Director/Showrunner Wishlist for Marvel Phase 3
Thor: Ragnarok – Neil Marshall
Ragnarok, for all intents and purposes, is he Norse apocalypse. There is a bit more hope since the world will be reborn afterward, but Ragnarok rears its head as a great battle, a mythic sword-and-sandal kind of battle. Neil Marshall knows a thing or two about medieval battles. He directed two of the bigger battle episodes of “Game of Thrones” (“Blackwater” and ” The Watchers on the Wall”). Hiring a “Game of Thrones” directed might make people shriek since it seem Thor: The Dark World has ruffled more feathers than it perked up, but lets not forget that Marshall is an honest to god movie directed, creating cult horror flicks Dog Soldiers and The Descent. He’s been stuck working in TV latley, so it would be great to see him given a true Hollywood blockbuster.
Black Panther – Kathryn Bigelow
There was a time when Oscar winning Bigelow made some seriously “cool” movies. She took gang of lovable hobo vampires on the road in Near Dark, and she sicced Keanu Reeves FBI agent after a new-age surfer bank robber in Point Break. She was destined for blockbuster greatness, but something changed. She started working with screenwriter Mark Boal, whose time as a journalist has informed the timely political thrillers The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. Considering Black Panther is the king (or at least heir) to a secret technologically advanced isolationist African nation, a background in international political thrillers would come in handy. Marvel Studios will never go as dramatic or dark as Bigelow’s Oscar movies, but she clearly has chops to keep up the humor and thrills of your average Marvel yarn.
Captain Marvel – Brad Bird
As a one of the more elite Pixar directors, Brad Bird has his head up in the sky in the best way possible. He is obviously a fan of classic sci-fi, the kind that was about looking to the future with hope. His features The Iron Giant and The Incredibles prove that. Even better, he was able to convert that frivolity and amazement to the fourth installment of Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible series, Ghost Protocol. It effectively blended two eras: the fun-loving adventures of a by-gone era with the fast-paced action thrill-rides modern audiences are used to. So far, Tomorrowland looks to recapture it all over again. Captain Marvel deals with so many of these things. Looking to the stars, hopeful of the possibilities, fearful of the consequences with an affable lead in Carol Danvers. Frankly, whether this movie or another, Brad Bird should direct a Marvel movie.
Inhumans – Alex Proyas
We are not sure what the Inhumans movie is going to look like. The comics have it as a hidden kingdom, not unlike Atlantis, with a giant level of detail. Rumors speculate that the Inhumans might replace mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the super-powered minority hiding amongst the people. Those would constitute very different movies in my opinion, one having a grand scale and the latter having a claustrophobic scale. With The Crow and Dark City, Proyas was able to capture a claustrophobic, grounded scope with promise of a much bigger picture mythos just beyond the margins. When he had his chance to go big, he ended up with I,Robot, a deeply flawed but not entirely horrible summer blockbuster. The movie looked awesome so I think he would be able to handle the bigger scope version of Inhumans also. I was really looking forward to his aborted adaptation of Paradise Lost, and the similarities are pretty clear: celestial beings being led by brothers who have a violent falling out.
Luke Cage – Ernest R. Dickerson
I do not believe Ernest R. Dickerson has ever actually run a show, but he has directed big features and worked on some of the best shows on the air. His movies aren’t necessarily anything to write home about. They include Bulletproof with Damon Wayans and Adam Sandler and the underrated Demon Knight, a Tales of the Crypt feature starring Billy Zane and William Sadler. While not groundbreaking, I think they are built with sensibilities Marvel Studios likes in their directors. His TV work is more impressive though. He has directed episodes of geek friendly tv shows The Walking Dead, Burn Notice, and Dexter. He has also directed episodes of The Wire and Treme, two amazing shows intimately involved with the struggles of poor, violent neighborhoods, something Luke Cage should also be intimately involved with.
Iron Fist – Bryan Fuller
Unlike Dickerson, Fuller is absolutely a showrunner, known for very cheery supernatural tales like Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies. Obviously, he’s no stranger to Comic-Con, but it is his work on the utterly hypnotic Hannibal that convinces me he could be part of Iron Fist. Yes, Iron Fist requires a lot of fighting, but it also involves a lot of surreal, fantasy world characters from K’un-Lun. The images of Hannibal are some of the most surreal I have seen on TV. It even had a few cool fight scenes thrown in for good measure. I think Fuller could walk the Marvel company line very easily while bringing in a more heightened sense of reality with Iron Fist. Hannibal has been on the bubble, and I wouldn’t be surprised (but I would be very, very sad) if this was its last season. He’s also developing Neil Gaiman’s American Gods for Starz, so he might not be available if that takes off.
Bryan Fuller is also the man who brought magic to the TV show Heroes. He can totally handle a superhero show! It wasn’t the same once he departed. That man can touch anything and make it wonderful.
curious to see that, same for the Inhumans.
Excellent and exciting list, with clear and compelling rationales. I too thought of Dickerson but Showrunners tend to be writer/producers and he’s done neither. The late David Mills, who wrote for The Wire and a host of other shows, would have been perfect. Fuller is an amazing choice, though of course you’re right he might be busy with American Gods. Of course it’s entirely possible Rosenberg could be Showrunner for Luke Cage and Deknight for Iron Fist, as I’m guessing we won’t see those series till 2016, meaning two shows per year.
Here are some other thoughts (though as I said I liked your list a lot):
Black Panther: Dickerson or John Ridley
Captain Marvel: Mimi Leder or Jennifer Yuh
Inhumans: Jen & Syliva Soska or Dustin Cretton
Luke Cage: Pam Veasey or Courtney Kemp Agbog
Iron Fist: Tim Minear or Steven Maeda
Oh and for Thor 3: Amma Asante or Kevin MacDonald
Alex Proyas on the Inhumans would be perfect. I’d pay to see that