Joker sees the iconic Batman villain take centre stage as the lead in his own movie. Whilst this isn’t the first time that a comic book villain has had their own film it’s the first time a major Batman villain has. With such a big history and really great villains, surely there are more that can headline their own movie!
Botanist Pamela Isely was experimented upon by Dr Woodrue, an insane scientist who transforms himself into a plant monster called the Floronic Man. Woodrue transformed Isely into a metahuman with plantlike abilities, and an immunity to various toxins. Now acting as Poison Ivy, she skirts the line between hero and villain as she tries to protect plants and the environment from humans.
A Poison Ivy film could show this origin, and she could be painted as something of a villain for the majority of the film, as she attacks big companies that are polluting the environment. However, it would be nice to have her end as a more traditional ‘hero’, by her having to save people from Woodrue, getting her revenge against him at the same time.
Whilst DC cancelled the Swamp Thing series early into its run, a Poison Ivy film could definitely have a similar look and feel to this. It could even attract some of the same fans, as Woodrue was actually in the show, played by Kevin Durand. Hell, go so far as to have him play the character again!
The son of a revolutionary in the South American nation of Santa Prisca, Bane was placed in prison to serve out his father’s sentence following his escape. Bane spent his childhood and adolescence in one of the most brutal prisons on earth, building his incredible physique and keen intellect in order to survive.
Following Bane during his prison years would be so much more interesting than seeing him go up against Batman, as he does in almost every other version of the character. Make a Bane movie as a prison drama. Have him brought in as a young boy, made to serve out his father’s sentence alongside hardened adult criminals. Show an innocent young boy turn into a cold blooded killer as he learns how to survive in hell on earth.
A film about Bane told in this way would be able to highlight not just how brutal and strong the man is, but how he was a victim of his life. He was made into a savage by his environment. Show how this happened to him, and don’t shy away from the brutality of the situation. Let’s see an innocent boy enter prison, and follow his life there until he gets out and begins his journey to Gotham. There wouldn’t be any need to show him go to Gotham and face Batman: end the film with him getting out of prison and setting off there. Not only would this act as a great stand alone film that tells his origins, but he could then be used in a Batman film with a fully fleshed out backstory, as a character that audiences will care about.
A relatively new addition to the DC Universe, The Court of Owls are a secret society that has been running Gotham from the shadows for generations. What makes them stand out is their main enforcers, the Talons. The Talons are a group of lethal assassins, and the society has had many over the years. What makes them different, however, is that the Talons have been made close to immortal thanks to strange science.
A Court of Owls movie could focus on a new Talon, a person recruited to fight and kill for the court. This Talon could then try to turn against the Court, and have other, older Talons sent against them to kill them. Whether or not they manage to survive, it’d make for an interesting film to see one of the world’s best assassins fighting undead killers.
READ MORE: Joker – 5 Great Joker Stories
Whilst a lot of audiences will be familiar with the character thanks to Danny DeVito’s brilliant performance in Batman Returns, this version of the character is actually quite different from the comics. Batman Returns showed him as an outcast mutant living beneath Gotham. Instead of this, make him like his comic counterpart, where he’s just a regular guy.
What’s interesting about a regular guy? Well, not a huge amount, but once you have him being part of a crime empire it starts to get a little more interesting. Introduce him as a low level operator in one of the crime organisations in Gotham, then let him work his way to the top. He can’t be a physically imposing character, so let him plot and scheme his way to the top. Make him Little Finger, but he doesn’t fuck up at the end. Mob movies are always popular, so make a mob movie about the Penguin.
Owlman comes from another world, a parallel earth where villains rule instead of heroes. Following the murder of his family, Thomas Wayne Jr. becomes the super-villain Owlman.
Much the same way that Brightburn told a story of an evil Superman, an Owlman movie could do the same thing. Have it follow an almost traditional Batman movie formula, but instead of a hero he’s a villain. He kills to expand his empire, he uses gadgets to commit crimes, and he was behind his parents’ death. Why focus on a hero’s villains when you can make your hero the villain instead?
This is probably one of the hardest sells on this list, but imagine being able to take the DC Universe and flip it on its head. You could show alternate versions of characters that audiences know and love, and add in little hints to other villains such as Ultra-Man. Plus, if ever Warner Bros. wanted the Justice League to fight the Crime Syndicate this could be the perfect set-up movie.