earth material — is radically different from The Hobbit, it’s clear that Jackson can no longer be trusted to stick to a source.
If the Tolkien family ever chooses to license The Silmarillion, a faithful movie adaptation could be a beautiful thing. My preference would be for a series of animated features. Nothing too experimental, like Ralph Bakshi‘s infamous Lord of the Rings acid trip, and nothing heavily computerized; just classic, hand-drawn oil or watercolor renditions of Valinor, Beleriand, and the epic battles between gods, Balrogs, Orcs, factious Elves, and the first men.
The first movie in this hypothetical series could cover the events from the creation of the world until the exile of Fëanor, and at least two other movies would be required to trace the centuries of warfare that culminated in the drowning of Beleriand. If successful, this animated Silmarillion trilogy could be followed by a short, internet-exclusive television series set on the doomed island of Númenor, following several generations of kings and subjects and culminating with the War of the Last Alliance, when Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies begin. Perhaps Cate Blanchett would be up for some voice-acting, since Galadriel is a crossover character… but for the full telling of her story, the Tolkien estate would need to license Unfinished Tales, too. — David Conrad
When the original game in the Mass Effect series came out, I was highly skeptical. It looked generic. It seemed highly derivative. Do we really need another sci-fi universe? I wasn’t interested. At all.
Then the reviews came, and the gaming community kind of lost their collective minds over it. The article that put me over the top was one that claimed the game was “this generation’s Star Wars“. Now, being a massive Star Wars fan, this just made me even more suspicious and instinctively ready to tear it down for being audacious enough to try to stand alongside one of the most well-realized fictional universes in cinema. I was interested enough to give it a shot.
Then, a few hours in, I was hooked. The first game – while a bit more complicated in the UI and execution than the games to follow – had an incredibly surprising and epic story to tell. I was enraptured by the narrative, the characters, the setting, and like a good book, I couldn’t put it down.
I devoured the first game, dived right into the sequel – which surpassed the first and cemented the series as one of my favorite gaming experiences I’ve ever had. The third game – while disappointing some with its ending – was a robust third act to an already bold tale.
The games are highly cinematic, and could easily be turned into a film franchise. It’s so much more about the relationships and the characters and the environments and less about the actual “gaming” when it comes down to it. There’s already a theme park attraction built around it. It also provides the opportunity to have a female lead in the captain role. It’s a world ripe for storytelling. It’s tailor-made for the movies. Warcraft has shown that, at the very least, China is ready to adore game-sourced material to high profits. Seems like a no-brainer to me. — Nathan Chase
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
There are few authors as seminal in the cyberpunk genre as Neal Stephenson (the only other major contender, William Gibson, has also not had any full-length books adapted into films), and though his work has been tremendously influential on everything from The Matrix to Ready Player One to actual technology like Oculus Rift, none of his novels have ever been put on film. That may change soon, as recent rumors suggest Ron Howard will be bringing Stephenson’s most recent novel Seveneves to the screen (don’t get me started on how terrible a plan it is for Howard to direct Stephenson), but really, as a huge Stephenson fan, the one I want to see is Snow Crash.
In Snow Crash, the real world is a bunch of small, corporation-run city-states — basically capitalism run amok — but much of the action takes place in the Metaverse, an online world that anticipated The Matrix, Second Life, MMOs, VR, and more. The main character is pointedly named Hiro Protagonist, and he’s got to get to the bottom of a virus that attacks hackers directly, putting their brains in a “snow crash” (when a computer screen is just covered with snow.) His path leads him through not just future technocracy, but into the depths of Sumerian linguistics.
Maybe the book is too esoteric to adapt. Maybe it has too many threads. Or maybe it’s that now the things that seemed incredibly futuristic and impossible are now actually within reach. Stephenson has proven to be a prophet, and maybe his most prophetic book actually seems too obvious now. But I would still watch the heck out of a Snow Crash movie, even if I know it wouldn’t possibly match the book for me. — Jandy Hardesty