In a recent Deadline article, they drop a rumor that Marvel Studios was looking to use Deathlok, and the suggestion would be a new film version rather than a continuation of the version from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that is looking to end it’s run after Season 7 finishes airing.
Deathlok was a oft-discussed project back in the 1990s when Marvel characters were still a tough sell in Hollywood and a script by Randall Frakes (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) stirred fan hopes but it never materialized. A version of the character has appeared on the ABC series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (portrayed by J. August Richards) and there’s been rumors that Marvel Studios may use the character soon.
In his original incarnation he was Col. Luther Manning, a Detroit native killed in battle whose corpse is reanimated in post-apocalyptic future for battlefield domination. He rebels against his makers and goes his own way, including a time-travel trip to the present day.
They’re quick to bring up that Terminator 2: Judgement Day screenwriter Randall Frakes penned a script back in the 1990s and seemed to be in the development books at Marvel for years after that. I would assume if Marvel Studios would pursue a film version of Deathlok they’d end up rebooting him and giving him to another actor.
We’ve seen a couple of projects in “Phase 4” that have been revived projects that had been in development over a decade ago.
Black Widow that was first in development at Lionsgate back in 2004 from writer-director David Hayter before Scarlett Johansson ultimately took the role in Iron Man 2 and Cate Shortland was set to direct the current incarnation.
Black Widow isn’t the only old Marvel film project getting a second chance as Shang-Chi recently landed director Destin Daniel Cretton with a script from Dave Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984). In 2001, Blade director Stephen Norrington attempted to get the Asian superhero his own solo film titled The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu before director Ang Lee tried his own incarnation in 2004.
While Deadline doesn’t mention when and where Marvel might want to use him, the Black Widow movie could be a good spot to introduce him. There has been some speculation that a role being eyed for Andre Holland (Moonlight, Castle Rock) could be Taskmaster, but Deathlok now sounds like a possibility too if Marvel wants to use him “soon”. A while back it was rumored that Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier could be in the film but if they’ve rewritten him out of the film Deathlok could be a good replacement character.
Another option could be the Disney+ series that Marvel Studios is producing that will have Anthony Mackie’s Falcon and Sebastian Stan’s Bucky teaming up for their own limited series. Maybe his own series as well could be a way to go too.