This month sees the release of the latest Marvel blockbuster – The Avengers: Age of Ultron – not to mention a new series on Netflix – Daredevil. Today, Marvel is a Hollywood behemoth – a studio that has created its own expansive universe on both the big and small screen. However, this wasn’t always the case…
The comic book movie renaissance can be credited to either Blade in 1998 or X-Men in 2000, but one thing is clear – before studios took these characters seriously, a lot of them weren’t exactly treated with the respect they were due.
Ahead of our screening of Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1998), we look at the lesser-known Marvel movies that the comic giant probably wishes didn’t exist.
The assorted Captain Americas (1978, 1990)
You’ve probably heard about the 1990 Captain America DTV movie starring Matt (son of JD) Salinger, Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty, but did you know there were two TV movies back in the late 70s?
Captain America and Captain America II: Death Too Soon starred B-movie stalwart Reb Brown (RoboWar, Space Mutiny) and saw the Star-Spangled Man wield his shield against Hammer legend Christopher Lee! No-one liked them and Reb Brown’s time as Steve Rogers was quickly forgotten.
Doctor Strange (1978)
Marvel are currently planning a big budget version of the Sorcerer Supreme’s adventures with Benedict Cumberbatch, but in 1978 it was hoped the character could launch a TV series, like the successful Amazing Spider-man TV series with The Sound of Music‘s Nicholas Hammond.
Like Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., the TV movie was meant to serve as a pilot for Peter Hooten’s Stephen Strange but, despite a warm reception and a lot of input from Stan Lee, it was shelved.
That time Thor and Daredevil appeared in The Incredible Hulk (1989)…
Seven years after The Incredible Hulk series finished, Marvel made several TV movies that continued the adventures of Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby’s Bruce Banner.
The Incredible Hulk Returns and The Trial of The Incredible Hulk are probably best known for being the first features to crossover with other Marvel heroes – Thor and Daredevil!
There were also rumours around this time that Marvel tried to do a She-Hulk series with Brigette Nielsen. They only got as far as test photos.
The Fantastic Four (1994)
Never released, produced by Roger Corman and best known for only being made so that the producers could retain the rights to the franchise, the story behind this version of The Fantastic Four (1994) is astounding. So much so that a documentary has just been released detailing how it all went so wrong.
As Agent Maria Hill says in an episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “Who or what is a Man-Thing?”
In this case, it was an ill-conceived horror film about a shambling swamp-monster, whose touch burns those who feel fear, battling an evil oil tycoon.
Get your tickets for NICK FURY: AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. here.