After Ant-Man, Where Should Edgar Wright Go? Go For the Gold -- Booster Gold!
With Shaun of the Dead and The World's End director Edgar Wright off of Marvel Studios' Ant-Man, there's bound to be a lot of discussion as to what his next move is -- and it's likely any number of other studios and intellectual-property holders will pursue him about geeky endeavors that sync up with his pop culture-savvy way of writing. You see it fairly often; somebody like Channing Tatum says he's always liked Gambit and the next thing you know, he's being courted to play the Ragin' Cajun in a spinoff that makes his origin more beefcake-friendly or something. Vin Diesel says he's "talking to Marvel," just as a lark, and the next day he really is and -- bam! -- Guardians of the Galaxy. And, of course, we're all fans too, so we find ourselves wondering just where we might place the guy if we were the ones to make that kind of decision. And we came up with...
...Booster Gold. Yes, yes, Arrow showrunner Andrew Kreisberg was supposed to put together a Syfy pilot for Booster Gold way back before The Flash became a thing. And it's technically not dead yet, as far as we're aware. But does anybody really think it's going to happen? No? Alright, then, moving on. Wright would be a great choice becasue, as in The World's End, he's able to bring humor to the table without losing the emotional stakes of the story. That's something that Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis excelled at during the early days of the Justice League starring Booster, Blue Beetle and company and it's the kind of writing that Geoff Johns and Dan Jurgens always plugged away at during the most recent iteration of the character's solo title. That same sensibility carried over to the character's fan-favorite appearance on Smallville, too. And, yes, this is different than just picking some comedy guy and sticking him on a character with some humor in his history.
Why? Well, because Booster Gold is actually pretty powerful, and both the character and his time-hopping nature demand a story with stakes. Most comedy writers are more focused on the joke (or the character) to worry a lot about the plot, which operates in service of one of the above in most comedies. That's the most popular misconception about Booster Gold (and particularly his time with the JLI): people think that becuase there was some joking around, it was a goofy book. And certainly when you got to the latter day "Formerly Known As the Justice League" and "I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League" stories, there's something do that, but by that point there was ten or more years of history and an established reputation as "the funny ones" that Giffen and DeMatteis were consciously working with. When the comic itself launched, every scene of Batman punching out Guy Gardner for being a jerk was offset by one of Maxwell Lord, the team's manager/adviser, relating to J'Onn J'Onzz the Martian Manhunter from his hospital bed. It's even more exaggerated in Booster's own series. The character is often thought of as being "in it for the money," but during his first series in the '80s, the whole point of the two years the comic was running was that he became a real hero by overcoming that side of himself. However, because fans still think of a character as they were in their first appearance, Booster can no more easily shake being a corporate shill than Magneto can shake being a bad guy. Geoff Johns saw this and cleverly wrote it into his character, embracing the kind of pop culture savvy that Edgar Wright excels at (and which Johns would later use even more in Aquaman's relaunch). In most of his post-2000 stories, Booster is a character who isn't taken as seriously as he should be by the average person -- and sometimes not even by other heroes.
In other words, he's a flawed character who has to overcome his flaws in the course of the story -- and for whom life isn't easy and respect is nearly impossible even once he's done so. If that doesn't sound like a character Edgar Wright -- champion of the redeemed-but-not-respected slacker characters like Tim Bisley and Scott Pilgrim -- can make work, I don't know what is. If anything, the problem with giving Booster Gold to Edgar Wright remains with Andrew Kreisberg; with time travel seemingly a major part of The Flash, it seems plausible that ideas he had in play for the Booster Gold pilot could pop up in that series, making it harder for someone else to latch on to the character. Still, there have been rumors that Booster is one of a number of DC characters who might be in line for a mid-budget superhero feature film from Warner Bros. And (again) that would be perfect for Wright...!0comments