…. is a headline I really wish was real. I know it would never happen, but as I often do on this blog I like to geek/nerd out and hypothesis what the outline of the movie could be if Marvel ever decided to figuratively burn a huge pile of money and make a Darkhawk film.
First we should probably have a refresher on who/what Darkhawk is for those who didn’t collect comics in the early 90’s or did collect comics in the early 90’s but saw titles like Darkhawk #1 or Sleepwalker #1 and thought “hahahahaha no fucking way, i’ll just spend my money on one of the man man many comics featuring mutants with a bunch of pouches.”
I have two thoughts that best kind of sums up the Darkhawk Character, one is mine, and the other is… some comic.. person. I honestly don’t remember who it was that said it, but this person said that every 10 or 15 years Marvel kept trying to make a new spiderman type character. A teenager who kind of had a sucky but not overly tragic upbringing, who receives powers and has to balance being a teenager and school and dating and all that with the moral responsibility that comes with these new powers. I think it’s probably a fair assessment but it doesn’t do much to capture why some people like me really loved the character.
I think a better analogy is that Darkhawk is that journeyman player who use to be with one of your favorite teams. He was never a super star, but you loved when he was in the game because of some random reason. He could of had a cool name like Bo Outlaw. Maybe he was an integral but unheralded piece of something great like Malik Rose. Or he or she was just something you had high hopes for that just never panned out but continued to hold a place in your heart like Marc Edwards.
If you want me to be more specific as to the character of Darkhawk, sure, why not. I should note that this will be broad strokes since with many minor characters, the details revolving around his past, abilities, and origin shift fairly drastically depending on who is writing for the character at that time and what they need him to do in support the real main protagonist.
Chris Powell was a teenage who discovered an amulet in some deserted place and when he gripped it he suddenly would transform into Darkhawk, which is a robotic suit of armor that is alien in nature and has the ability of flight as well as energy projections and some other stuff. Basically it was like a less versatile iron man suit that was more mystical than technological.
A large part of his initial adventures as dark hawk revolved around chris either fighting a villian of the week or trying to figure out what they hell the suit is about. The villian of the week usually involved standard low level marvel bad guys and darkhawk teaming up here and there with good guys like the punisher or spiderman. The mystery of the suit stuff involved fighting other guys that kind of looked like him or also had suits.
Most recently it was revealed that the dark hawk suit was part of an evil galactic war group called the fraternity of the raptor and Chris’ suit is one of only a few left. Chris finding the amulet and using the suit has awoken the other remaining suits or some such shit. It is also revealed that the suit is capable of switching into different battle modes and is way more versatility, similar to the way the current incarnation of the blue beetle’s armor is able to make things up based on the will power of the host. It’s actually kind of a cool idea and what i read of “The War of Kings” was pretty good stuff, but anything that only features space characters and no Silver Surfer does become boring pretty fast in my opinion.
In fact if you want more info about dark hawk and the similarities to the Blue Beetle then check out this youtube clip:
Those are the broad strokes and any discussion about his time as part of a myriad of random team ups or role in other major marvel story lines is kind of moot for the purposes of making an outline of a movie that would never be made. In fact the whole point of this post might be to justify uploading a bunch of pictures of Darkhawk to my blog.
Let’s shift gears and talk about what should and shouldn’t be in the movie. First I don’t think we should get to specific with where the powers come from. Anytime there is anything mystical or other worldly in nature the unknown element that help makes that thing intriguing is killed if you try to quantify it. Think about Star Wars and the midichlorians or Highlander II and the weird ass time travel/aliens bullshit. Let there be some mystery around the suit and powers with an occasional hint that even though Chris is a good dude, the suit itself might have a dark history.
Now the other big elephant in the room; the origin story. Or should I say; origin story? I think it is kind of silly to have a long drawn out origin story every time they reboot a super hero, especially with someone like Superman or Batman or Spiderman where not only 100% of comic fans know the story, but a large majority of the movie patrons do as well. Also, if you know nothing about spiderman before seeing the movie, wouldn’t the previews that attracted you to the movie kind of give you the general idea. It’s a dude with spider powers. Boom. there you go. Now lets watch him use a manhole cover to bitch slap a guy in a rhino themed mech suit.
Still you need to give some back story and some dimensions to the character, otherwise it is just a sizzle reel and that isn’t as much fun as it sounds. I think a compromise is in order since compromises never result in a watered down product. I think the origins of Chris and the darkhawk suit should be sprinkled throughout the movie, not in the way they did with man of steel with the flashbacks, but instead more along the line of Unforgiven.
Yeah I know, maybe trying to use a story structure similar to one of the greatest westerns of all time, or just greatest movies in general, for a cult classic comic character is a bit absurd. , My point is, there’s nothing that compelling about the story of Chris Powell becoming Darkhawk that hasn’t been done one way or another either in comic book movies or TV Shows. Instead let’s get all reverse William Munney and have Chris Powell as an adult, working as a second tier super hero when the movie begins.
He’s not on the speed dial of any of the Avengers, but occasionally he will happen by and lend a hand to other 2nd tier heroes or maybe gets in over his head and needs a bail out from the big guys. At this point the cinematic universe of marvel is one in which the people of earth are fully aware of super heroes and have been dealing with that for a few years. Everyone in this world knows Thor and the Hulk, but maybe only those really into the super hero scene know about some of the lesser heroes like a Darkhawk, Speedball, Thrasher, USAgent, Nomad, etc…
Unforgiven had characters talking to or about Clint Eastwood’s William Munney to provide a rich yet incomplete back story on the character. Every little nugget they would drop was compared in the viewers mind to the lackluster figure Eastwood portrayed throughout the first 90 percent of the movie. That divide between what we were hearing and what we were seeing created suspense throughout the movie until the end when it was resolved by showing just who the real William Munney was.
I see a similar structure for Chris Powell but instead of him being the ultimate bad William Munney everyone ohhs and ahhs about, he is kind of a joke when compared to the other big name guys. We could have scenes where Chris’ friends or relatives who don’t know his secret identity talk about how darkhawk screwed up or got bailed out in stories that they heard. As they say tell these stories we see flash backs of just part of the story that coincides with what is being said.
Later there will be a reveal either through a later continuation of the flashbacks or some other new source of information that shows that Darkhawk was more than just cannon fodder and at times was the legitimate hero. That he has grown over time in confidence, ability, leadership and is valued by the super hero community.
The reason I think this would be an effective story structure is because I don’t envision a Darkhawk movie having a sequel, or at least not being created in hopes of making subsequent movies. In fact it would probably work best as part of one movie with a series of vignettes or short stories focusing on a handfull of super heroes that probably don’t need a full movie. Think of it like all the marvel one shots they did that focused on Agent Coulson and Shield before they ever made shield it into a TV show.
Lets continue on however with the premise that this would be a full movie. It is tough not to compare this non existent future movie that will never be made to other super hero movies, but as I work it out in my head I start thinking of the structure of Watchmen and the over all feel of Hancock. Specifically the first half of Hancock before it went off the rails.
Ohhhhh before I jump into an actual outline, there is one big major thing that needs to be discussed; the villain. Who should it be? As far as I know there were no great Darkhawk antagonists in the same way most major super heroes have an arch nemesis. A quick search of http://marvel.wikia.com/Category:Darkhawk_Villains shows nothing of much promise. All of his main adversaries were lame bad guys with suits kind of like his but not really, or random marvel 3rd string villains who usually take on spiderman.
So we are left with three options in my opinion. 1. Create a new villian… which, seems like more work than I want to do for this blog post… although i’m already closing in on 19 hundred words as I type this. 2. Use an established bad guy the hasn’t yet surfaced in another movies like Tombstone. or 3. Mold one of the Darkhawk villains like portal into something more interesting.
Since I don’t want to do an origin story, and I already mentioned that this would exist in the MCU and have references to previous battles and villains then I think a combination of two and three are the way to go. I think use some established bad guys like tombstone or absorbing man in the maybe flashbacks / probably spoken references, and then use a modified portal as the main villain/obstacle Darkhawk has to overcome by the end of the movie.
So here is my pitch: A Darkhawk suit is terrorizing the same area Chris Powell has protected over the past three years causing friends, family, and fellow heroes to question if Chris is still in control of the suit or if he has succumbed to the suits dark impulses.
So Portal is the other darkhawk suit, and maybe the reason he is drawing out Chris is to try to cause him to lose control of the suit and the symbiotic bond they have. This could later be revealed to have been orchestrated by Talon or Gyre or one of the other Order of Raptors. Another idea might be that Portal thinks Darkhawk is one of the order and is part of another group that is sworn to kill off the last of the Raptors. Portal is the last of his group and re purposed one of the suits back in the day to aid in his quest. Of course the hero has to be the underdog so I think portal should augment his suit even further with Savage Steel or maybe use him as a mini boss battle before taking on portal.
Lots of options. Lots of options. My next post will have me jumping into the outline and see if I can figure out some of these sticking points. As I go through I’m always going to err on the side of whatever would be cheapest or easiest since that’s the only way this movie, that will never ever ever happen, would get financed.