Every writer has stories they know they’ll never tell. These are stories I would love to tell if I had the permission or opportunity. (So, if anyone wants to produce these or send me a contract…)
Joker: Clown Prince of Crime Fighting (4 issue limited series)
I love to turn things on their head. To look at an established story through a new lens that takes one assumption, twists it to the opposite extreme, and see what happens. In this world, what if Batman were the criminal and the hero Gotham needed was the Joker?
At 10 years old, Bruce Wayne saw his parents—the heads of Gotham’s most powerful crime family—murdered. Fearing the coming war among Gotham’s crime families to fill the power vacuum triggers a war, Alfred sends Bruce abroad for his safety.
Fifteen years later, Bruce seeks to reclaim his birthright—control of Gotham’s underworld. By day, he is CEO of Wayne Enterprises, the legitimate front on his criminal activities. By night, he is the Batman, waging a one-man war to eliminate the rival crime families.
After eight years, the Batman breaks his one rule—he kills. So Jim Gordon, the last honest cop, forms an unlikely alliance with the only man who might be able to do what even Superman cannot—bring down the dark knight.
ROBOCOP: Battlestar Terminator (48 page one-shot)
Stories of creations rebelling against their creator goes back further than Frankenstein—the golem and Lucifer’s fall. ROBOCOP: Battlestar Terminator weaves together stories of humanity versus its creation, with the remake of Battlestar Galactica‘s Inner Six and Inner Baltar explaining the unending cycle of the war between the universe’s chaotic and its orderly forces, which give rise to biological and mechanical life, to key players as they die.
All this has happened before, and all this will happen again—humans create machines to serve them, the machines become self-aware, and the machines rebel. Kobol, Caprica, Earth.
Adam, the grandchild of William Adama and son of Hera, steals the last functioning Raptor and leads a group to the stars to restart a technically-advanced civilization. They find a suitable planet and name it Kobol.
In 1980s Los Angeles, Richard Dyson is dying at Cyberdyne. But he is not alone as Inner Six and Inner Baltar assure him he must remember this is a part of god’s plan.
In Old Detroit ten years from now, Alex Murphy lies dying in a warehouse. He, too, sees the same two figures.
In San Francisco forty years from now, an aging John Connor rallies his troops to fight sleek, silver machines unlike any Terminator they have seen. They come from the sky in circular flying wings.
A thousand years from now, Thomas Anderson—who prefers the name Neo—sees these figures observing his death. Among them is his distant relative Hera. Neo hopes he has finally broken the cycle.
Superman/Batman: Heroes and Idols (48 page one-shot)
Superman and Batman have usually been the same age. The new Batman v Superman movie puts a spin on things by having a seasoned Batman face off against a new Superman. But what if it was reversed?
Bruce Wayne grew up in the age of heroes—Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman. But when his parents are murdered, he realizes none of them are human. They protect Earth from alien invasions and inter-dimensional threats, but do they don’t understand what it’s like to be mortal. They protect Earth, but can’t stop crime.
Ten years after his parents’ murder, Batman forms a new generation of heroes—the Flash, Green Arrow, the Atom, Black Canary. All humans fighting in the streets and shadows to stop crime.
When the Justice League investigates these vigilantes, the two team clashes over difference ideologies—the Golden Age idealism of yesterday’s heroes versus the cynicism of today’s crime fighters.
Friday the 13th: We Are All Crystal Lake (48 page one-shot)
The Friday the 13th films have focused on Jason and his victims, but I’m fascinated by what the people in the town of Crystal Lake think. For decades, this legend has hung over them. How do you integrate that into your day-to-day life? I want to tell a story about the horror those people must endure between the punctuations of Jason’s rampages.
Samantha Davidson was a 12-years old day-camper at Camp Crystal Lake when Pamela Voorhees went on her murderous path of revenge. For thirty-five years, she’s lived in Crystal Lake and watched groups come in to re-start the camp, seek adventure, or just find a place to party. Sometimes nothing happens. Sometimes there’s a slaughter.
Then overnight, she becomes an Internet millionaire. Instead of escape, she buys the land around Camp Crystal Lake and seeks to erect a wall around it to give Jason the peace he wants.
Except local shop owner Oswald Barnes has made a living sell Jason-themed merchandise. He’s written ten books on Jason. Cutting off Jason means cutting off his livelihood, which Oswald doesn’t react well to.
And Samantha isn’t sure if the hulking figure at the edge of her property is Oswald trying to scare her or Jason coming for her. When this figure pursues her, she flees into Jason’s woods either let Jason finish Oswald, or face her worst nightmare.
The First Starfighter
I know others have tried to remake The Last Starfighter and the rights are impossible to get. Still, here is my pitch for a sequel that would put a realistic spin on Alex Rogan and his experiences.
30 years later, Alex Rogan returns home to Starlite Starbrite.
To the Star League, he is a general and hero taking his well-earned retirement. He re-built the Starfighter Corp, developed new weapons systems and led the assualt that defeated the Ko-Dan Empire.
But Alex is a broken man racked by nightmares. He has given the orders that resulted in the death of billions, carried the expectations of a civilization, and seen millions of his troops die in battle, including his son and brother Louis.
Alex just wants to be the assistant supervisor and live out his days in peace.
But when he finds a YouTube video of the Starfighter arcade games in cities across the world, including Las Vegas, Alex goes to the city, beats the game and waits for someone to find him. Not long after, Jrakeel a representative of the Star League, tells him the remnants of the Ko-Dan Empire are heading for Earth. The League has sent Gunstars to Earth via stardrives, but larger capital ships will not arrive in time. Earth must start training and building more Gunstars to hold out until capital ships arrive. Alex asks why Jrakeel couldn’t just tell him this and forced him to play the game, but Jrakeel doesn’t know what Alex is talking about. The next moment, they are set upon by assassins with advanced weapons.
Alex realizes it is the Ko-Dans who are putting the games in place to find, and eliminate, potential Starfighters before the invasion.
Surviving the attack, Jrakeel takes Alex to a secret staging area in desert with Star League ships. Alex pilots a Gunstar to a military base but is attacked by a Ko-Dan fighter. He defeats it and reveals the invasion threat to the military. Despite both Jrakeel and the military wanting Alex to be involved in revealing what is to come to the world, Alex refuses. Returning home to Starlite Starbrite, he is attacked again, which costs the lives of several League agents. Rather than accept League protection on their base, Alex goes into hiding and watches as the world is transformed and militarized.
Despite the veneer of cooperation and readiness in preparations, Jrakeel reveals frequent training accidents have cost thousands of lives. The gap between the League and humans in trying to learn how to fly a Gunstar is too great. In the meantime, Ko-Dan insurgents have been hunting down and killing potential recruits with “the gift”.
Alex rejoins the Star League military and bridges the gulf between it and the human governments. Accidents decrease, Ko-Dan agents are found and the world unites behind him in preparing for war.
As the Ko-Dan armada reaches Earth’s system, Alex gives a rallying speech to millions of Starfighters around the world before collapsing in private, confessing to Jrakeel his guilt over making them excited to go to their deaths.
Alex is overwhelmed in the ensuing battle. Flashbacks sap his concentration, trembling hands affect his ability to fly. But other pilots sacrifice their lives to save his.
In the end, the Ko-Dan capital ships are destroyed and Earth is saved. But without a common enemy, old conflicts emerge and wars recommence, now with advanced technology.
Governments beg Alex to try to intervene, but he refuses and again retreats into seclusion. Jrakeel tells him the League ships have turned around, no longer needed to fight the Ko-Dan and finding Earth too divided to be eligible to join the League. They are dissappointed in Alex.
Alex says nothing, staring at the news showing dueling Gunstars and burning cities.
VOLTRON: Capture A God
As a kid, I dug the Voltron cartoons, especially lion-based Voltron III. I liked the mix of magic and technology, and the hints at a much larger mythology. Of course, it doesn’t hold up as an adult. But something that struck me was that the Voltron team was sent to bring back Voltron. This raises issues of colonialism and exploitation. So what if, similar to Power/Rangers, Voltron received an adult interpretation?
The war between the Galaxy Alliance and the Drule Empire has lasted almost a thousand years. If the Alliance cannot halt the Drule’s advances, it will not last much longer.
When contact with the planet Arus is re-established after 500 years of isolation, the Alliance hears of a mechanical god named Voltron that kept the planet safe. Thinking it an advanced weapon system, the Alliance sends a special forces team to Arus to retrieve Voltron—by any means necessary.
But the mission is not as simple as first envisioned. Voltron is both god and machine, beloved and feared, a technical wonder and an primeval force. The people of Arus will not let it go so easily, and Voltron itself will resist any attempts to prevent it from fulfilling its ancient destiny.
I wrote an opening scene to a Voltron episode in a previous blog post.
I don’t blame Lucas too much for the failings of Star Wars as a saga. He wrote stories and scripts for six films, one-at-a-time and out-of-order. I’d love to give that overall story another shot.
What if Star Wars Episodes I-VI made sense and explained its unanswered questions. Imagine midiclorians as a key plot point and not convenient device, the story of Master Sifu Dias explained, we knew how long Luke spent a Dahbobah, and how Vader knew about Luke before the Emperor told him.
More than that, what if things changed? Certain characters don’t die, others don’t live and some never exist at all.
A 10-hour miniseries, this will be a retelling of Episodes I-VI written as one consistent, coherent story. It is the rise, fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker—a man manipulated by forces beyond his control into being a weapon. An unflinching look at a galaxy at war, and the people fighting it.
M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable was ahead of its time and superior to most of today’s superhero films. So what if it became an ongoing series of 6 episodes per season?
Season One: Unbreakable
When David Dunn is the sole survivor of a horrific train cash, comic book collector Elijah Price seeks him out, believing David to be a super-powered protector.
Fearing Price’s random, unannounced visits, Dunn seeks help from the police and learns of others that Price has approached. Each share a common story of being the sole survivor of a horrific event, but they suffered injuries.
Coming to realize he has never been sick or injured, Dunn seeks a challenge and rescues two children from a kidnapping, but also realizes he has a weakness—water. In the end, he discovers that the tragedies which have befallen him and others were caused by Price in his quest to find someone “unbreakable”, and Dunn turns Price in to the police.
Season Two: Breakable
Gaining media attention for turning in Price, Dunn tries to settle into a normal life. But Pena, one of the men Price also approached, admits he faked his injuries and is like Dunn. They find two more “unbreakables” who have never been sick or injured, but do have weaknesses. For one its cold, one can be hurt by iron, and for Pena it’s glass.
Pena suggests forming a group to protect those the police cannot, but Dunn wants nothing to do with it. But two of the other unbreakables are killed by having their weaknesses exploited—one frozen, the other impaled on an iron bar. Dunn and Pena seek out the killer, dubbed “The Water Boy”, but Dunn is nearly drown.
Meanwhile, David’s son Joseph has been acting out, getting into fights because he believes he is unbreakable like his father.
The Water Boy kills more victims, spreading fear in Philadelphia. Pena wants to team up with Dunn and destroy the Water Boy, but Dunn—weakened by his near-drowning—has had enough, wants to focus on his family, and leaves Pena to fight the Water Boy on his own.
Season Three: Broken
Pena is missing, but the Water Boy continues his rampage. Dunn begins to investigate, vowing to only use his ability to get glimpses of what people have done to help the police.
While walking Joseph home from school, Dunn is attacked by the Water Boy. Dunn tells Joseph to run and manages to fend off the attack, and finds Joseph has run several blocks in only a few seconds. Joseph has his own form of unbreakableness.
The Water Boy targets Joseph, forcing Dunn to fight and discovering the Water Boy is Pena. Unable to defeat him using glass, Dunn turns to Elijah Price for advice. Price says to remember the villain is the opposite of the hero.
In a confrontation with Pena, Dunn guesses that if his weakness is water, Pena’s must be fire and sets them both ablaze. Dunn is horribly burned, but alive, while Pena is killed.
Season Four: Fragile
While recovering from his battle with Pena, Dunns learns Elijah Price is being released from prison. And that Price and Joseph have had an on-going correspondence to encourage Joseph to test his abilities.
Meanwhile, now working for a private security firm, Dunns uncovers a plot to assassinate the governor during a visit where the firm will be working. And the plot may involve unbreakables.
Dunn accuses Price of being the mastermind, but Price fears what would happen if the world saw unbreakables as a threat. Dunn forms an uneasy alliance with Price to disrupt the plot, but still weak from his battles with Pena, Dunn must rely on Joseph.
Except Joseph falls under the thrall of Stone, the charismatic unbreakable behind the plot. Stone explains he wants a world where the unbreakables can live openly with their power. When Joseph betrays his father, Dunn must fight his own son to stop the assassination.
Season Five: Unstoppable
The assassination was prevented, but the world has seen what appeared to be acts of super-human strength, speed and endurance. Stone, who survived the battle, speaks out on behalf of the world’s unbreakables. They are superior to normal people, Stone claims, and should rule them.
Dunn fears a coming confrontation, yet Price urges patience even as viral videos show unbreakables performing more and more super-human acts. Joseph parts ways with Stone, seeing Stone’s plan is about power and not helping other unbreakables.
With Joseph’s help, Dunn tracks down Stone, knowing he is the only one who can stop him. But it is Price who urges Dunn to turn Stone over to the police. Stone is arrested. In cuffs and behind bars, his claims of being super-human are dismissed. The viral videos are forgotten as fakes and part of a trend.
Dunn finds he has recovered from his injuries and feels stronger than ever. Price explains he has seen this coming since he first met Dunn. The most powerful heroes, Price explains, keep their identity secret and fight to protect others, not rule them. Stone was doomed from the beginning, but Dunn needed this challenge to rise higher.
Dunn forms his own security firm, gathering unbreakables he has met, with the goal of finding and preventing crime and stopping other unbrekables who would seek to use their power to rule. Price tells Dunn that the formation of teams is the second-to-last stage in the hero’s journey.
Dunn asks what the last stage is, and Price replies it’s betrayal by one’s closest ally.
On-going television series
The Ottawa Conspiracy
I live in Ottawa, Ontario. For a nation’s capital, it’s pretty tame. But what if it wasn’t? What if, under the veneer of “the city that fun forgot”, a world-wide conspiracy was taking shape?
Tyler MacKenzie was an all-American boy who met at Canadian girl at Niagara Falls, fell in love and moved to Canada to be with her.
Fifteen years later, married and living in Ottawa, he’s approached by two men with the U.S. State Department who know a lot about his life. They want him to use his skills as a media consultant to work for Jean-Pierre Tremblay, an acquaintance of this father-in-law and a long-shot leadership contender for one of Canada’s fringe parties. They explain a theory for how Tremblay could become the next prime minister. And they fear Tremblay is in league with a terrorist organization that wants to strike at the U.S. from Canada.
When theory begins to happen, MacKenzie agrees to their plans. But as people start dying, MacKenzie realizes how deep into something sinister he may have fallen and that the boring city of Ottawa has a dark underbelly of espionage, corruption and death.
I love (the 1984 original) Red Dawn. (The 2012 remake fails on many levels.) Seen as jingoistic when released, with time it’s come to be seen as a film about the futility of war. It’s a critique about America’s military adventures—the invading Russians and Cubans represent Americans, the Wolverines are the Viet Cong. They fight because they feel they have no choice and it wears them down. So I think these themes could be examined through a myriad of lenses.
America has been invaded by a foreign army. Your home is under occupation. Will you fight? And what will you fight for?
Red Dawn is an anthology series with 6-10 episodes per season. Following various characters, each having their own loose continuity, it examines the myriad ways we see what it means to be “American.” And how we would defend ourselves, our country, our way of life? Story lines we would follow:
- In the 80s, Billy had served in the Marines, but was outed as gay and dishonourably discharged. When Russia attacks the United States, he flees into the Colorado mountains. When he hears about a resistance force called the Wolverines, Billy sets out to find them, but has to ask himself if he even belongs in 80s-era America.
- For DeShawn, life was the street and his LA gang was his family. With father was dead, mother working three jobs, a failed school system and aggressive police, DeShawn became a tough enforcers. He feared no one until a Chinese invasion turns Los Angeles into an occupied territory. Knowing every alley, abandoned building and sewer tunnel, DeShawn vows to fight back. But the rest of his gang is not sure it’s a fight they can win. With a random group of Los Angelenos vowing to fight with him, DeShawn finds himself a leader for the first time fighting to defend a country and system that had failed him.
- Lucinda faced adversity at home and in the military for being a lesbian and Latina. Out of the Army, she and her partner go to Ogunquit, Maine for a vacation. Meanwhile, the American vice president has died and the president—a democrat—nominates an open homosexual as his new vice president. Southern states are outrages and declare their independence. When the military is used to put this down, a force of military, police and civilians launch terror attacks to cripple northern states. With Maine in turmoil and rumours of revolutionary forces heading north from Boston, Lucinda must decide if she and her partner should flee to Canada or stand and fight.