16 Heartbreakingly Awesome Bits of Production Art that Never Made it to the Screen

From the big screen to whatever monitor your gaming system is hooked up to, it may seem like there’s an abundance of entertainment choices at your fingertips. Not everything we ever want actually makes it into our homes and/or theaters, though, and in the information age it’s possible to glimpse the remains of what might have been. Much of the time, bad ideas rightfully fail. Other times, great concepts are as far as things get. Here are 16 games and movies we’d like to have seen get finished.

16. Jurassic Park IV


One hyphenated phrase: “human/dinosaur-hybrid”. At one point, the idea of a 4th Jurassic Park movie with a plot involving dinosaur and human DNA being spliced together was being seriously considered. Sure, it would likely have been a stupid movie, but it would have been legendarily stupid, the kind of stupid you watch with friends while getting drunk.

According to concept artist Carlos Huante, the project didn’t get very far along before Amblin Entertainment pulled the plug. Apparently hearing something to the effect of “this franchise which has had three movies built around the idea of dinosaurs attacking humans should take a 90 degree turn towards dino/dog/human hybrid mercenaries going…” and stopping whoever was speaking mid-sentence was enough to trigger the “it’s time to think of a new approach” flag.



After Ninja Turtles III came out to less than stellar box office performance, it’s not surprising that a 4th installment didn’t materialize, but it may not have been all that good if it had come to the silver screen. The sketches for villains like ‘Spyder’, ‘Bugman’ and ‘Super Shredder’ seem iffy at best. Casey Jones would’ve had some kind of high tech “electro glove” things on his hands and an ’80s rocker hair do. Then there’s new characters (in movie terms anyway) like Talbot and Lawson who seem like they belonged in their own movie, or the very least would have made this movie way too crowded (we are talking about four new characters being added to an already sizable cast, after all).

But it would have been worth making just for an evil (and sexy evil at that) version of April O’Neil. It’s true that she probably wouldn’t have been quite as sexy (and nipply) in the final version on screen, but the S&M ninja look would have captured the hearts and minds (and boners) of a generation.

14. Eight Days

An action game that would have taken place over a little more than a week in the Arizona desert, this could have been a great title for the PS3. A pair of guys shooting at disposable baddies suggests that a form of multiplayer might have been on the table. The idea of a cover-based shooter with the look of a “Tango & Cash but without the 80’s cheese” type of action movie would have been an awesome mix.

If there are any nerd gods listening then hopefully AMC buys the rights to this property and turns it into a Breaking Bad video game.

13. EA’s Marvel Fighting Game


Even though EA’s Marvel Nemesis was only so-so, the screen shots from their would-be follow up looks like it would have been an awesome brawler. While the Marvel/Capcom 2D brawlers are bad ass, this 3D game would have put characters into a two-block area where they could bash the hell out of each other and knock down buildings or put opponents through them… and we can’t finish this sentence without running the risk of readers going on their own Hulk-like rampages.

There are only a few characters mentioned as having been slated for the game (Hulk, Cap and Spidey) but the palette-swap US Agent version, and the menu screen making it look like they’re holding hands, would have caused so much laughter around the world that the ripple effect of good emotions might still be lingering to this day.

12. Factor 5’s Superman videogame


Here lies a Superman game that could have washed the bad aftertaste of Superman 64 out of the mouth of a generation. In addition to the “bad ass power armored” version of Lex Luthor, the game would also have featured Darkseid, Kalibak and General Nealbyfour Zod (“Nealbyfour” is his little-known first name) as antagonists to throw down against. Produced under the working title of Blue Steel (which would have made a great subtitle for it) the project was scrapped in 2008 when Factor 5 went out of business and a Jedi somewhere likely was heard to say “I just felt as though a thousand nerd hopes died screaming”.

RIP, bad-ass boss fight with Lex Luthor that never was.

11. Bottle Rocket’s Flash videogame


Man, 2008 was a bad year for superhero games. There’s a good deal of artwork and footage available on this defunct title that would have featured Barry mf’n Allen, but I’d like to take a moment to lament the fact that we nerds came so, so very close to having a chance to control the fastest man alive fighting Gorilla Grodd. Knowing this has ruined many peoples’ day a little bit, and you, dear reader, are now likely one of those people. Now take a look at the following quote from

The story to the game was being fleshed out, at the time, by DC Comics legend Marv Wolfman. The story would revolve around Professor Zoom and Gorilla Grodd teaming up and creating devices that they planted around the city. The devices were activated anytime Flash used the speed force around them. When activated they sucked the surrounding inhabitants into the speed force dimension. Flash was going to be forced to go into the speed dimension to face Zoom and free them. They were trying to cram in as many of Flash’s rogues as they could. Villains like Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, The Top, Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, etc.

There you have it. This was on the verge of being an “Arkham City, but with the Flash and his bad guys” extravaganza and it died on the vine. Here’s a link to Google maps so you can look for a bar or liquor store to numb the pain.

10. Avengers EMH – Gamma World


Fans everywhere continue to mourn the loss of the best damned Avengers cartoon to come along in pretty much ever, and one of the best superhero cartoons to boot. The heartache is not eased by this gallery of amazing art by Thomas Perkins. A lot of the artwork is Perkins doing his take on “what characters would look like in the show’s style” rather than necessarily being from proposed episodes for a 3rd season that will never be, but it still shows the exciting ground that could have been covered.

Particularly of note is the look at an episode which would have been titled “Gamma World.” Things like this are the kind reasons that any TR readers who are ever in the same room as an executive for Disney XD should grab them by the shoulders, dig their fingers in until it’s painful and scream “WHY DID YOU ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN AND IF IT WASN’T YOUR CALL WHY AREN’T YOU TRYING TO FIX IT!” Until that day comes, we can only look to this and mourn the the team that Stark built. And speaking of the super team making the JLA weep with envy these days…

9. THQ’s Avengers video game


One of the few complaints about last year’s Avengers movie was that the alien army of Chitauri were a rather generic – and not all that exciting – set of bad guys. Part of the problem is suspected to be that Fox’s ownership of the film rights to Fantastic Four includes the alien race “The Skrulls” which means that Marvel had to settle for using the name of their Ultimate universe counterparts and not being able to have them use their shape-shifting power.

Fortunately, that potential rights issue doesn’t extend to the realm of videogames. Unfortunately the first-person beat ’em up that would have been able to have the full Skrull monty was cut down in it’s development when studio THQ started having money problems. With their recently bankruptcy it’s likely that the rights to a movie tie-in game will go to another company, but there’s no telling if they’ll be able to use the original concept or have to start coding from scratch. While the dubstep in the attached video of alpha footage is more grating than shredded cheese on toast, the action-packed gameplay showing the direction that was being pursued is indicative of the kind of a game that people would be waxing nostalgically about 10 or 20 years from now. Instead, we’re all gonna have to spend those years pining for what coulda been.

8. Ralph McQuarrie’s He-Man


Hey, remember that shitty He-Man movie from the 80’s? Ever wonder what it would have been like if there’d been a budget to do it properly and the characters actually looked like the characters from the show? Wonder no longer. Instead you can check out this beautiful collection of art from Ralph McQuarrie and wring your hands as you cry out to the heavens for what might have been.

His design for Castle Grayskull would have been dope as hell, and the way he would have designed the heroic and villainous characters shows a deft eye for what would and would not look good on screen. While looking less like the original Skeletor than what ended up on screen, his version would have looked better and more engaging, considering the effects available in those days. Most importantly in a better world his version of Evil-Lyn would have stood toe to to with Michelle’s Pfeiffer’s Catwoman (and Evil April from TMNT IV) in the arena of “cinema characters who jumpstarted the puberty of a generation.”

7. Faith and a .45

A crime noir game set in the depression era? Hell yeah. A crime noir game that doesn’t take place primarily in a gritty urban environment like New York City?! FUCK YES!

… It was cancelled? FUCK YOU WORLD! This is the kind of fresh air that crime/action games could a breath of. Its art style is at once distinctive and familiar and its color palette would have stood apart from the dreary “Brown, Gray, Metal, Concrete, Rust, repeat” look of way the hell too many shoot ’em up games; it’s clear that anyone who loves good game design or Bonnie and Clyde-style stories (which would have been a centerpiece of the gameplay as well as the story) should hunt down whoever’s responsible this and kick ’em in the ding ding.

6. Lee Kramer’s Silver Surfer


While it bears mentioning that Lee Kramer was the producer who brought us Xanadu, it also bears mentioning that A) a movie with the Surfer looking like the above image would have become a high school stoner classic worthy of sharing movie shelves with Heavy Metal and B) That it at least could have ended up being a ‘fondly remembered disaster’ alongside Howard the Duck and C) likely would not have been any worse than Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.


So apparently there was a point in the recent past when Steven Spielberg was going to be involved in the creation of a videogame that would have looked like this.

I guess there’s not enough time for blueberry waffles to go? Seriously though, the game looked like it’d not only be gorgeous and engaging, but that it might have the potential to feature one of the most well-rounded and unique female protagonists to come along in gaming for ages. After far too many “characters” that can be summed up by “look at the physics engine on dem titties!” this parkour alien woman in a hoodie looked like she could stand alongside Chell from Portal and Faith from Mirror’s Edge as worthy women warriors.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

4. Pixar’s Newt


Does Pixar even know how to make a bad movie? If you’re about to answer with some snarky comment about Cars, bear in mind that not being appealing to you and being a bad movie aren’t the same thing. Knowing that they almost made a movie about two endangered lizards that scientists are trying to breed in captivity even though they hate each other leaves one with an ambiguous feeling. It sound a few degrees away from being a formulaic romantic comedy, but a formulaic romantic comedy from the guys that made a buddy comedy about two action figures still sounds awesome as fuck.

3. 100 Bullets videogame

If you’ve never read Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s graphic novel masterpiece, you need to correct that, pronto. What starts off as a simple anthology of revenge stories -where downtrodden people are given a chance to kill the people who ruined their lives and have no legal consequences – slowly turns into one of the best political conspiracy thrillers ever written.

Once you’ve read a graphic novel or two in the series, this trailer of a game that would have explored that world (with an all-new story written by Azzarello himself) will hurt like nothing else. For some extra salt in the wound, it’s worth knowing that a unique combat system would have allowed for the random generation of gorgeous FMV sequences anytime you filled up your rage meter and activated a special move to take out all of the enemies in the area.

2. Bryan Singer’s X-Men 3


Opinions on X3 generally range from “Not as good as the first two” to “one of the shittiest movies I’ve ever seen”. It’s a well known fact that a big part of the problem is that Bryan Singer jumped ship to go make Superman Returns at Warner Bros. and matters were further complicated by Matthew Vaughn’s last minute decision to leave the project, which resulted in Brett Ratner coming on board weeks before shooting was scheduled to start.

While Singer and Vaughn eventually made amends with First Class, it’s hard not to wonder what might have been if Singer had resisted the siren call of the Big Blue Boy Scout. That’s made even easier by these images from Michael Dougherty that were made when Singer’s version was still in the works. While the idea of Jean Grey/Phoenix being a force of nature destroying the fuck out of San Francisco is thrilling, this image of a showdown between Colossus and the Juggernaut is orgasmically bad ass.

Maybe if we’re lucky, Days of Future Past will erase The Last Stand from History and allow Singer to do his version of X3.

1. Alex Ross’ Green Goblin


One thing that superhero movie buffs might not know if they don’t spend a lot of time on the net is how much division there is over Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies. Yeah, it’s generally accepted that the third one sucked, but there’s actually a surprising number of people who hate the first two as well. Even among people who like them, it’s almost unanimously agreed that the Green Goblin’s suit from the first movie looks like a Power Rangers villain who wandered onto the wrong set.

The bafflingly ugly costume looks even worse when put next to a design done for Sony by none other than comic superstar artist Alex Ross.

While the sword seems a bit out of place, the rest of the costume has the right mix for translating comics to live action. That a studio exec or, god help us, Raimi himself, looked at this illustration and thought “naw, that suit of armor would be waaay better” makes the world seem like a sadder place.