There’s a lot of great movies that never got made, but there’s also a lot of patently ridiculous ones. Looking at the most ridiculously bad movies that never got made, we can either sigh in relief or feel disappointed they didn’t get the chance to reach So-Bad-It’s-Good cult status. Let’s take a look at all the alien cows, giant spiders and gratuitous kung fu we missed out on!
Feel free to add your favorite bad movies that could have been in the comments as well!
Batman vs Superman: the 2004 Version
From The Weekly Planet, illustrated by Sean Willet
The original scripts for Batman vs Superman were incredibly different than the movie we got. While Snyder’s Batman vs Superman was poorly critically received, there’s no doubt the original version of the movie would have been even more panned.
The movie features a bitter, divorced Superman and a retired Batman whose entire supporting cast (and the Joker) has been murdered. But that’s okay, because he’s getting married! Except oops, his bride is immediately killed by the Joker, who has come back to life thanks to being cloned by Lex Luthor in an elaborate plot to get Batman to kill Superman.
See. Luthor knew who Batman was and knew that killing his wife would make Batman want to kill the Joker and Superman would stop him and then Batman could maybe kill Superman. It’s a foolproof plan, obviously.
There’s also a holographic Alfred, superpowered Joker goons and Lex Luthor in power armor. I’m not going to spoil the amazing twist ending to all this drama because you should definitely check out the hilarious summary of the whole thing, complete with cartoon illustrations, from the Mr. Sunday Movies YouTube channel below:
I’m going to be honest and say I might have enjoyed this more in theatres than the Batman vs Superman we got, if only because the whole thing would have had me in stitches. Just listening to the summary has me in tears. It was definitely a potential So-Bad-It’s-Good film.Advertisement
The Dazzler was a disco-themed superhero who debuted in 1979 and she was supposed to have a movie franchise to go with her debut. The script written for it by Jim Shooter was truly wacko. The rollerskating disco dame would just sort of flounder around in a movie where “Neo New York” was split into warring states ruled by rival witch Queens played by Cher and Donna Summer. Rodney Dangerfield would play three separate people who would eventually fuse together to form “Lord Chaos”. The Village People and Kiss would be superpowered mystic enforcers for the witch queens. One of the Village people was literally called “The Leatherman”. Oh, and the Avengers would also be there.
Best of all? There’s a scene where fire-clad warriors ride to battle on unicorns, against another band of warriors on chariots made of old truck parts which are (naturally) drawn by giant lizards.
It’s honestly a tragedy this movie wasn’t made.
Quentin Tarantino's Silver Surfer
Quentin Tarantino and the Silver Surfer don’t really seem like a natural combination. As you’d expect, his 1990’s script for the movie was dark and edgy to a ridiculous extent- one of the first people the Silver Surfer meets upon coming to Earth is a twelve-year-old girl who’s been forced into sex work. Also, he gets zapped into being a regular human and spends most of the movie as such, which kind of goes against the entire point of the character. Gritty street level dramas involving child sex-trafficking can be good and all, but you shouldn’t try to do one with a naked silver man who literally surfs through space.
Nicolas Cage as Superman for Superman Lives
There are a lot bad Superman movie ideas out there, but Superman Lives might be the most infamous. Nicolas Cage was supposed to play Superman. That would be enough on its own, but the producer of the movie, Jon Peters, imposed ridiculous restrictions on screenwriter Kevin Smith.
He wanted to never show Superman flying, have him in black leather rather than his iconic look and wanted Lex Luthor to have a space dog as a pet. He also wanted a scene with Braniac fighting polar bears because that would somehow be a Coca-Cola endorsement. Lex and Braniac were also supposed to fuse into a monster villain creatively named “Lexiac”. Oh, and Superman was supposed to fight a giant spider at some point.
The Sandman Movie
From The Sandman: Dream Hunters
Jon Peters really has a thing for giant spiders, because he also wanted Dream, the titular Sandman from Neil Gaiman’s comic, to get into a fist-fight with one. To be clear, Dream is an ancient, eternal being with eerie dream based powers, not the fun brawler type. Neil Gaiman was not impressed with the script.
Lord of the Rings Starring the Beatles
Yep, back in the day, we were set to get a Lord of the Rings movie franchise that starred the Beatles and was directed by Stanley Kubrick. Paul McCartney was going to play Frodo, Ringo Starr would play Sam, George Harrison would be Gandalf and John Lennon would be Gollum. J.R.R. Tolkien understandably nixed the idea.
Green Lantern Starring Jack Black
Jack Black from wetalkpodcasts.com
The Green Lantern movie was a flop, but it could have gone down even worse. At one point a Green Lantern movie starring Jack Black was planned. That alone was weird enough, but the movie wa also going to be a bizarre comedy. Among other things, Jack Black’s Green Lantern was set to eat severed animal heads on live TV and create a giant condom with his ring and proceed to trap villains in it. Presumably while cracking some joke about “protection”.
E.T. : Nocturnal Fears
There was almost a horror-movie style sequel to E.T. It would have involved the kid protagonist from the first movie and his family being kidnapped and tortured by aliens. Fun for the whole family!E.T. himself would only appear at the very end.
Spider-Man and Dr. Zork
Menahem Golan’s idea for Spider-Man would have been an unrecognizable version of the character, mostly because he had no idea what the character actually was. Golan was confused by the idea of a human with spider powers and instead envisioned Spider-Man as a giant mutant spider with some human parts mixed in. In his version of Spider-Man’s origin, Peter would have been transformed into this monstrosity by the evil Dr. Zork. At least Uncle Ben was safe for once.
Alien: Now with Space Cows
A proposed movie in the Alien franchise not only didn’t have Ellen Ripley in it, but also didn’t have the Xenomorphs, the titular aliens. Instead, the threat would have been alien cattle. They would moo us all into submission.
Stan Lee's Silver Surfer Movie
From Silver Surfer
Silver Surfer movie pitches were apparently all the rage back in the day, because producer Lee Kramer also wanted to make one. He even went so far to have Stan Lee draft an outline, which was predictably…Stan Lee-ish. At one point the Silver Surfer meets a blaxsploitation-style character called “Sweet Daddy Wisdom” who says, and I quote, “Ol Sweet-Daddy's gone and caught himself the world's choice prize. He's captured the ultimate honky.” ‘Nuff said.
Darren Aronofsky’s Batman: Year One
From Batman: Year One
Darren Aronofsky almost directed a Batman: Year One movie with a script by Frank Miller. In this script, Batman was a violent thug much like he is in Miller’s All Star Batman and Robin. He was also raised by an auto mechanic named “Al”, who was an Alfred stand-in. On top of all that, the Batcave was an run-down subway station and Batman goes around in a hockey mask.
Don’t lie to us, Bruce.
Rambo V: Savage Hunt
The Rambo sequel was actually supposed to have Rambo fight mutated, half-human product of genetic experiments that was going around slaughtering folk. Stallone eventually scrapped the idea and called it “silly fan-fiction”.
We almost got ourselves a J.J. Abrams Superman movie and it would have been weird. A Cliffs Note version of the plot- Krypton didn’t blow up, but Jor-El, Superman’s father, still sent his infant son to Earth because he was embroiled in a battle against his evil brother. Eventually said evil brother and his minions find Superman and kill him with Kryptonian kung-fu. Really. Upon hearing about his son’s death, Jor commits ritual suicide and meets Supes in heaven. Superman comes back to life, now knowing Kryptonian Kung-fu, because why not.
Another possible plot point would have been Lex Luthor himself being revealed to be a Kryptonian.
Once again, Mr. Sunday Movies does a pretty good summary of the whole thing: