Now, I know a lot of people think of today as a chance to be pranksterish, but me, I’ve always just thought of it as a chance to have some fun. My March reviews were all fairly heavy-duty affairs to write, and frankly, I wasn’t feeling too enthusiastic about launching into another one like that. So, instead, I figured I’d lighten up a bit – and since April Fool’s was coming up, the timing was perfect!
So, yeah. This is gonna be a bit of a silly one. Basically, we’ve all daydreamed at one time or another about what would happen if our favorite characters could meet one another. Unconstrained by the petty bonds of reality, we can get pretty creative about it, too. What if Martin of Redwall met Conan the Barbarian? What if Pinocchio met Woody Woodpecker? What if the Cat in the Hat faced down a Balrog? The possibilities are endless!
So these are a few such fantasies that I’ve dreamed up for the occasion – and, given that this is MRFH, they’re specifically movie-related ones. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, robots and catfish, I present to you my Top Ten Crossover Movies That Will Never Happen (But Should)!
Since this is all pretty much inherently impossible, I’ve thrown the rules out the window for this one, with the single exception that these must be things that haven’t gotten movies yet (which, in this case, should be nooooo problem). As always, these are in no particular order. Onwards!
Who they are: And lo, there came a time when the Fantastic Four we know and love were put out of action through perfidious skullduggery, and four substitutes were called in to take their place – Spider-Man, Wolverine, Ghost Rider and the Hulk. And there was much rejoicing.
Why they’d be cool: OK, so this is a little bit of a cheat, given that it’s a legitimate team-up that actually happened (albeit not in a movie). But hey, I told you the rules were going bye-bye, and anyway, this would be completely awesome, and I’m always in favor of such things.
I mean, come on, do I even have to explain why this team would make for some infinitely nifty on-screen pyrotechnics? The web-slinger! The Spirit of Vengeance! The Jade Giant (in either gray or green form – doesn’t matter to me)! The man who goes ‘Snikt’! You can’t lose!
What’s more, all of these characters have already appeared in movies, so you can picture the actors who would play them. Just imagine the lovable nerdiness of Tobey Maguire (yeah, yeah, I know, someone else is playing him in the new movie; I don’t care), the majestic jellybean-swigging insanity of Nicholas Cage, the prickly clawed-ness of Hugh Jackman, and the… well, whatever of whoever’s playing the Hulk this week… all together! Chemistry, people! We got chemistry!
Seriously, I’m not the only one who’s been thinking along these lines. There’s even a guy who’s put together a fan-trailer for it. I mean, if Marvel’s going to be rebooting its FF franchise anyway, why not go the whole hog and make it a serious reboot? We’ve already got two fairly decent movies with the regular FF, and all four of these characters are tried-and-true favorites – it would be awesome!
That’s all we ask for, Marvel. Give us something awesome.
Who/What they are: An ex-Confederate cavalryman was transported by mysterious means to the war-torn planet of Barsoom, better known to us as Mars. There his skill as a warrior won him great acclaim among the proud Red Martians and the savage but noble Green Martians, ultimately leading to him wedding a beautiful Barsoomian princess and being declared prince of the Red Martian city-state of Helium. A leader of men and a slayer of evil, he is John Carter of Mars!
Elsewhere – perhaps, some say, over a rainbow – lies a land of peace and plenty, a land where magic and adventure await behind every turn in the road, and where all travels inevitably lead to a city of sparkling emerald. A little girl named Dorothy was the first and most famous visitor to this place, but many have followed since. Ruled over by the wise Princess Ozma, this is the Land of Oz!
Why they’d be cool: OK, this one will never happen because it would be absolutely freakin’ ridiculous. But cool nonetheless!
Honestly, there really are a surprising amount of parallels between these two series. For one thing, they were both created at the dawn of the 20th century (albeit some time apart), and for another, Barsoom and Oz have some interesting similarities. Oz has five basic social groups classified by color (the Munchkins, Winkies, Quadlings, Gillikins, and Emerald City-dwellers), as does Barsoom (the green, red, black, yellow and white Martians). Residents of both places are effectively immortal, and place a strong value on personal morals (on Barsoom, the warrior code of honor, in Oz, the ‘love thy neighbor’ system that allows it to be a largely moneyless society). Furthermore, they are both insular societies that were changed forever by the appearance of benevolent outsiders (John Carter and Dorothy Gale, respectively), who wound up achieving positions of minor royalty (Carter that of Prince and Warlord, Dorothy that of Princess), and – and this is the interesting part – becoming naturalized citizens of said places within two years of each other in real-world time (A Princess of Mars was first serialized in 1912, while Dorothy moved to Oz for good in The Emerald City of Oz, published in 1910). It’s really kinda eerie if you think about it for far too long.
Really, though, a John Carter in Oz story is not quite the insanity that you might expect. Oz is, of course, a much gentler place than Carter’s warlike Mars, but if you’re picturing the hoppity-skippety-down-the-yellow-brick-road MGM version, you are way off-track. Oz may not be a violent setting, per se, but it has plenty of dark and unexplored corners – in fact, one of the central plot hooks is that virtually every time someone wanders off the beaten track, they discover something new. Ol’ Johnny-boy might not fit in at first, but there’d be plenty of work for a guy with a sword, believe me. Perhaps he’d go on border patrol along the edges of the Deadly Desert. Or maybe he could be Dorothy’s bodyguard, or be asked to fill in while the Soldier with the Green Whiskers was on vacation, or… something? I dunno.
So, yeah. It probably ain’t gonna happen. But it could. There’s just been a John Carter movie (which was good, by the way; expect a review), and it looks like there’s several Oz-related projects hitting theaters soon – there have been stranger team-up projects. Whether or not it was good, I bet everyone would see it. I mean, wouldn’t you?
Who they are: In a distant possible future, Earth’s social dynamics have changed dramatically. Now called Femizonia, it is a world ruled by Amazonian female overlords, who have conquered and enslaved the much-diminished male population. Engaged in a bitter stand-off with the planet Machus (a planet where things are much the same, only in reverse), the Femizons sent their fiercest warrior back to the past, in order to battle Earth’s strongest male heroes and prove once and for all that their gender is supreme. A genetically engineered powerhouse, trained from birth to be the mightiest fighter around, she is Thundra!
In another, somewhat different possible future, the Martians landed and were killed off by germs – once, back in the Victorian era. Now, centuries later, they have returned with fresh defenses against such things, and conquered the planet, reducing the human population to mere foodstuffs and toys for their amusement. But one such ‘toy’ refuses to be played with – Jonathan Raven, a man raised for the gladiatorial pits. Seizing a chance of escape, he breaks out, and now leads a group of rebels in a journey across the ravaged landscape of North America, searching for freedom and a chance to overturn his Martian oppressors. His skills honed in the fires of combat, he goes by the name his captors gave him – Killraven!
Why they’d be cool: OK, I admit it – the main reason I put this one on here is that I think Killraven is awesome, and I wanted to put him in an article somewhere. However, from what I’ve seen of her, Thundra is fairly awesome, too – perhaps a tad sexist in that early-‘70’s, what-is-this-strange-new-thing-called-feminism way, but awesome nonetheless – and if the two ever met? Pure win.
Think about this. Dystopian futures are a dime a dozen in fiction, as are people time-traveling to them from the present and to the present from them. However, when was the last time you heard of someone time-traveling from one dystopian future straight into a second? Yeah, haven’t heard that one before, have you?
All Thundra would have to do would be to materialize in Killraven’s near-future rather than our present (both of which are still the distant past to her), counting him as the “strongest male hero” she has to throw down with, and the stage would be set for a rip-snortin’ fight against a background of ruined cities, mutant Martian abominations, and the Martians themselves in classic H.G Wells tripods stomping in to pick off the winner. Meanwhile, Thundra’s own fascistic-amazons future could be changing back and forth depending on what happened during the fight, and maybe they’d send someone else back to tip the scales and get things back to normal, and oh the possibilities. Dystopian grudgematch sci-fi at its finest!
Sure, Thundra herself might have to be toned down a little – her Femizonian ways might not be considered too PC today – but when you get right down to it, she’s a great big kick-butt Amazon warrior from the future, something like Wonder Woman if she was combined with the Terminator. All of that is cool. It would fly! It’s never gonna happen, but it would fly!
(And seriously, any Hollywood types who may be reading, with or without Thundra, Killraven was really cool and deserves a movie treatment. Think about it, won’t you?)
Who they are: When MI6 needs to assign their top agent to a case, they call in just one man – 007. Armed with an arsenal of top crimefighting weapons along with his wits, athleticism, and an ability to charm any lady that crosses his path, he is James Bond!
Elsewhere, there is a man who works only for himself. No treasure is beyond his reach; no man can stop him, no cops can catch him. If you see a sleek black car zooming through the night with a black-masked man at the wheel and a gorgeous blonde by his side, you’ll know that Diabolik, master thief, is at it again!
Why they’re cool: So yeah, I’m repeating myself a bit here, since Diabolik has had a tendency to pop up in my writings of late. But goldang it, he’s cool! And James Bond is cool! And since both of them are cool, they should face off!
No foolin’, this would be a really interesting crossover, because these two are at an equal level in terms of professional ability, travel very much in the same circles, have much of the same skills and attributes, and yet are at opposite ends of the legal spectrum. Unlike a lot of crossovers, which have their protagonists fight because of a misunderstanding only to wind up reconciling to fight the real baddies, these two are natural enemies – Diabolik is in many ways a classic Bond Villain type. And yet, somehow, these two have never met. Astounding.
It’s not too difficult to imagine the circumstances that would bring them against each other. Diabolik steals something that draws the attention of MI6, who sic 007 on his tail. The scene is set for a deadly battle of wits, at the end of which (because it’s inevitable), Bond wins – or does he?
In between, there’d be the usual accoutrements – car chases, beautiful women, cool gadgets, disguises, double-crosses, fights to the death, snappy one-liners, and many, many explosions. Sound good? I thought so.
Who they are: By day, Drake Mallard is merely a (theoretically) mild-mannered resident of the suburbs of St. Canard. But when night falls, he dons cloak, hat and mask to protect the city from evildoers, while simultaneously trying to keep his adventure-loving stepdaughter Gosalyn out of trouble and survive his sidekick Launchpad’s latest crash. He is the terror that flaps in the night! He is Darkwing Duck!
Meanwhile, in Transylvania, a different sort of night-lurking duck is about – a vampire duck. In his past incarnations he was as evil as they come, but he came back decidedly different following his last staking after ketchup was accidentally substituted for blood during the resurrection ritual. Now he’s a strict vegetarian, and merely wants a little adventure and a spot in the limelight. He is the one they call Duckula – Count Duckula!
Why they’d be cool: This one may seem a bit on the atypical side, as these are characters from animated TV shows, who don’t generally show up in any movies besides direct-to-video. But hey, if the freakin’ Flintstones and Yogi Bear can get movies, surely these two qualify.
Besides, they really do have an awful lot in common. Both are egotistical loudmouth waterfowl with a flair for the theatrical. Both have a small but omnipresent supporting cast who are occasionally more trouble than they’re worth. Both are frequently misunderstood by those they run across, and often wind up leaving a bad impression. Both wear capes, for cryin’ out loud! They’re practically blood brothers!
As in Bond VS Diabolik, these two should not team up. Instead, Darkwing should take Duckula for a villain from the moment they meet, and never learn differently, making it one long battle of comic misunderstandings.
The way I see it going down is this. Duckula gets a false “tip” regarding some theatrical endeavor in St. Canard that he would be perfect for, and which is holding auditions right now. Simultaneously, Darkwing gets a tip-off that the nefarious Count Duckula is coming to town for a major crime spree.
It turns out that the tipster in question is one Moloculo McCawber, the father of Darkwing’s sorceress girlfriend Morgana and a notorious hater of “Normals”, who wishes to bedevil his daughter’s unwelcome beau by sending him on a wild goose chase. Simultaneously, he hopes that Duckula, who he used to be quite close with back in his blood-drinking days, will get staked during the process and have to be resurrected again – properly this time – which will result in Moloculo getting his old friend back.
Eventually, Morgana gets suspicious about all this and guilt-trips daddy dearest into revealing all – but at this point, Darkwing is too into the whole kill-the-vampire thing to listen to her. He’s teamed up with Duckula’s arch-nemesis Dr. Von Goosewing to rid the streets of this evildoer – a singularly unsuccessful team-up, since Von Goosewing is a notorious bumbler, and they ultimately wind up merely getting in each other’s way, while the poor Count just tries to elude them long enough to get his chance at theatrical success. Having no luck getting through to the Terror that Flaps, Morgana teams up with Gosalyn and Launchpad to find the object of all this ruckus and get him out of town before it’s too late. Unfortunately, they’re being blocked in this by Igor, the Count’s sinister butler, who would be quite happy if the master reverted to his old, evil ways, while Duckula himself, of course, thinks that they’re just more people trying to stop him from auditioning, and oh I like this idea. This could be a lot of fun.
Who/What They Are: They come from the depths of space, their origins unknown. They are ruthless, relentless creatures, seeking only to kill and breed. With acid for blood and the most horrific means of procreation known to man, they are feared and hated throughout the universe. Some term them xenomorphs, but they are known more concisely as simply… Aliens!
Elsewhere, elsewhen, merry old England has stopped being merry. Under Prince John’s brutal rule, the poor are taxed to death while the rich get fatter. One man stands against this tyrannical system, a man clad in Lincoln green, a man whose swift arrows are the terror of all those who would oppress the innocent. With his Merry Men at his side, he robs from the rich and gives to the poor as Robin Hood!
Why they’d be cool: I know, I know – this sounds like another silly one. But honestly, it’s not quite as silly as you may think.
See, one of the things I’ve often toyed with in my head, as one does, is the following question – ‘if I were in charge of developing the Aliens franchise, what could I do to keep it fresh and interesting?’ My answer? Simple – take away the guns. In fact, take away all high-tech futuristic space-stuff. After all, there’s nothing saying that encounters with the Aliens have to be set in the future, so why not tell a story of first encounters? And I mean first encounters. I’m talking medieval times, centuries before even the concept of extraterrestrials had come to pass. I’m talking a time when the Aliens could be dangerous again.
Think about this. In the future, humanity has great big ‘splodey stuff that can blow the critters away. In the past, what is there? Swords. Arrows. Spears. Things that may or may not be of any use against creatures with acid blood and armored skin.
Back then, an encounter with the Aliens would not only be incredibly perilous, it would fill people with superstitious dread. You would need a strong leader to rally behind – and hey, who’s better at that than Robin Hood?
Here’s the pitch. Somewhere in old England, something streaks out of the sky and lands in the middle of a dense forest. Over the next year or so, the forest becomes a place of dread, avoided by the locals. Terrible things have taken up residence within it, they whisper, monsters mayhap, or demons. Those who enter it after dark are seldom seen again, or their bodies are found days later, torn apart from the inside.
The kingdom has already sent men in, but few have come back – and those that have had been driven mad with fear, gibbering about monsters. The villagers have just one last resource – Robin Hood, the people’s hero. If anyone can deal with this, he can – there are many doughty warriors amongst the Merry Men, after all, and they can fight in woodland conditions better than anyone else. So a message is sent to Sherwood, and soon Robin and a select band of his men are planning an attack.
The long and short of the matter is this – the monsters are, of course, Aliens, a whole colony of them. They had been on board a derelict spacecraft that crashed in the middle of the forest, and for a while they have been content with merely implanting forest creatures with their broodlings, while they built up their numbers.
By the time that Robin and his men have entered their territory, though, they have already begun searching for a new nesting site, a search that ultimately leads to an all-out battle between man and creature. This battle is broken off by the advent of winter as a howling snowstorm strikes the area, forcing the human contingent to hole up in the local castle. With the place under siege from the monstrous beasts, and at least one villager already implanted by a facehugger, can Robin manage to defeat the Aliens before they wind up changing the course of human history?
Really, does that sound bad? I think it sounds pretty cool. Even if the whole Robin Hood thing doesn’t sit well with you – Aliens in medieval times. Think it over.
Who they are: Who’s got the sweetest disposition? One guess, guess who! The breadwinner for his three nephews, Donald Duck spends his days trying to stay employed, while struggling to control his temper and going off on the occasional adventure in the service of his Uncle Scrooge.
Elsewhere, a sinister criminal mind is churning out brilliant schemes, a mind cloaked beneath a black hood, a mind that only a very few have ever gotten the best of. Leaving his ink-spot calling card wherever he goes, he is the Phantom Blot!
Why they’d be cool: Of all the crossovers I’ve suggested so far, this one may be the least unlikely. After all, Donald has already shown up in several Disney films, and Mickey, it seems, is getting his own movie soon, so why shouldn’t Donald? And since it seems Mickey is probably not going to be going up against the Blot in his own movie, why not have him go up against Donald instead?
Really, this is based upon several factors: one, my love for the residents of Duckburg; two, the fact that Donald has gone up against relatively few villains that can be said to be ‘his’ in the same way that, say, the Beagle Boys are Scrooge McDuck’s, and three, my frustration at the fact that a great villain like the Blot is stuck with dumb ol’ Mickey as an arch-enemy. He deserves better, and Donald deserves a chance to show his stuff.
I see it playing out like this. The Blot has decided that this time he’s going to be methodical, and take out all those who have thwarted him one by one. The main one of these, of course, is Mickey, and he’ll have a special surprise waiting for him – but first he must deprive him of all aid. And he’ll pull that off by first going after his secondary enemies – the Ducks of Duckburg, who have teamed up with that hated Mouse before. The Blot sees them as easy pickings – he’ll remove them all from the picture, then pick off Mickey’s hometown friends, and finally Mickey will find himself all alone, with no one to help him against the vengeance of the Phantom Blot! Bwahahahahahaha!
So with that in mind, the villain heads over to Duckburg and gets to work. Soon, he’s kidnapped just about all of Donald’s friends and relatives, and sends him a message – they’re all holed up at the Blot’s hideout. All Donald has to do is come and get them – if he can.
The Blot means to toy with him for a while, you see. After all, he’s A: one of Mickey’s closest allies, and B: of all the potential challenges in town, he’s the weakest. After all, he’s not rich or clever or an inventive genius like the others were – he’s just a duck. What challenge could he possibly provide, except as a plaything for the Blot to torture for a while before picking off?
There’s just one problem with this logic – this is Donald Duck we’re talking about. He may not be the smartest or the strongest or what have you, but he’s been all over the world, faced down enemies great and small, and you do not want to get him mad. The Hulk ain’t got nothin’ on him when he’s mad. The Phantom Blot is soon to discover that he might have been better off if he’d just stuck to fighting mice.
This ain’t gonna happen for two reasons – one, Disney continues to ignore Donald’s comic book awesomeness, choosing instead to focus on him as the guy who gets mad and says ‘wakwakwakwakwak!’, and two, they evidently feel that the only way to properly use the Blot outside of the comics they ignore is to stick him in a video game as a freakin’ ink-monster. Bleh. Oh well, a guy can dream.
Who they are: On an expedition into the frozen wastes of Antarctica, the explorer Lord Robert Plunder, accompanied by his young son Kevin, discovered a cave that led into a huge subtropical valley – the Savage Land. Here dwelt many prehistoric species that had long since gone extinct in the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this also made it a very dangerous place, and Lord Plunder swiftly succumbed to some of the valley’s more lethal inhabitants. Left alone, Kevin might have died, except for the ministrations of Zabu, an unusually intelligent specimen of saber-toothed tiger who discovered the young boy and raised him as his own. Grown to maturity in the depths of the jungle, the heir to the house of Plunder has declared himself the unofficial protector of his adopted homeland from those who would despoil it. With the devoted Zabu fighting beside him, he is Ka-Zar, Lord of the Savage Land!
Back in Ka-Zar’s birth country of England, the young Brian Braddock was interning as a laboratory assistant at the Darkmoor Nuclear Research Center when it was attacked by the criminal Joshua Stragg, who meant to raid the secrets of the energy research being carried out there. Fleeing across the moor, Braddock crashed his motorbike, and was on the verge of death when he heard voices ushering him to an ancient circle of stones – the Siege Perilous, where the immortal Merlyn and his daughter awaited. Informing him that he was destined to be Britain’s champion, they gave him a choice of two artifacts – the Sword of Might or the Amulet of Right. Choosing the amulet, he received great powers, and now uses them as the hero Captain Britain!
Why they’d be cool: Frankly, these are two of my favorite characters, and I’d be double-darned if I didn’t include them somewhere on this list.
I won’t go too far into Captain Britain here, since he’ll most likely show up in a future Top Ten, but trust me, he is an awesome character who deserves more love. As for Ka-Zar, for the life of me I can’t figure out how, in this era where just about anything is possible onscreen, he has not gotten a movie. I mean, come on, people – he’s like Tarzan, only with dinosaurs. Tarzan with dinosaurs, people! Dinosaurs, and remnants of ancient civilizations, and prehistoric tribesmen and mutant-creatures! How cool is that?!
Anyway. I’ve long since postulated that an examination of Ka-Zar’s roots outside of the Savage Land would make for an interesting story. After all, the guy is literally a British Lord, even if he chooses to ignore that part of his heritage. Does he still feel ties to it? If, oh, I don’t know, Captain Britain, the very living personification of his homeland, were to show up in his antediluvian dominions, would he have conflicting feelings? And then they could fight dinosaurs together. There’s your movie.
Seriously, Hollywood – Ka-Zar movie. With or without Captain Britain. Right freaking now.
Who/What they are: In a version of Edwardian England only slightly different from our own, there is a cozy little place out in the country known as Riverbanks. It lies, as the name implies, along the shores of a small, peaceful river, and in and around it live an assortment of animals who lives their lives very much as we humans do. There’s the timid and peaceable Mole, the self-assured Rat, the gruff but good-natured Badger, and, most prominently, one Mr. Toad of Toad Hall, the local country gentleman. A generous, ebullient sort of fellow, he is also incurably adventurous, with a passion for taking up new pastimes and a tendency to leap without looking, and his friends are kept very busy getting him out of one scrape after another.
Same country, different time. In a little seaside town called Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, there lives a plump little man in an old house with a sprawling garden. This is Dr. John Dolittle, one of only a few people in the world who can, through study and practice, speak and understand the languages of animals. This has made him renowned amongst the animal kingdom as the only true “animal doctor” in the world. Along with his young assistant Tommy Stubbins, and his bevy of animal friends, the good Doctor travels the globe, getting into all sorts of adventures as he seeks to expand his knowledge of natural history.
Why they’d be cool: I’m honestly surprised that no one seems to have thought of this before. The Wind in the Willows and the Dr. Dolittle books are both classics of children’s literature, both are set around the same general time period, and one involves talking animals while one involves a man who can talk to animals. Surely they make for an obvious combination?
My concept of how it would go is this – a few years have passed since Dolittle’s heyday, but he’s still hard at work doing what he does best. One day, he hears about a strange sort of phenomenon, what the local wildlife calls a “thin spot” – reputedly, a door between worlds that only pops up once a century or so.
Well, naturally an eminent scientist like the Doctor can’t pass such a thing up, so he and Stubbins find the thin spot and go through. On the other side, they find themselves in the vicinity of Toad Hall.
Dolittle is fascinated and elated by this new discovery. A world where animals and humans are on an even keel! A world where a toad can own a mansion! Quickly befriending the locals (who think he’s a bit strange, but welcome him nonetheless), he takes up residence nearby and begins an intensive study of this entrancing parallel England.
Tommy is not quite on the same page with him, though. Oh sure, he thinks this is a pretty cool place they’re in, but he also likes the place they’ve just come from, and the thin spot will only stay open for a few more days. Can he manage to persuade Dolittle to finish up his researches and go home before it’s too late – especially since Toad is all agog at the notion of new worlds, and is raring to start a no-doubt-disastrous expedition into the Doctor’s home dimension?
I dunno – I’m pretty sure that most people these days think of Dr. Dolittle as the guy from that horrible Eddie Murphy series, so the chances of such a project ever getting off the ground are slim to say the least, but if it ever was done, I’d say there’s some potential there, wouldn’t you?
I’m not even going to try and justify this one. Happy April Fool’s, y’all.