An unproduced animated movie was revealed when an artist attached to the project shared one of his storyboards. Static Shock was born from a subsidiary of DC Comics called Milestone Comics, which was established by a team of African American comic book creatives to address the lack of diversity permeating most comic books of the era. Milestone's heroes primarily existed within the fictional Midwestern city of Dakota, and of their characters, Static Shock became the most successful.
Born Virgil Ovid Hawkins, Static Shock acquired his powers after being exposed to an experimental chemical during a gang war. With Static Shock's success in the comic world, Milestone had an uphill battle trying to convince people outside of their target demographic to retain interest. And unfortunately, because the main character was African American, this didn't necessarily equal a huge following outside of the black community. There was a belief at the time that Static Shock was a "comic for blacks" by shop owners and readers, and therefore wouldn't or couldn't be enjoyed by anyone else. Sadly, this racist point of view was also used by executives to justify poor sales, when in actuality, there was a decline in sales across the board as the industry was on the edge of a major market crash at the time. Thankfully, Static's story didn't end there.
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Dreamworks Animation Director Chris Copeland shared a picture of a storyboard featuring Static Shock on Twitter. Copeland revealed it was one of the illustrations he used during a pitch meeting with Warner Bros. Animation. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there's a Static Shock movie coming soon as Copeland only said he and his brother met with Warner Bros. to pitch an animated Static Shock film and hopefully one day it gets greenlit.
Copeland's followers immediately praised his artwork and showed their appreciation for Static Shock, with good reason. Although Milestone Comics closed its comic book division in 1997, it continued creating content as a licensing company through Milestone Media, and one of their biggest successes was a Kids' WB , which debuted in 2000 and ran for four seasons. Milestone co-founder and Static co-creator Dwayne McDuffie served as a writer and story editor for eleven episodes of the series, which was critically acclaimed and won a few awards, including an Emmy. The show was groundbreaking because it is the first cartoon to feature a young African American male in the leading role of his very own animated series.
Perhaps Warner Bros. will take into consideration the fact that Static Shock is truly a hero in more ways than one. Almost thirty years since being introduced to the world, the landscape of comic book movies and television has dramatically changed. And if the reaction to 2018's Marvel blockbuster has taught us anything, it's that there's power in telling the stories of underserved communities, and not just from a financial aspect. Representation matters now more than ever, and Static Shock represents the culmination of a dream to have every story told from the diverse elements of the human experience.
If you like The Lord of the Rings, you'll love these other fantastic fantasy films.
The fantasy genre seems to be making something of a comeback. You've got the Hobbit saga recently coming to a close, the hit shows and , and the anticipated Lord of the Rings series set to debut on Amazon Prime in 2021. This renaissance can partly be traced back to the early 2000s, with the Peter Jackson epic based on the classic LOTR novel by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Still, despite the popularity of this lavish and memorable trilogy, there doesn't seem to be a huge selection of similar majestic fantasy content, at least on the big screen.
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But with this list, we'll scour the vast landscape of film history and compile a list of 10 of the greatest fantasy and adventure movies LOTR fans should love.
Updated May 17th, 2020 by Stephen LaGioia: Despite its age, Lord of the Rings continues to ride high with the upcoming TV series, along with the announcement of a new stealth video game centered around Gollum. And with the seemingly endless range of intriguing fantasy films of a similar bent, it seemed appropriate to update this list with 5 more worthy entries.
15 Thor (2011)
Much like Jackon's trilogy, Thor is dripping with Medieval influences and mythological flair. This Marvel take on high fantasy really hits a crescendo with the epic Ragnarok from 2017. Still - this origin story for the hero Thor is equally gripping and full of fun moments.
The film balances cheeky comedy with action and fantasy, rounding out this bombastic entry in the Marvel cinematic universe. The film excels in its dazzling visuals and a memorable performance by Chris Hemsworth as the hammer-wielding hero.
Tolkien and Jackson fans are sure to be into Thor's sense of mysticism and magic, along with its colorful, atmospheric set-pieces.
14 The Eagle (2011)
Being a historical drama, there won't be any dragons or spell-casting wizards in 2011's The Eagle. Still, director Kevin Macdonald captures much of the essence and feel of LOTR with his own adventure. Channing Tatum takes the role of a young Roman officer tasked with retrieving a relic - the coveted gold eagle lost by his defeated father.
After sustaining an injury, he and a slave companion embark on a journey across the vast wilderness of Roman-occupied Britain. Along the way, they run into various trials and hurdles. The Eagle stands as a simple, but entertaining odyssey, enhanced by atmospheric settings and gripping drama.
13 Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)
Marvel seemingly came out of nowhere with this sci-fi superhero film centered around an odd band of characters. While fans didn't quite know what to expect, 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy captivated with its own unique charm. To critics and fans alike, it remains one of their strongest efforts to date.
The thrilling adventure is brought to life with rich landscapes and a likable "fellowship" of heroes comprising different backgrounds, banding together to fight the good fight.
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Much like Jackson's epic, this James Gunn production entices on a visual and narrative level, showcasing an enthralling ride from start to finish.
12 Gladiator (2000)
The subject of gladiators is almost sure to set the stage for an exciting romp, and the visually-minded Ridley Scott delivers in this classic.
Russell Crowe convincingly plays a scorned leader of the Roman army and the gladiator in question. He finds himself betrayed by the pompous, corrupt son of the slain emperor (Joaquin Phoenix) and must fight his way to prominence and vengeance.
Much like LOTR - the sleek, authentic visuals and chaotic battles are coupled with a memorable cast and nuanced writing.
11 The Hunger Games (2012)
Epic action scenes and a range of cool weapons make up the DNA of LOTR, and this dystopian sci-fi has these traits in spades.
Jennifer Lawrence takes center stage as the downtrodden, sharpshooting hero of this memorable saga. Much like Frodo Baggins, she's pulled from her humble, isolated homeland and essentially forced to fight. Katniss Everdeen must battle for her very survival - for the amusement and tribute of the ruling class.
The first film is particularly renowned for its plot that's at once grand and focused, rife with action and emotional moments. Katniss must fight for every inch in order to survive in the vast, outdoor arena of the Hunger Games.
10 The NeverEnding Story (1984)
While the title of this '84 adventure has been used by LOTR fans to describe the ending of Return of the King, it's also the title of a classic fantasy ride that should resonate for those who love Jackson's epic.
Much like that film saga, this movie hones in on a young humble protagonist who finds himself swept away by an adventure originating from a fantasy book. In this case, however, the book exists in the film as well as in real life. In fact, it serves as a portal to a colorful new dimension of adventure and wonder, which the protagonist Bastian gets pulled into. Despite its age, the visuals still hold up today, thanks to its detailed special effects and high production value.
9 Eragon (2006)
Despite its rather mixed reception critically, this 2006 fantasy film shines as a fun dragon-laced adventure tale and a fitting alternative for fans of LOTR with its similar themes. The fact that Eragon is based on a novel written by an author who was still a teenager at the time is impressive enough.
But even disregarding this context, this film impresses with some sleek visuals and a fun, classic fantasy premise involving wizards, magic, and fire-breathing dragons. It's a classic tale of adventure and heroism rife with thrilling action.
8 Kingdom Of Heaven (2005)
LOTR, and particularly Return of the King, is largely renowned for its flashy visuals and awe-inspiring battle scenes. It's not easy to replicate that film's level of detail and grandiosity, though if there's anyone who can make a valiant effort in coming close, it's Ridley Scott.
As it happens, this historical epic has more in common with its LOTR brethren aside from starring Orlando Bloom.
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While it might not be as critically acclaimed as Jackson's trilogy, Kingdom of Heaven similarly rises to the occasion when it comes to its thrilling, large-scale battles and cinematography. The sieges on Jerusalem definitely bring flashbacks of the breathtaking battle for Minas Tirith.
7 The Princess Bride (1987)
Who would have thought that one of the wittier comedies of the '80s would also shine as one of the most enjoyable fantasy adventures? Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride is equal parts zany, captivating, and endearing - shifting between an emotional love story and silly comedy with a colorful fantasy backdrop.
Based on a '73 William Goldman novel of the same name, The Princess Bride takes an already memorable premise and adds some character with amusing performances by Cary Elwes, Wallace Shawn, and Andre the Giant. From thrilling swordfights and castle-storming to the "Rodents of Unusual Size," there's much for LOTR to find entertaining here.
6 Warcraft (2016)
It stands to reason that studio Blizzard's rich, established fantasy game franchise should translate into a similarly majestic experience on the big screen. And although 2016's Warcraft is knocked for being a bit chaotic and convoluted, it has gained a following for its sleek presentation and adrenaline-pumping action throughout its 2-hour ride.
There's certainly something to be said for the highest-grossing film of all time based on a gaming franchise.
This journey to Azeroth is one that fans of both Warcraft and Tolkien's epic should find entertaining.
5 Shrek (2001)
Taking its cue from The Princess Bride, 2001's takes a classic fantasy foundation and mixes in a heartfelt love story and silly comedy. While it's certainly more kid-friendly, there's much for all ages to love in this whimsical animated romp.
Being based on a 1990 fairytale picture book, Shrek contains some colorful environments and children's adventure tropes. At the same time, it mixes these elements with a zany comedic twist that's not afraid to poke fun at its own fairytale cliches.
Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz inject tons of character and humor into the film, bringing great chemistry to this trio of likable protagonists.
4 Star Wars (1977)
It's easy to tag George Lucas' space odyssey with the science fiction label, but the saga actually holds more in common with a space fantasy or adventure epic than standard sci-fi. This is especially the case with the debut film from 1977, which draws from Joseph Campbell's archetypes of the "hero's journey," in much the same way that Tolkien's novels do.
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Not only do both properties contain similar traits of wizards, magic, and heroes, but Luke and Frodo/Aragorn also follow similar trajectories in their quest to bring peace to the Galaxy/Middle-earth.
It may seem fairly obvious to point fantasy fans in the direction of , though these classic films hold more similarities than one might think.
3 The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
Much like our previous entry, Victor Fleming's iconic musical fantasy wasn't just entertaining, but pushed boundaries and revolutionized the entire filmmaking scene.
And similar to LOTR, 1939's The Wizard of Oz has aged like a fine wine with its lavish visuals and majestic, colorful settings. You have the classic fantasy elements of witches, wizards, and spells, along with LOTR-esque adventure beats of our heroes embarking on a grand journey. Really, you could swap out Mordor with the Emerald City and Sauron with the Wicked Witch of the West and you'd truly have a comparable LOTR prototype here.
2 Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone (2001)
When it came to the conversation of fantasy films in the 2000s, the renowned Harry Potter franchise was as much in the discussion as Jackson/Tolkien's adventure, and perhaps even moreso.
You can make the case that this entire action-packed series should appeal to LOTR fans, but this is particularly the case when it comes to the debut from 2001. Based on the popular '97 novel by J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone greatly parallels The Fellowship of the Ring. You've got the obvious overlaps of magic and adventure, but you also have the half-giant Rubeus Hagrid largely taking on the role of Gandalf and calling our young, humble protagonist Harry to action.
1 The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe (2005)
Take the concept of a fantasy quest and inject a colorful cast of talking animals, beasts, and centaurs - and you just might have The Chronicles of Narnia.
While its sequels took a darker turn, 2005's Narnia, based on the C. S. Lewis novel, similarly stresses more flowery fantasy. Director Andrew Adamson paints the scene with truly vibrant, majestic settings that remind one of Fellowship in particular.
Much like Frodo and Sam venturing out of the subdued Shire, the Pevensie children also get pulled into a colorful new world as they tumble through the wardrobe, getting caught up in a quest with gripping action and thrills.
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