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April 23, 2009
Beyond Wolverine: Ten Other Movie Origins We'd Like to See
Posted by CoolerKing in Features

"All legends have an origin." So goes the over-played preview for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. All of them? Really? Does the legend of Harry from Harry and the Hendersons have an origin worth telling? Howard the Duck? Monkeybone? Probably not. Clearly, however, there’s something there in the idea that great characters from movie history might have a back story worth telling. It’s time for a list.

With X-Men Origins: Wolverine opening next week, it got our twisted minds thinking about what other origin stories we'd like to see on the big screen. The origin story is far from unique in the movie world. We've seen everything from Hannibal Rising to The Exorcist: The Beginning (twice!). But Wolverine brings the concept of back story or prequel to a new level. This is no straight-to-video knock-off for a few dollars (even if early buzz indicates that maybe it should have been). If this is financially huge, as it very well could be, we're gonna see dozens of these things. Take a proven franchise and milk it for a few more dollars. It’s the Hollywood way.

But could there be some interesting origin stories out there besides Wolverine? Of course, the first target for Hollywood is going to be superheroes. An origin story for Magneto is already in the works and they'll probably just move down the X-Men line to characters like Cyclops, Storm, Professor X, and Beast eventually. (Yawn.) So, while a Joker origin story might be cool and there are several villains and heroes from the DC and Marvel Universe that could follow suit, we're going to try and think outside the box. No traditional superheroes or supervillains. Why limit ourselves? Couldn't there be interesting origin tales of other popular characters from movie history? Let us suggest a few...

Note: Star Wars Origins is way too obvious. We could just make a top ten of Star Wars characters (starting with Han Solo, Boba Fett, Yoda, Mace Windu, etc.) who would make for origin prequels that would probably be better than Attack of the Clones. (Like that's hard.) Maybe someday we will write that feature, but, for now, it's best to just exclude them all. Same with The Lord of the Rings. As bad-ass as The Lord of the Rings Origins: Aragorn would be, there are just too many choices to pick just one and we can’t have the whole top ten be Tolkien.

- Brian Tallerico

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10. Wanted Origins: Fox

With the recent buzz surrounding the in-production Wanted sequel - which might focus more on Terence Stamp’s character - let us make another suggestion. Get Angelina Jolie back in the sexiest role of her career and do it with a prequel. I know Wanted is a divisive movie, but I thought Timur Bekmambetov's action flick was a damn good time and, when I think of 2008 action scenes that I loved, one of the first that comes to mind is Fox hanging off a hood shooting at another car. James MacAvoy may have been the last man standing in Wanted, but who wants to see that cocky kid headline his own sequel? With all the Matrix parallels in Wanted, do you really REALLY want to risk Wanted Reloaded and Wanted Revolutions? Wouldn't you rather see how Fox was recruited and became the bad-ass that she is at the beginning of Wanted? Me too.

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9. The Matrix Origins: Morpheus

Morpheus from The Matrix
 

Speaking of The Matrix. We know that the pain and disappointment are still raw after Reloaded and Revolutions, but it's hard to believe that the world of The Matrix is completely dead. In fact, it's impossible to believe. There's too much love for the first film and too much storytelling potential in this universe to let a couple of bloated sequels close the door on the world of Zion forever. So, what was big, bald bad-ass Morpheus up to before he recruited Neo? (Besides hosting wicked underground raves, of course.) There are countless stories to tell in the world of The Matrix and it makes perfect sense to start with the back story of one of its most popular characters. Fishburne himself is a little too old and probably too busy counting CBS paychecks from CSI, but he could easily be recast if the story focuses on a younger Morpheus. Go with an unknown and make the script really good. At least better than the two sequels.

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8. Watchmen Origins: Rorschach

Rorschach from Watchmen
 

What was the best part of Zack Snyder's Watchmen? Easy. Jackie Early Haley's performance as Rorschach. Not only was he the most fully-realized and fascinating character, but he also seems the most likely candidate for a spin-off film as he was the only one that most audience members cared about in the slightest. I know. Somewhere, Alan Moore’s skin is crawling and he doesn’t even know why. The words spin-off and prequel would probably drive the legendary writer crazy. But he wrote off the Watchmen film anyway, so why should he care? And, honestly, without the original source material, another film set in the world of Watchmen could be really intriguing. There are interesting stories to tell in the alternate universe that Moore and Dave Gibbons created and, while we do know a bit about Rorschach’s history, an ambitious writer could really make this project a home run. It would probably be better than the first film. Just don’t let Zack Snyder anywhere near it.

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7. Serenity Origins: Mal

Mal Reynolds from Serenity
 

It's a cold hard fact. We NEED more Firefly/Serenity. I’m getting tired of watching those 13 episodes and that lone movie over and over again. And there’s a window that could open soon. Despite its improved quality since its premiere, including at least one episode that could be called great, Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse doesn't feel like it's going to be around for the long haul. The ratings and buzz aren’t quite where they should be. Similarly, Nathan Fillion’s star vehicle Castle isn't bad but the great Nate should be doing something more challenging than this Moonlighting variation. While we’d love a straight-up sequel to Serenity, it may be more creatively intriguing for Whedon to fill in the gaps of the history of Mal, one of the best characters in the history of sci-fi. How did he get his crew together? In his early days of rebellion, what challenges did he face? What enemies? There’s enough support from the Browncoat community that the fans would practically finance this thing themselves. Has there even been a pledge drive to produce a movie? This could easily be the first.

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6. L.A. Confidential Origins: Bud White

Bud White from L.A. Confidential
 

One of the best movies of the '90s also featured one of Russell Crowe's best performances, a piece of work that should have been nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. If you haven’t seen L.A. Confidential in the ten-plus years since its release, you really must take another look. It hasn’t “held up”. It’s actually gotten richer and more dramatically satisfying over time. Unlike a lot of films on this list, we’d even support original cast member inclusion. As the recent Robin Hood pics have proven, Russ is back in prime shape, having lost the Body of Lies and State of Play paunch. He actually looks, at least with a little bit of CGI manipulation, like he could honestly play a young Bud White. Of course, James Ellroy would write the story of how Bud joined the force, where his savior complex comes from, and how he gained that grey moral edge that he has at the beginning of the Curtis Hanson film. Who wouldn’t want to see that?

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5. Sin City Origins: Marv

Marv from Sin City
 

Maybe you're sensing a theme? Fox, Rorschach, Bud White - an origin film is really just a way to bring back your favorite movie characters, sometimes even from the great beyond. Frank Miller's The Spirit completely fell apart, Sin City 2 is taking for-damn-ever to get into production, and Mickey Rourke has never been more popular after his incredible work in The Wrestler and casting in Iron Man 2. This one seems like a no-brainer with Miller writing, Rodriguez directing, and Rourke starring in a new tale from the early days of Sin City. Our only concern is that they might go the cheapie route and bring in a whole new team a la the straight-to-video The Crow, Universal Soldier, or Dusk Till Dawn sequels. Don't let that happen, Frank. Bring Marv back for one more drink at Kadie's and don't let the yellow bastards keep him down.

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4. The Incredibles Origins: Frozone

Frozone from The Incredibles
 

Do all superhero origin films have to be live-action? Of course not. Who doesn't want to know more about the past adventures of Mr. Incredible's super-cool best man? Frozone was one of the characters from The Incredibles that we know the least about, but he was iconic and charismatic enough to make us all want more. What villains did Frozone face down on his own? How and when did he retire? What was his family life like (other than yelling at his wife about his super-suit)? There are enough unanswered questions for an interesting spin-off (heck, spin-offs). And, sorry Mr. Jackson, but we all know that Samuel will do nearly anything for the right price. In fact, I'm a little scared to suggest a Samuel L. origin story. It could lead to Snakes on a Planes Origins, Soul Men Origins, or Amos & Andrew Origins, which would all be awesome... in the most Bizarro-sense of the word.

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3. Kill Bill Origins: Bill

Bill from Kill Bill
 

Uma Thurman may have stolen the Kill Bill movies, but that guy she was trying to whack was a pretty riveting character in his own right and the one guy in the movie that everyone looked at and said, "I wished I knew more about HIM." To be honest, an origin film about any of the supporting characters in the Kill Bill flicks would be entertaining (even Kill Bill Origins: The Bride, about the heroine's early ass-kicking days, would be a blast), but we'd start it all with Bill. Carradine would probably come back (although the recent off-the-cuff comment that implied QT was a drug user may hurt that possibility) and Quentin could go Grindhouse-crazy again, detailing how Bill became Bill, why Hattori Hanzo was so willing to make a sword to slit Bill's throat, and how Billy formed his legendary Viper Squad and fell for his deadly bride.

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2. The Departed Origins: Frank Costello

Frank Costello from The Departed
 

There were rumors a while back that the producers of the Oscar-winning The Departed were thinking of spinning off a movie series about Mark Wahlberg's character, but c'mon, while the guy was gorgeously foul-mouthed, he wasn't nearly as captivating as Nicholson's mob boss extreme, Frank Costello. The guy is perfectly suited for an origin story. How did Frank come to run his big corner of the world? What happened during his rise to power? When and why did he start working with the feds? This could be an epic rags-to-bloody-riches story, scripted by William Monahan, that would fill in all the gaps in Frank's legendary history. Rise-to-power stories are always popular and Frank Costello rose to a pretty prominent position. The biggest problem, of course, would be - who could step into young Frank's shoes? It doesn't feel like all the CGI in the world could make Jack young again and who would dare take on a role made famous by Nicholson? (Aside from the late great Heath Ledger, that is.) Our advice - Go with an unknown. Maybe he’d actually get an Oscar nomination for the part (unlike notoriously-snubbed Jack).

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1. No Country for Old Men Origins: Anton Chigurh

Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men
 

Javier Bardem's award-winning villain in No Country for Old Men is nearly more intriguing because we know so little about him. He's so single-minded, such a force of nature, that he practically becomes a symbol for pure evil. So, it's not like an origin film for Anton would be overly heavy on details about how Chigurh became such a bad-ass SOB. No, Chigurh: Origins would merely be an “early days” story of Anton. I don’t want explanations for his coin-flipping or goofy haircut. I just want to know what Chigurh was doing before he picked up the scent of Llewellyn Moss. You know that Anton had some interesting, blood-drenched jobs before the one in No Country for Old Men. He’s already a legend, the kind of baddie spoken about in hushed tones, when the movie begins. How did he get there? There are numerous Coen characters - including half the people in Miller’s Crossing and The Big Lebowski - that would make for an interesting prequel spin-off (Walter Sobchak: Origins could be one of the best-selling cult DVDs of all time), but none would have the dramatic potential of this one.

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What do you think? Did we miss some prime movie origin candidates? 2001 Origins: HAL? Master and Commander Origins? Pulp Fiction Origins: The Gimp?

Sign up for a MyVideoHound account today, post a comment, and let us know what YOU think.

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Posted by CoolerKing in Features - April 23, 2009 at 8:04 AM
 
Right film, wrong character

Mozz at Apr 27 2009 03:37:48
Firefly Origins sounds like a winner to me, but surely Shepherd Book is the character with the most mysterious origin? High level Alliance security clearance, good knowledge of weapons and fighting skills not learned a the abbey. Firefly Origins: Book is the future my friends!
Why screw up "Star Trek?"

Actionguy at Apr 26 2009 00:22:54
J. J. Abrams has a "highly anticipated prequal" of the much beloved "Star Trek" due out in May, right? WRONG! The story is not about the characters that we all grew up with, but about Kirk and company of an alternate timeline. So technically, not a prequal, it's a reboot! Yes, J.J. Abrams has thrown out 40 + years of continuity to do his own take of "Star Trek." He has prepared a poop sandwich that he expects everyone to take a big bite out of and accept it as "Star Trek." Paramount will end up having to EAT that sanwich and they don't like the taste of poop! Star Trek 1966-2009 RIP
totally cool idea!

maybe at Apr 25 2009 04:14:12
i'd love to see some of these iconic characters build up to what we know them as. P.S. speaking iconic characters, what about Miranda Priestly from The devil wears Prada.. :P
Mal? Pfft.

mynameisrick at Apr 25 2009 03:19:43
We have more than enough backstory on Mal - I mean, there's "Out of Gas" and the (real) first episode of the series. The one person whose origin TRULY is shrouded in mystery is BOOK's. There's all his knowledge about guns, that ID card of his that gets him on the Alliance ship, and of course the comment by the intruder in the final episode, "That's no shepherd." More than anyone else on the ship, I would've loved to know BOOK's backstory.
Frank Booth - Blue Velvet

cambyrd at Apr 24 2009 22:53:24
Roy Batty - Blade Runner, The Wolf - Pulp Fiction, Bricktop - Snatch...
I would totally pay money...

Sharkbait at Apr 24 2009 16:10:29
...to see the Frozone movie! And by the way, while I am definitely looking forward to Wolverine, it's not even the only origin story coming out in May. And Star Trek is going to be a vastly superior movie....
movie origins...

Welcome2Wonderland at Apr 24 2009 08:31:26
No one is talking about illegally using anyone's property. Fan fiction is fine and most of us have daydreamed, even wrote some of it, or joined forums and groups to play out our fantasies, all which has nothing to do with Ten Other Movie Origins. The question posed was not who do you want to write an origin for but who you'd like to see an orgin done on big screen. I agree with most of the choices, more so with the later numbers than the earlier ones though at least two of the movies I haven't seen. There are a lot of Anime heroes and villians I'd like to see explored, and while I know it was done in the comics (and no idea how much its touched on in the upcoming movie) Snake Eyes from GIJoe would be cool.
7. Serenity Origins: Mal

Apathygrrl at Apr 24 2009 06:57:04
This! and also Marv. Those two movies would be Epic.
Sign me up for the Browncoat fundraiser!

IGPNicki at Apr 24 2009 05:20:29
Well, while I completely believe that Wolverine is gonna be a flop, purely for a fact that spinoff franchises like this rarely work out, eg Catwoman, I do agree there's some interesting prequels to be seen. I definitely would like to see more Mal/Firefly. The Morpheus one is also a really interesting choice. However, I think Rorshach's story was pretty well explained in Watchmen. Plus i'm just not crazy about taking one character from what is a huge ensemble story (like X-Men) and making a story about it. As with X-Men, the story was about all of the Watchmen, not just one. Generally, i'm not a big prequel fan but in the right hands (not money grubbing studio hands) some characters are cool to learn more about. http://www.igp-scifi.com/wolverine.html
Write your own material

Jackseppelin at Apr 23 2009 20:19:36
I am all for fan fiction. I don't read any of it, but I can understand the desire to rewrite it. That was fun. I have shown it to a couple of people and should show it on a blog or something to the rampant fans of the show. But this is unoriginal work. This is not my right. My experiences are completely different from the creators of the show and I do not qualify to helm his world of characters. Your suggestions are horrible. No one other than the creators should be able to sell the the rights to these stories. The Wolverine movie will most likely suck as big as the other X-Men movies sucked. Watchmen has greater cultural significance than the movie or any subsequent remakes. Please do not encourage your plebeian views on others. You have no right to ruin the few good fantasies out there.
 
 
 
 
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