Sunday, January 10, 2010

The new "Legion" movie

Sadly, the new movie titled "Legion" coming out later this month is not about the Legion of Super-Heroes, but the coming apocalypse (via IMDB):

An out-of-the-way diner becomes the unlikely battleground for the survival of the human race. When God loses faith in humankind, he sends his legion of angels to bring on the Apocalypse. Humanity's only hope lies in a group of strangers trapped in a desert diner with the Archangel Michael.

Now, leaving that all behind, let's suppose a live-action Legion of Super-Heroes movie were to be greenlit. Leaving out casting calls, what would your movie's plot be? Of course, since you're a big Hollywood writer who is not bound by comics continuity, your movie can pick and choose from among any and all continuities over the last 50 years (up to and including Mordru on a jet-ski).* Give me a paragraph.

My proposal:

In flashback, the Legion's origin is recounted as part of an anniversary celebration - we can get that out of the way and show that other Legionnaires have joined since then. Flashbacks show various failed applicants (from Spider-Girl and Double-Header to Plaid Lad and Stone Boy) and previous cases/missions (to show the United Planets and the world of the 31st century). One important flashback is how Superboy joined the Legion and that he's a member because he has found a group of his peers, which he does not have in his own time. In the present, the Legion comes back from a battle with the Khunds - they have taken some casualties (deaths and injuries) and they need to recruit some more members. Then we adapt Jim Shooter's Karate Kid/Projectra/Ferro Lad/Nemesis Kid story from Adventure 346 - 347. The movie ends with Nemesis Kid fleeing and being recruited some of the other rejects we saw earlier (in a method that recalls Superboy's recruitment by the Legion), they're building a new group opposed to the Legion, setting the stage for the sequel: the Legion vs a group of super-villains bent on revenge and raising hell.

*Bonus points for anyone whose movie includes Mordru on a jet-ski.


Eric TF Bat said...

I don't like the flashbacks. I'd rather see the story done with a good Point Of View character. In the original legion, the POV character was probably Superboy, since he was familiar to the audience. In the first reboot, I seem to recall it was Cos. And in the Earth Prime Legion, it was Invisible Kid, at least initially.

For the movie, I think it should be Ultra Boy. Initially, we can get scenes of his life in the slums of Rimbor, dreaming of escape to the idyllic United Planets while around him the world goes to hell. The Legion can show up in the background, giving their formation and early recruiting by quick snapshots. At the end of the first act, Jo gets his super powers, and takes the chance to escape for real.

Second act is his arrival in the middle of a big recruiting drive, compressing several dozen issues into a few days, so we see the LSH suffering its first real growing pains as a consequence of its exploding popularity. Jo suffers discrimination, which lets him see the seedy underside of the paradise. A Han Solo/Princess Leia romance with Tinya ensues, and then we have the big challenge that forces the Legion to form into a real team for the first time since the days when it was just Garth, Cos and Imra.

But hell, I'd watch it whatever happened, provided they based Brainiac 5 on Robert Downey Jr's version of Sherlock

Meerkatdon said...

I think the whole "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" series would make a great movie. Quick flashbacks could give all the background needed.

Then, later, a prequel could show the Legion's founding, recruiting Superboy/Clark, etc.

Tom Galloway said...

I'd leave out the origin all together. It's really not necessary for a story, any more than Classic Star Trek needed an Enterprise/Federation origin (yes, I know about the latest movie) or, well, the Legion needed an origin in the comics. Remember, we didn't learn the Legion's origin until a good decade after their first appearance. A good writer should be able to establish what the Legion's about via actions and dialogue.

Dr. Michael J. MacArthur said...

First pf a;;, we need a greater nu,ber of alien-looking Legionnaires.

Behind the opening credits, we see a gleaming utopian Metropolis of the future. We see the origin story and a progression of Legionnaires demonstrating individual powers and ablitiies. (Think Watchmen) The movies begins with the induction of Brainiac V, of Colu, whichhasrecently joined the UP after centuries of isolation.

Sometime later, a electronic signalfrees Mordrufrom his airlesstomb. Magicand sorcery begin to spread across the galaxy along technologyt networks of the UP, turning planets magical realms, aligned with planetary mythlogies.

The Legionnaires, transformed into fairy tale versionsof themselves batt;le magical foes on a number of fronts.

They discover that Colu had beaten Mordue in the distant past and had distilled his evil magic into a computer ship, which a radical Coluan group smuggled into the UP as apart of Brainiac V's bio/technical programming.

After his befeat, Mordru excapes on a small small dragon, which eventually transforms into ahovercraft / Jet Ski.

Asteroid Al said...

I'd do a mild variation on the original Mordru story. That way, the bulk of the story would be set in the current day with the opening and final scenes occurring in the 31st Century. We would focus on a handful of heroes rather than the entire team, though (depending on the status of the lawsuit) Superboy might have to be replaced with Ultra Boy.

Failing that, I'd go with the original Fatal Five storyline.

Brainy Pirate said...

Death/Rebirth of Lightning Lad? (though Proty might be a problem) They could end with the wedding.

the Computo storylines (though the big gap between the two parts may be a problem: "5 years later....")

Personally, I'd like to see the Disco Legion on screen -- they did a decent job giving an actor wings in the X-Men film, so Dawny need not be a huge problem...

Jim Drew said...

I think I would go with an adaptation of Legion Lost.

You open in the middle of the end of an action -- young super-heroes defeat a huge alien menace -- and then have their spaceship blow up, leaving a handful stranded a billion light years from home. This gives you the chance to show that there's a whole raft of characters without needing to spend more than 10 minutes with the large crew.

Then in the Legion Lost story, you add a character, you turn one evil, and you kill two of them, and then you get to spend the last five minutes back with the larger crew again.

No need for an origin. No need for supervillain teams (and all that goes with them). Several paths for future (hee!) stories. No need for extra licensing for the "S" shield. More sci fi than superheroes. And giant pill bugs.

I'm sure we could fit a jet ski in there somewhere.

Baal said...

My first thought was to slightly adapt the 5YL setting. Earth has fallen or is falling to the Dominion and you have an intelligence briefing about the history of the disbanded Legion and that it's important they regroup to save the Earth, similar to the way the Iron Man movie used the awards show to bring audiences up to speed on who Tony Stark was. From there, you have SP officer Jacques Foccart finding and bringing back together a group of Legionaires (who are as they were in the Levitz Legion, not 5YL) to stop the invasion and becomes Invisible Kid in the process...

Tom Galloway said...

How about adapting "The Outlaw Legion"? You can have quick shots of all Legionnaires in initial crowd scenes or as they're captured. After that, you can focus on a smaller team.