X-Men Origins: Wolverine is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, and it’s one of the few much-mooted character spin-offs that have actually come to fruition, and success. There’s even talk of a couple of spin-offs from the spin-off itself, including Wolverine II (the Japan saga), Deadpool and Gambit.
Some spin-offs haven’t been so lucky, and have been seemingly stuck, somewhat permanently, in development hell – yet these are some of the most appealing ideas, and have fan bases standing-by. Let’s take a look at some of the best spin-offs rumoured, but never made:
The Vega Brothers (or Double V Vega)
Following the release of his early films, rumours cropped up regarding the future work of Quentin Tarantino. What now seems to be a stock question for every press junket, Tarantino is asked whether he will ever follow through with his plan to unite two of his most famous characters, twin brothers Vic Vega from Reservoir Dogs (Michael Madsen) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) from Pulp Fiction.
However, with the two actors getting no younger and the characters getting no less dead, a prequel with the stars will be increasingly harder to do convincingly, at least without using de-aging technology, such as that used to make Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen youthful in X-Men: The Last Stand.
Faith The Vampire Slayer
Before Joss Whedon stepped into the Dollhouse, his leading lady Eliza Dushku was known throughout the ‘Whendonverse’ as Buffy’s once nemesis and fellow slayer, Faith. The character was on par with Buffy’s trademark wit and strength, fighting, as well as teaming up, with Ms Summers on more than one occasion.
However, it was the dark and troubled nature of Faith that resonated with the audience, leaving them gagging to see the rumoured spin-off of Faith (and possibly Spike) on a motorbike, trying to find herself – and killing bad guys along the way, naturally.
The end of Buffy left a big Hellmouth-sized hole in the lives of its fans, and fan favourite Anthony Head was due to fill that with the much discussed series focusing on Buffy’s watcher, Giles. Often referenced, and sometimes shown (i.e. in the episode Band Candy), Giles was once known as the rebellious young Ripper, as mentioned by Ethan Rayne, regarding his flirtation with the dark arts in his youth. At one point it was rumoured that the BBC would invest in the spin-off, and while the series is still talked about, it seems we have to wait a little longer for our Rupert Giles fix.
The Animated Buffy The Vampire Slayer cartoon
The last in our Joss Whedon trilogy (although it could be argued that any number of the fleshed-out characters could have received spin-offs) is the Animated Buffy The Vampire Slayer series. With reference to the test-animation and artwork cropping up online, it seems that the post-season seven spin-off would have actually taken place within the third season, with Buffy and the Scooby Gang still in high school.
However, while scripts were written and sketches made, it seems that the inclusion of an ‘animated’ story within the cannon Buffy season 8 comic books will be as much of the vamped-up cartoon that fans will ever see.
During its superb first season, and when the series was the show to watch on TV, it transpired that there were plans to build on the inventive influx of new exciting super-powered characters, with a spin-off mini series of sorts that showcased brand new characters.
There were two great ideas that would add even more intrigue to the eager fan base the show was steadily building: the audience’s favourite character would be placed into the series, and each episode directed by an established director, including Kevin Smith and Eli Roth. However, the dreaded writer’s strike loomed its ugly head and left the spin-off powerless for the foreseeable future.
The OC / Gossip Girl spin-off
While not a natural fit for The Den, both the OC and Gossip Girl roll into the domain of geekdom because both shows (developed by Josh Schwartz) have a thorough, hyper-real understanding of their characters and are the kind of TV fodder that can be watched without any real attention, and force little urge to change the channel. Regardless, it’s the prospect of an 80s set cross-over series featuring much loved adult characters from both shows (including the brilliant Sandy Cohen from The OC) and their intertwined teenage lives.
Talks are heating up recently with the developments on Spider-Man 4(and possibly 5 should Sam Raimi have the spider sense to create a double-header), that fan favourite bad guy Venom should be heading to the big screen in his own Symbiote-enthused film. The script writing duties, should current news be believed, have been given to Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) and there are rumours going around that both Topher Grace (previously Venomin Spider-Man 3) and Bradley Cooper are in the running to play the character. This seems like one spin-off that could see the light of day, and possibly make up for Venom’s poor representation in the third Spider-Man film.
Sir Ian McKellen’s portrayal as the X-Men‘s arch nemesis Magneto is commonly referred to as the best on-screen bad guy in a comic book adaptation. His work not only embodies the dramatic flair that should only rightfully accompany Magneto’s power and majesty, but also the emotional depth that makes the character so fully formed, and almost empathic for the audience.
In Bryan Singer’s X-Men, the film’s concentration camp-set beginning highlights how good a Magneto flashback could be. Now add to this some scenes that depict the first encounter between a young Erik Lehnsherr and a youthful Charles Xavier (later to become rival, and founder of the X-Men, Professor X), along with the forming of the Brotherhood of Mutants, and we have a spin-off that draws our attention like…well, magnets.
Sadly, some spin-offs haven’t always delivered, and were probably best off languishing in development hell. For future avoidance, might we suggest not watching:
Elektra (from Daredevil) The Green Green Grass (from Only Fools And Horses) Joey (from Friends)
Leave your further suggestions in the comments…!