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The last time Silver Surfer was seen on the big screen, he was serving as the villain-turned-ally in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Although the film’s ending left room for Silver Surfer to return at some point, that never happened. 20th Century Fox eventually abandoned that continuity in favor of rebooting Marvel’s First Family this August. However, had the first Fantastic Four film series continued, we may have gotten to see the Surfer lead his own spinoff film.
When asked by Comicbook.com about the Silver Surfer film that had been talked about several years ago, Doug Jones, who physically played the Surfer (Laurence Fishburne provided the voice), revealed a script had been written for the Surfer’s own adventure. Said Jones:
My understanding was, that was a part of that three picture deal that never panned out. J. Michael Straczynski did write a script for the spinoff and whatever happened with that script - that’s when I lost touch and I don’t know. I never saw the script. I never read it. I just heard that it had been done and I just thought, "If JM is doing it it’s gonna be alright!" The talk just kind of faded and all the sudden there’s a reboot, so TAA DAA!
Comic book fans will recognize Straczynski as the scribe for heroes like Thor, Spider-Man and Superman, so the Surfer’s solo film would have been in good hands. Alas, it was not to be due to how the preceding two films in this universe were received. Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer earned mostly negative reviews, and now Fox has even taken them off digital platforms like iTunes and Amazon in order to draw attention to the reboot.
This wasn’t the first attempt at making a Silver Surfer movie. Back in 1999, director James Gunn was approached by 20th Century Fox to create a treatment for the Sentinel of the Spaceways, which he called "cosmic as hell." Gunn decided to turn down this Silver Surfer for a Spy vs. Spy feature (which also didn’t get made), but he got to make Guardians of the Galaxy 15 years later, so everything evened out. Fortunately for Jones, his comic book forays weren’t just limited to Silver Surfer. In addition to playing Abe Sapien in the Hellboy films, he was recently seen as Deathbolt on Arrow and The Flash. Jones admitted in the interview that he would jump at the chance to play the Surfer again, but he’s not holding his breath for Fox to get in touch with him.
As it stands now, the only superhero spinoffs Fox is interested in making is for the X-Men series like Deadpool and Gambit, so when we’ll see another live-action version of Silver Surfer is uncertain. That said, if Fox wants to build their own cosmic universe, the shiny space traveler is their best way to accomplish this.