When it comes to comic book movie adaptations, the only name more popular than any hero from DC or Marvel is that of comic creator Mark Millar. Whether you love his works or hate them, Millar is a polarizing and iconic writer whose shamelessly self-indulgent style helped make his mark in the comic book scene. Millar's ideas continue to influence superhero movies and convince producers to give his original works the live-action treatment. Here's a quick rundown of Millar's continued influence on movies based on comic books.
- Wanted (2008, Universal)
- Kick-Ass (2010, Lionsgate)
- Kick-Ass 2 (2013, Universal)
- Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014, Fox)
Alongside the likes of Constantine and V For Vendetta, Millar's comic book movies were those that dared to be different and break conventions during the rise of superhero movies in the 2000's. Gone were any quests to save the world. Instead, Millar's movies featured violent and at times psychotic anti-heroes fighting villains somehow even worse than themselves.
That's not to say they were perfect adaptations.
Wanted and both Kick-Ass movies were met with questions more than awe when they they strayed too far from their respective source materials' plots and themes. Wanted went so far as scrapping its story in favor of assassins who took orders from an ancient sewing machine. Millar's most popular and loyal adaptation to date is the spy-movie homage and surprise hit Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Despite taking many liberties with their source materials, these movies can still stand on their own as decent stand-alone action movies, which is a testament to the strength of Millar's writing and the filmmakers behind them.
Fox's Marvel Movies
Due to his time with Marvel, Mark Millar was tapped by 20th Century Fox to be their Marvel comics consultant. His work on comic book titles like The Ultimates had already influenced many of Fox's Marvel-based movies, most notably in the grim and bleak Fantastic Four reboot that took a lot of notes from Millar's run in the comic Ultimate Fantastic Four.
Millar also had a hand in helping Fox's vision for the X-Men movies expand by means of spin-off movies. Case in point: His melancholic post-apocalyptic vision for Wolverine in the comic Old Man Logan has been confirmed to be the basis for the currently untitled third and final Wolverine solo movie.
Millar is currently aiding the development of Fox's upcoming X-Force. Depending on how negotiations and script writing go, X-Force could be R-rated and feature Ryan Reynolds reprising his role as Deadpool, but this time as a team player in a group of five.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe
Millar may have written many alternate universe stories for Marvel, but the changes he implemented have become so iconic that they were incorporated into Marvel's main canon and the MCU as a whole.
The MCU's contemporary feel and political themes owe a lot to Millar's The Ultimates, where The Avengers are a government sanctioned strike force instead of just being another superhero team. The most famous MCU aspects from The Ultimates are the revamped vision of Nick Fury based on Samuel L. Jackson (which, funnily enough, could only be done in comics if Marvel agreed to cast Jackson as Fury in the future) and the entirety of the Civil War crisis crossover which served as the foundation for Captain America: Civil War.
Millar was one of many comic book writers Jon Favreau recruited to help shape the first Iron Man movie, laying the MCU's groundwork in the prcess. One of his notable inputs was convincing Favreau to drop the Mandarin as the movie's main villain and use Iron Monger instead. That character was originally being reserved for the Iron Man sequels.
Millar may be known for helping shape Marvel comics as we know them today, but some of his most iconic works come from his own slice of the comic industry, known as Millarworld.
Millarworld is home to Mark Millar's original works, all defined by their dark yet often humorous take on superheroes and the author's signature excess. Under this publication name, Millar splits the income and proceeds from each creator-owned project with the title's respective artist/s at an even 50-50 ratio. Some of the books he wrote for Millarworld are also set for multiple live-action adaptions.
Upcoming projects based on Millar's works include:
- The futuristic time-travel adventure of Chrononauts from Universal Pictures
- The generational struggle of a superhero family in Jupiter's Legacy which could become a TV show or a movie, depending on producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura's creative decision
- The super-villain centered carnage of Nemesis written and directed by Bad Boys For Life mastermind Joe Caranahn
- An aging space adventurer's last hurrah in Starlight from 20th Century Fox, which Millar says are in possession of a completed script
- The superhero themed journey of self-acceptance in Superior that is being developed with Kick-Ass and Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn attached to produce