A good movie needs a great screenplay. Casting too, of course, is key. But beyond that, a perfectly conceived cameo, crossover, Easter-egg or “nostalgia bomb” can go a long way to redeeming an otherwise lacklustre film in the heart of even the most casual fan.
Leonard Nimoy’s chilling cameo in Star Trek: Into Darkness (I’m not even a trekkie and my heart skipped a beat). Those few twinkling notes of Jurassic Park’s original score, playing discordantly over the Jurassic World scene in which the main protagonists discover remnants of the original park. Chills! “Alien Vs Predator”? “Freddy Vs Jason”? “Freddy Vs Predator”!? Yes please!!! All of them are a bit before my time… but I gotta know who wins!!!
Now, with the world-shattering cameo-splattered crossover madness of the upcoming Avengers Infinity Wars – and Steven Spielberg’s impending nostalgia-splosion, Ready Player One – let’s take a look a 9 movie concepts we’ll probably never see… and probably couldn’t emotionally handle if we did.
— Earthworm Jim Carey —
Earthworm Jim, the (short-lived) animated series, chronicled the misadventures of a super-powered-cyber-suit-wearing earthworm and his plucky chum Pete. The show was based on the videogame of the same name, owned by the Sega corporation – perhaps a spiritual antithesis to their speedy blue console mascot?
Earthworm Jim’s whacky bravado and “Groovy!” catchphrase scream “peak era Jim Carrey”. Alas, Jim is on to bigger and better things now – traversing the astral plain in search of universal oneness.
Fair play to him. But Jim, if you ever DO feel like dipping your sexy big toe back into feature-length comedy… the world NEEDS you to lend your voice-acting talents to a sentient bipedal super-worm, donning a CG cyber-suit doing battle with The Evil Queen Pulsating-Bloated-Festering-Sweaty-Pus-filled-Malformed-Slug-For-A-Butt (actual name).
— a Jeff Buckley Biopic starring James Franco —
In 1994, music lost a prodigy and the Earth lost an angel. Son of the legendary folk singer Tim Buckley (who died at the same age) Jeff Buckley will forever be a folk hero – critically and commercially acclaimed in life and revered in death, with his album “Grace” posthumously successful albums of all time.
There are number of Buckley biopics in various stages of production – most notably “Mystery White Boy” (still in production, officially sanctioned by Jeff’s mother) and “Greetings From Tim Buckley” (2012) released to mixed reviews.
Jeff’s are some mighty shoes to fill. James Franco (Pineapple Express, The Disaster Artist, Why Him?) cultivates an eerily similar air of mystique and intrigue: who else to encapsulate the goofy beauty of Buckley? Not to mention the easily-overlooked fact that JAMES FRANCO LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE JEFF F*CKING BUCKLEY! Why aren’t more people talking about this!?
But alas, if Franco’s brief duet with Zoey Deschanel in Your Highness is anything to go by, he probably doesn’t have the pipes to contend with heavenly Buckle-boots. But then again, who the hell DOES?
— Friends: a feature length PREQUEL —
Rumours of a Friends reunion have been on-and-off more times than Ross and Rachel. The genre-defining show – which ran for 10 seasons and 236 episodes from 1994 to 2004 – will forever warm hold a place in our little turn-of-the-millennium hearts. At one time or another, all six members of the core cast have eluded to the possibility of a Friends movie, in the press. Given their respective ages, a “10 years later” sequel would be the most likely plot – and for that reason, nobody ever talks about the possibility of… a PREQUEL.
Imagine it. Ross and Chandler bumbling through college with their 2-piece electro outfit “Way, No Way”. How did Phoebe wind up on the streets of NYC? Rachel’s nose job. Monica’s weight loss, Joey’s… brain aneurism (seriously, is it me or did Joey’s IQ drop by like 40 points over the course of 10 seasons?). Not to mention all your supporting favourites: “handsome naked guy”, straight Carol and smelly cat.
Obviously recasting younger Friends would be franchise suicide. But WHAT IF they got it RIGHT? Dare we dream? Alternatively, the studio could make use of modern special effect tech and simply computer-generate the Friends that we know and love; immortalizing them forever in a beige, jazz-bass infinity. Sound creepy? Surely it’s no creepier than the 90s canned laughter of long-deceased audience members?
— The Rick and Morty Movie —
I doubt much of a case needs to be made of 90+ more minutes of shwifty goodness? But a Rick and Morty movie might struggle to break from the masterfully finessed “22minute Hero’s Journey” format that Dan Harmon is famous for. Regrettably, an official R&M movie, as much as we’d splooge our schmeckles to see it, would almost certainly weigh heavy on the consciences of its co-creators as pandering to the lowest common denominator. So for now, all we can do is channel surf our Inter-dimensional Cable boxes for a universe where Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland don’t give a shit about artistic integrity.
Thankfully, C137 Dan and Justin still do. So give them a f*cking break!
— Sex-Toy Story —
Pixar Animation Studios has instilled sentient life into everything from children’s toys to office equipment, cars to planes, emotions to emojis. Seth Rogen’s 2016 adult computer-animated movie “Sausage Party” parodies this “whimsical secret world” motif by breathing life in a cast of grocery items – to hilarious effect.
Will almost definitely never see a film where an anally retentive butt-plug is voiced by Uma Thurman – but just IMAGINE, by the laws of the Toy Story universe, the rich inner life of a protagonist found under Andy’s Mom’s bed? Note to writers: the names “Woody” and “Buzz” are already taken.
— Wes Anderson’s retells “The Shining” —
Beyond the obvious aesthetic similarities – the charming symmetry, the disconcerting zooms – consider for a moment revisiting “The Grand Overlook Hotel” where a disaffected Jack Torrance, in his dapper Sunday best, is typing on his quirky vintage typewriter… almost exclusively throughout the film.
Also, he’s listening to some wistfully nostalgic classic rock song on an old record player. Bliss, no? Sort-of-happy-sort-of-terrifying bliss. Also Bill Murray is there.
— Spiderman goes Omega-Level Meta —
In an episode of Spiderman The Animated Series, the mysterious “Madame Web” unites a number of selected “spidermen” from alternate dimensions to do battle with Spider-Carnage. Given Marvel’s propensity for ambitious crossovers (not to mention Stan Lee’s penchant for mind-bending cameos), would it be crazy to imagine a movie universe in which our current Tom Holland Spidey is united with Andrew Garfield’s… and, dare I say it, O.G. Tobey Maguire’s?
Hell, if we’re gonna dream, why not throw in Neil Patrick Harris (voice of Spiderman in The New Animated Series of 2003). As for the cherry on this densely-layered meta-cake? Well wouldn’t you know it… the character of Deadpool just so happens to be a noted Spiderman fan… and you just KNOW he’d pop in for a spelfie (spidey-selfie).
— Pokémon M —
The Pokémon Company (a Japanese consortium between Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures) has always been good at rebranding to appease its fans – despite the format of the games and the premise of the series ultimately remaining unchanged for almost 20 years. Pokemon GO launched with the original 150 Pokémon, the likes of which newer younger fans had never seen, but to us original 1990s Pokemaniacs, these were old friends. Marketing genius.
2017’s “Pokémon The Movie: I Choose You!” was a real tearjerker, no doubt, laden with melancholia and season 1 nostalgia. But, alas, the charming cartoon-violence is no longer enough to satiate the bloodlust of the serious anime fan.
Dare we imagine a “mature” Pokémon feature for fans of the original anime, now in our late twenties/early thirties. Something closer to the original manga series. Arbok’s Pokédex entry says “it can even flatten steel oil drums”… so let’s see some bone-crushing action? Magmortar’s declares that “from its arm, it launches fireballs hotter than 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit”. So let’s see some melted faces! A plot laced with political intrigue involving the Elite Four, corporate espionage at Silph Co., an out-and-out horror set in Lavender Town, romance, deception, betrayal and a protagonist that’s older than 10.
— Brokeback 2: an all-female reboot —
Ghostbusters was fun. But we’ve done ghost-hunters now. How about something for us cowgirl lovin’ lesbinems? Sexual frustrations over the lack of a “lesbian Brokeback” became so palpable back in 2017, they actually spilled over and spawned rumours of an all-female reboot starring Margot Robbie and Emma Watson.
The two stars have playfully swatted away the rumours, stating: “we’d definitely do it, no question, we’d love to!” while giggling and hitting each other with duck-feather pillows. In my mind.
And finally – an honorary mention on our list of “movies we’ll probably never see”: a totally original screenplay, neither prequel nor sequel nor spin-off, not written to formula, with up-and-coming actors, a hungry, resourceful director working with a modest budget, derivative of nothing and yet encapsulating everything we know to be true about the human condition.
Let’s hear your God-tier concepts for perfect movies, cameos, crossovers and dream castings. Comment below – outstanding contributions will be assimilated and re-posted with honorary mention. Please feel free to mercilessly troll me for any discrepancies in any of the info above. After all, what’s the internet for?
Jordan Gray | @Talldarkfriend