Thanks in large part to the massive successes of Independence Day, filmmaker Roland Emmerich became the go-to director for major spectacle films, leading audiences to wonder why he hasn't helmed a superhero film, with the filmmaker revealing that, were he to do a comic book movie, it would be a standalone story instead of one entry into a sprawling franchise. This attitude isn't born out of any displeasure of long-running franchises, but is rooted in the fact that he personally never read comic books growing up, so his lack of an emotional connection would make conveying dense mythology or backstory uninteresting to him.
"Well, I grew up in Germany. I was not raised with comics, I hardly saw comics," Emmerich revealed to ComicBook.com while promoting the home entertainment release of Midway. "If we saw comics, it was Asterix and Obelix, which was a French comic, or stuff like that. But I like comic book movies when they're kind of not serialized. Something like Joker, I loved. Something like Logan, I loved. The first Iron Man, I loved. But then when it comes to throwing all these superheroes together, I'm just checking out. Because I just didn't grow up with these characters so I don't really care."
It's easy to see why Emmerich would have these thoughts, though the trouble is that, when a standalone movie is considered a financial or critical success, there immediately becomes a desire to see a follow-up film. Various reports have emerged about Joker potentially getting a sequel of sorts, while Logan featuring the titular character's death making a continuation of that narrative seemingly impossible.
More important than merely telling an isolated story, Emmerich would also only be interested in a comic book movie if it had a real message behind it.
"If somebody makes a comic book movie which really tells you something about, like the last Joker, really says something about our frustration with society and how we mistreat people," Emmerich admitted. "And it was very, in my book, very high up for me. Next to 1917, the best movie of the year."
The filmmaker's lack of interest in a big superhero story will likely disappoint fans, as few directors have as many impressive spectacles to their name as Emmerich. Following Independence Day, he delivered audiences films like The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 BC, 2012, and White House Down, all of which offered experiences that demanded they be seen on the big screen to fully appreciate.
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Additional reporting by Scott Huver