10:00am PT by Graeme McMillan
5 More Movies That Could Use Comic Book 'Missing Chapters'
Unveiled this week, the comic book “missing chapter” of Interstellar gave director Christopher Nolan the chance to expand his story of mankind’s survival — and close a potential plot hole — without adding to the movie’s already-lengthy run time. It’s not the first time that such a conceit has been used (Wired, which ran the Interstellar comic, did a similar thing with J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek in 2009), but with any luck, it’ll be the start of the next big thing. Here are five more movies from this year that should follow in Interstellar’s footsteps and spin out their own “missing chapters.”
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
In a fictional universe updated twice a year on the big screen and weekly on television, you might think that Marvel Studios movies wouldn’t need a “missing scene” comic book. For The Winter Soldier, however, there’s a missing story about SHIELD’s files being uploaded to the Internet by the Black Widow due to what we’ve seen in Agents of SHIELD since. Given the lack of massive destabilization of the world as we know it, some of those files clearly haven’t been found, so presumably something happened. Was the Widow lying? Did someone else intercept the files and destroy them? We need to know, even if the fictional public of the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t.
Who should draw it? Chris Samnee, current artist on Marvel’s Daredevil series and one of the best superhero artists in the industry today. He’s got the clean line and storytelling chops to make a story like this work.
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Surely no-one who sat through this movie could want any “missing chapter” as much as the missing epilogue that explains what happened after the Autobots and Decepticons essentially destroyed Hong Kong in the climactic battle. I mean, sure, the Decepticons were defeated (kind of? I mean, Galvatron did escape, metaphorically twirling his cybernetic mustache and announcing that he’d be back) and Optimus Prime got to stand at the waterfront, looking all heroic — but Hong Kong was still pretty much totaled before that. Somewhere, there’s a story about the Chinese authorities’ reaction to everything that happened, and Optimus having to sheepishly admit that maybe he’d let the Dinobots roam wild around China to rampage freely, which maybe wasn’t the best idea considering…
Who should draw it? Sean Murphy, who also drew Nolan’s Interstellar comic for Wired. As anyone who’s read his Joe the Barbarian series with Grant Morrison already knows, he can bring toys to life in a way few others could manage.
If any movie this year was primed for a comic book expansion more than Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s meditation on pop culture, celebrity and imagination more than Birdman, it’s… well, probably a Marvel movie. The idea of turning Birdman into a comic book for a missing chapter also feels just a little heretical, however (It’s not as if the movie embraces comic book culture, after all), so why not lean into that with an overly garish faux-history of the Birdman franchise from creation to the third movie starring Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), modeled after countless comic book retrospectives of characters like Batman and Captain America? Just imagine the possibilities for meta-textual satire available! We’ve already seen the fake trailer for Birdman Returns; think of what could be done with this kind of thing in comic format.
Who should draw it? An army of artists with varying styles, so as to suggest a complete history of the fictional character. Or, if one man has to handle the whole thing, Jim Rugg; he works in a number of styles and, as his Supermag from last year showed, is no stranger to working in a format that requires him to suggest numerous genres and eras from times past.
Read more 'Birdman': What the Critics Are Saying
Like most people who enjoyed Godzilla, I found myself wishing that we could have had much more of Bryan Cranston’s Joe Brody. The 15-year gap between Brody losing his wife at the Janjira Nuclear Plant and his detainment in the quarantine zone is literally just there, waiting to be filled in with stories of thwarted investigations, paranoia and the tragedy of a man trying (and failing) to find meaning in disaster. Admittedly, no matter how good the comic book version of that story could be, chances are the audience would still find themselves missing Cranston’s performance, but that's no excuse for leaving the story untold. It's not unfamiliar ground, either; Godzilla screenwriter Max Borenstein already co-wrote a prequel comic featuring Ken Wantanabe's character Dr. Serizawa.
Who should draw it? It sounds like an uncertain compliment, admittedly, but few artists can make misery as beautiful as Batman and X-Men veteran Frazer Irving, whose work is currently on display in Annihilator with Grant Morrison.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Admittedly, I can’t think of a particular dangling plot thread from Wes Anderson’s comedy about a concierge’s attempts to prove his innocence after being accused of murder, but two things make that problem almost meaningless. Firstly, the conceit of the movie is that it’s one chapter in a memoir from Tom Wilkinson’s character, so there are, obviously, other chapters to be told. Secondly, Anderson’s movies — and this one in particular — are so visually stylized, colorful and controlled that it just makes the concept of him writing and art-directing a comic book an immensely exciting possibility. Forget just one missing chapter: who do we have to beg to make The Grand Budapest Hotel: The Graphic Novel of The Rest of That Memoir happen?
Who should draw it? Again, this is a project that might benefit from having multiple artists contribute, but the first names that come to mind are the art team of DC Entertainment’s Batgirl, Babs Tarr and colorist Maris Wicks. Not only does Tarr’s linework suggest a liveliness that matches Anderson’s movies, but Wicks’ sense of color is certainly something that would appear to merge well with the worlds Anderson creates.