Warner Bros. has a heap of DC Comics feature film projects on their plates as they seemingly announce development on a new one every couple of weeks, but there has been one they’ve been working on for over a decade that I’ve been waiting patiently for and that is their Lobo movie.
Lobo is an alien that works as an interstellar mercenary and bounty hunter. Introduced as a hardened, rarely used hard-boiled villain in the 1980s, the character remained in limbo until his revival as an anti-hero biker in the early 1990s.
Here is a rundown of the development of the Lobo movie over the last ten years.
In September 2009, it was revealed by trades that Guy Ritchie had been locked-in by Warner Bros. to direct Lobo with a recent draft of the script from Thor’s Don Payne and produced by Joel Silver. Guy and Joel had previously worked together on Sherlock Holmes then attempted to reunite for the DC Comics project. Ritchie would eventually bounce from the project when budget concerns stalled its start and when DC Films was formed a lot of projects were given the ax.
In April 2012, Deadline reported that Brad Peyton signed-on to direct and re-write the Don Payne script and a pre-Black Adam Dwayne Johnson was rumored to be in the mix to play Lobo.
Over the summer of 2012, Johnson would admit this eventually on his Twitter account that he was considering playing Lobo, later supporting Rampage co-star Jeffrey Dean Morgan for the role.
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) July 15, 2012
TheWrap reported in March 2016 that Wonder Woman screenwriter Jason Fuchs would be penning a brand new Lobo script, starting from scratch.
Insiders suggest that Fuchs will start from scratch with his own take on Lobo — an alien who works as an interstellar mercenary and bounty hunter. The character became a popular figure among fans of DC comic books following his revival in the early ’90s as a biker anti-hero.
Fuchs would speak to LRM and talk about his approach to capturing the spirit of the comics.
“I think when you’re working on comic book characters, especially ones that are near and dear to my heart, like Wonder Woman and Lobo are, you want to create something that’s true to what the original text are. I think Wonder Woman really captures the feeling of — not only the original Moulton Marston comics, but the George Perez run in the late-80s. It feels like reading those comics up on the big screen. So for something like Lobo, without saying too much about it, it’ll feel, I imagine, quite different, because the Lobo comic itself is quite different. What Keith Giffen and Alan Grant put together was something really unique, and hopefully we’ll capture some of that same spirit when we make the movie.”
In February 2018, TheWrap would update on the Lobo story reporting that the studio was eyeing Transformers director Michael Bay, but he would later sign-on to the Netflix action film 6 Underground starring Ryan Reynolds. Jason Fuchs was said to still be on the project and would rewrite the script with input from Michael.
WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE LOBO LOOK LIKE?
It’s been about a year since we’ve had an update on Lobo, but a lot of things have changed since then. A major update is that Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) starring Margot Robbie is aiming for an R-rating and there is an assumption that Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker origin movie directed by Todd Phillips could also end up R as well. James Gunn’s Suicide Squad 2 might also take the R-rated route, but that hasn’t been really made official as James is working on the script.
This gives Warner Bros. a reason to consider making Lobo an R-rated DC character (has been previously a PG-13 project), not unlike a Deadpool or Judge Dredd. He’s also an alien bounty hunter which made the original Don Payne Earthbound script sounded a little generic and more akin to the original Maters of The Universe film. Hopefully, the Fuchs incarnation is playing up the cosmic stuff with the character because Warner Bros. doesn’t exactly have a lot of cosmic projects using their DC characters in the works, other than Green Lantern Corps.
Playing up the cosmic side of the character would be my preference as the DC movies haven’t exactly covered a lot of the off-world stuff they could be doing. Expanding upon the cosmic stuff with Lobo and GLC feels like the right move, having either of these movies stuck on Earth feel like boring creative moves.
The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special from 2002 is a good example of a tone they could end up going with, ignoring the budgetary restraints of the short film. Lobo is hired by the Easter Bunny to take out a mob boss version of Santa.
I’d personally like to see the film combine the production design of movies like Dredd meets Guardians of The Galaxy.
If they’re still nervous about flat-out introducing Lobo in his solo film, they could easily have him introduced in their existing projects beforehand. Things like James Gunn’s Suicide Squad 2 and maybe even their cosmic Space Cops film Green Lantern Corps. might be places they could insert Lobo, so general audiences could get a sneak peek of the alien bounty hunter.
I know they have Michael Bay interested, but someone like James Gunn as a follow-up to Suicide Squad 2 could be worthwhile. And I feel like he could infuse the comedic beats needs, cosmic world building experience with the Guardians of The Galaxy films, and I’m dying to see Gunn unleashed in the genre with R-rated project (remains to be seen if Suicide Squad 2 will be R or if he’ll actually direct it).
Concerning casting Lobo, I think many fans are still keen on Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Walking Dead, Watchmen, Batman v Superman) and I’m not opposed to the idea. As I mentioned before he got a nod from Dwayne Johnson not too long ago. He’d likely need to wear heavy makeup and bodysuit, he wore the latter in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen movie as The Comedian. It wouldn’t be terribly shocking since Patrick Wilson played a major role in James Wan’s Aquaman and considering his transformation to play Lobo, I don’t think many people would recognize him as from previous DC movies.
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) September 1, 2018
Again, I’m excited for Lobo and would love to get a concrete update on the film along with what their vision for it is.