Guillermo del Toro makes being a film fan fun. He creates a unique kind of cinema worth celebrating, but the movies he hasn’t made yet are just as enticing. Whenever he shows even the slightest interest in any project, our hearts race and our imaginations soar. But if there’s one characteristic that defines del Toro — as an artist and as a person — it’s the power of imagination.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that he’s sent us into a frenzy again with this latest development. While discussing his upcoming Pinocchio movie at the Marrakech Film Festival (via The Hollywood Reporter), the prolific director revealed that he was open to the possibility of joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But there’s a catch: he doesn’t want to make a traditional superhero movie.
“I’m not interested in superheroes that aren’t monsters. I’m not interested in anyone who looks good.”
We can rule out the idea of him helming a Thor sequel, then. However, this isn’t the first time del Toro has echoed these views when asked about possibly working with Marvel in the future. He’s been attached to a couple of their projects in the past, and his mindset has always been the same. But in a 2012 interview with Collider, he did mention a few superhero projects that could pique his interest:
“I like monsters, and when the monster is a superhero, it’s a byproduct. Like Hellboy, the Hulk, Man-Thing, Swamp Thing, Sandman, Constantine, Demon, Doctor Strange, Spectre, Deadman. Those are the superheroes I followed as a kid religiously. I loved when the superhero genre crosses with horror. Morbius. Those are the guys I gravitated towards. Blade. So for me, to be interested in doing a superhero movie, it would need to be on the dark side or a Jack Kirby property. Kamandi, Demon, Mr. Miracle — I love any Kirby.”
This should come as no surprise, though. Del Toro’s love for monsters is entrenched in his being and that’s evident in most of his work. The way his films portray creatures as beings we can empathize with and root for is what makes him perfect for bringing some of Marvel’s darker heroes to the big screen. And given that he’s already helmed three of the best monster superhero movies ever made, he’s more than up to the task.
Del Toro’s magic touch would add a new dimension to the MCU. In the past, Kevin Feige and co. have allowed some really interesting — and often unexpected — filmmakers to play in their sandbox. James Gunn was plucked from indie obscurity and tasked with making people care about the Guardians, a group of forgotten misfits whose fate seemed resigned to the company vaults a few years before. Similarly, The Eternals is also on the way courtesy of Chloe Zhao, which will thrust more unexpected heroes into the mainstream imagination. Elsewhere, Taika Waititi was given free reign to bring his oddball comedy sensibilities to Thor: Ragnarok, while Scott Derrickson added some psychedelic horror flavor to Doctor Strange. Contrary to some people’s opinion, the MCU has a solid track record when it comes to taking risks and trying new things. That’s why potentially letting del Toro make a Marvel monster movie isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
Marvel also has a fine selection of monsters deserving of their own cinematic outings. Werewolf by Night and Man-Thing immediately spring to mind. As you can gather from his name, the former is a lycanthrope with connections to Doctor Strange through the Midnight Sons. Introducing Wolfy as part of a future movie centered around the Doc would be a natural way to bring him into the fold and see how it goes from there. Man-Thing, meanwhile, is a humanoid swamp monster with a tragic backstory, which makes him inherently ripe for a del Toro film. The prospect of the character getting a solo movie seems unlikely, but Marvel’s history of giving fringe players a chance means we can’t rule them out, either.
Team-up movies have served the MCU well thus far, though, and that’s probably the best way to turn the MCU into a monster mash. Introducing the aforementioned creatures as friends of Doctor Strange and having them form their own ghoulish alliance would be a fun alternative to the super squads that currently occupy the MCU. Resurrect Blade and Ghost Rider, throw in Hellstrom, Manphibian, Satana, Frankencastle (unlikely), and N’Kantu, the Living Mummy, and we could have the MCU equivalent of the Justice League Dark movie we never got to see. Maybe Morbius could even join them after his Sony commitments are fulfilled?
Of course, there is one character among the tried and tested MCU alumni who del Toro could work wonders with — Incredible Hulk. The MCU tried to establish the big green brute as an individual star in the past, but the resulting movie was a misfire. But Hulk is arguably the most compelling character in Marvel’s cinematic roster right now — a brilliant scientist and doomed monster — and he’s richly deserving of a film that explores his depth. It’s not like he hasn’t toyed with the idea in the past after all.
Del Toro’s last superhero movie just missed the current superhero boom we’re living in. Now that these movies are more popular than ever, I’d love to see him make another one. And if Venom becoming one of the highest-grossing movies of the year has taught us anything, it’s that audiences are ready for superheroes with more bite.