That Time We Almost Had a City of Heroes Movie and TV Show
Way back in June of 2007, before Iron Man had released, sparking a new age in superhero movies, we nearly had a City of Heroes movie. Rights to make the movie were optioned by Tom DeSanto who was Executive Producer of X-Men and X2 as well as Producer of the Transformers movies.
The plans were to make a live-action movie set “around a group of superheroes who live in Paragon City and must team up in order to fight an invasion of aliens known as the Rikti.” Better known to us as the First Rikti War. In fact, the Rikti World Invasion, took place just over 2 months after the announcement of the movie was made. Kind of makes you wonder if the movie and the invasion were connected in some way.
If the movie was successful then there was also the option for a City of Heroes tv series. Though sadly no details were ever given on what it would have been about, if there were any details even hashed out.
It seems unlikely that the movie would have gone the same way as the First Rikti War did though, as fighting continued for 6 months before the final attack with the Alpha Team and Omega Team. Nearly all of the Alpha Team was lost, estimated at 800 heroes, and the Omega Team, made up of 50 heroes vanished, not to be seen again until the Rikti World Invasion several years later. Sure, maybe we would have seen an epic battle like what we got with Endgame…but with most of the heroes dying…I’m just not sure Hollywood would have gone that way.
The movie itself would have been a tough sell to begin with. Many of City of Heroes’ most iconic heroes are very similar to Marvel and DC heroes that people already know. Statesman is basically a mix between Superman and Captain America, Positron is a sort of Iron Man, Manticore is Batman/Hawkeye…and so on.
However, when Variety reported on the optioning for the movie they said:
DeSanto sparked to the project because it offered “one-stop shopping” for characters and plots. “You also haven’t seen a big superheroes vs. aliens movie,” he said. “I see this as the next big superhero franchise.”
This was, of course, before the first Avengers movie which was a big superheroes vs. aliens movie. A movie which was written by Zak Penn, who worked on X2 with DeSanto.
I’m just picturing the Battle for New York set in Steel Canyon with that epic shot of all of them standing back to back but instead of the Avengers it’s Statesman and the surviving eight all putting up one epic last stand…oh what could have been.
Sadly though, as so often happens with movies that get optioned the City of Heroes movie was never made and never made it beyond those first steps. Another MMO, The Secret World, has suffered a similar fate. It’s still fun to look back and consider what could have been.
Though it does raise a question, who would have played Statesman?