Comic writer Mark Millar has found himself as a rather big name in comic book movies recently. After all, it was his run on "Ultimate Fantastic Four" that heavily inspired Josh Trank's recent film; Captain America: Civil War will be a partial adaptation of an event arc that he wrote about a decade ago; and there's been a great deal of speculation suggesting that Wolverine 3 will be based on his "Old Man Logan" series. As a result of this, the guy really does have a lot to gain from a bright and happy future for the genre - but evidently he thinks it may only have "another five good years left."
Ever since Steven Spielberg was quoted saying that superhero movies will eventually go the way of the Western, reporters have been asking filmmakers and storytellers for their opinion on the subject, and it was while talking with IGN that Mark Millar expressed his. Initially deflecting with a joke, he noted how much good time he expects comic book characters to have left, and added why he thinks that he's right. Said Millar,
The human race will go the way of the Western. Everything has to end at some point. [Laughs] We're just going to be atoms. It's inevitable. I think [the superhero movie genre has] got at least another good five years. The stuff that's coming up is so strong.
Surprisingly not name dropping any of the projects that he himself helped inspire, the comic book writer then went on to name drop a few of the titles coming out between now and 2020 - a mix of films that he expects to be successful and those that he is personally stoked to see hit the big screen. First saying that The Avengers: Infinity War movies are guaranteed to make bank at the box office, he spread the love to what's going on over at DC Comics by also giving some love to Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
There's no way Avengers 3 and Avengers 4 isn't going to make a ton of money. These are billion dollar grossers, multi-billion dollar grossers. Batman and Superman, just the fact those two icons are coming together, that's a billion dollar movies. So all this stuff that's coming up, there'll be flops but there'll be super strong ones. Guardians [of the Galaxy, Vol. 2] is going to be amazing, I can't wait for it.
If you're a big fan of comic book movies, the period that we're currently in is what could certainly be described as a golden age - but from a non-fan perspective it's not incredibly difficult to see how the films are starting to fill up the release calendar. Between now and 2020, there are 25 superhero movies that are scheduled to be released by Marvel Studios, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox - and one can't forget that there's always the possibility of the companies adding more.
All that on the table, I actually think that Mark Millar's five year prediction is too conservative. If these movies were just doing the same thing over and over again it would be easy to predict an early end, but the truth of the matter is that the genre has been evolving at a very fast rate, and as long as filmmakers are able to keep things fresh, there's no reason why they can't keep being successful for decades. Sure, an average of five movies every 12 months might not last forever, but spelling doom for all of it doesn't really make a ton of sense right now.
How long do you think the comic book movie/superhero genre has left? Hit the comments with your thoughts.