Twelve Days of X-Mas, Day 7: ‘SILVER SURFER’
Welcome to another installment of what I hope is an enjoyable, extended look at a series of films that I’d like to see used as a way to bring the X-Men and Fantastic Four universes into the MCU. I’ve spent a troubling amount of time in my own mind thinking about this and figured that if I was going to spend that much time, I might as well write it up and feel accomplished! In doing so, I know that I’ll push some buttons with some readers, so let’s be clear about a few things: these are only MY ideas and do not, in any way, represent insight into what we should expect; of all the films I end up writing about, there’s a very small chance ANY of them get made; you’re free to write your own fan-fiction about films you want to see.
With so much time between now and when we will first see the X-Men enter the MCU, there’s a lot of time for things to change (including my own mind); however, this “blueprint” is my current idea and one that I’ve attempted to base both in the kind of decisions Marvel Studios has made to date and on the types of changes we’ve seen recently. Unfortunately, in writing these I’ve discovered I am NOT cut out to do screenplays, so some of these stray from convention in a few ways.
In the first installment, I took at look at how The Starjammers could potentially kick off Marvel Studios’ inclusion of the X-Men characters into the MCU. Then I took a shot at introducing Charles Xavier to the world and explaining just why he needed the X-Men in the first place. Next, we introduced arguably Marvel’s greatest character, Victor von Doom. We then caught up on the adventures of Corsair and crew and met the poweful Shi’ar Imperial Guard. We finally gave Marvel’s first family the film they deserve and then brought the X-Men into the MCU, making good on our several movie long build up to a true-to-comics Scott Summers. Today, for our 7th day, we are taking a trip into the cosmos and discovering the origins of one of Marvel’s most powerful players: the Silver Surfer.
This is one that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since the deal went down. In my head, Taika Waititi in charge of this film would make it one of the great space adventure films of all times. While this story has some pretty serious bits to it, Waititi is the one guy who could make Surfer’s trip through the Cosmos a must see for me. Once again, I’m going with a less is more approach, so forgive the jumps; they’re there for your convenience and to make the reads a bit easier.
The thing I love most about this film is that while it’s going to be Norrin Radd’s story (a story worth telling as much as anyone’s), it’s going to take us back to the beginning of time in the MCU and it’s going to be Galactus’ story as well. This is VERY unconventional film as well because it’s going to tell the tales of two men (humanoid beings at least) whose similar decisions in similar circumstances intertwine their fates. There’s a villain in here, but it’s not one they’ll fight in this movie. In this movie, the conflict is with nature: the unforgiving nature of the universe itself. This is Marvel Studios The Martian or Apollo 13 or whatever other film you like in which man isn’t fighting man; this film is about what happens when the universe puts up a fight. In that scenario, you may fight back, but you’re going to lose something.
We’ve begun to get a sense of just how old the universe might be, but this film is going to show us the day it all began and for that, we start our story on the planet Taa, in a time before our time began…
Immediately upon seeing Taa we realize it is utopia. A perfect paradise that represents the pinnacle of potential and progress. It’s citizens travel in spheres that seem to be created by their thoughts and the landscape seems ever changing (thanks for writing that, Stan Lee!…Thor #169). Even in a place like Taa, where everyone and everything is magnificent, there are those that rise even higher and in this place that being’s name is Galan.
A man of science, Galan has held grim news from his people for some time, but his conscience tells him that the time for secrets is gone. For years he’s seen the evidence, seen life around the universe die out as it contracts upon itself and he’s hoped to find a way to save the people of Taa from the same fate. At this time, Galan and his fellow sciencemasters realize there is no hope in staying where they are: EVERYTHING DIES. If they stay, they die, but Galan believes that if they could find the center point of the contraction of this universe, they could possibly survive into the expansion of a new one and so they begin construction of a “life raft” meant to shield them from the enormous energies that will surround them. With the life raft complete, a group of them make their way into the center of the universe and we can pretend things looked good for a minute, until the inevitable happened. As the ship and his people are destroyed, Galan feels something else, something different pulling at him and as he lets go, we cut to black.
As the lens reopens, we are returned to utopia but as the camera works its way through the surface of this planet, we see it is not Taa at all: we are on Zenn-La, more than one billion years after the destruction of Taa. We learn that Zenn-La is everything Taa was. With their civilization at it’s peak, Zenn-Lavians, unlike the people of Taa, had given up their quest for knowledge, believing the pursuit of advancement trivial when they had so much already. Instead, the Zenn-Lavians preferred more hedonistic pursuits and spent their time chasing their own happiness. Of course there are exceptions to every rule and so it’s here we meet our hero, Norrin Raad, perhaps the noblest soul in the entire universe and one that longs for escape and adventure. Sparing you some time here, we’ll meet all the key Zenn-Lavians, most importantly, Shalla-Bal, Raad’s lover, and all the key details including how Norrin’s father, Jartran, was given the Copernicus treatment for his theory that this universe was but one of many in a true multiverse, and then took his life. And of course, we get to know Radd, so full of wisdom yet so bereft of experiences, and truly discover his love for Bal.
Surely there are no souls more desirable to the demon Mephisto than those as noble as the soul of Norrin Raad and so, once again, we see the demon in Hell, in the presence of many poor tormented souls, including Raad’s father. In a flash, Mephisto reveals himself to Raad, who is busily reading yet another story of a past in which Zenn-Lavians sought adventure. Curiously, Raad’s conversation with the demon reveals this is not their first encounter and though Mephisto offers him several deals, including the return of his father, in exchange for his own soul, Raad dismisses the demon again, telling him to torment someone else. As Mephisto disappears, all seems well on Zenn-La in the year 1900.
A ship moves through space. It isn’t until a planet comes into view with it that we get a sense for the sheer size of it as it dwarfs the planet. A technological wonder, Taa II hovers above the gasesous dwarf planet for a moment before, pulling away. Inside the ship, a nearly 30 foot being storms away to sit. As he removes his very distinct helmet, we recognize the face of Galen, but much else has changed. We learn from his ship’s log that it’s been some time since they found a suitable planet to which Galen replies, “I know. Galactus hungers!” Time to save time again! I want to catch up on how Galen became Galactus and do it some justice without doing too much. Most importantly, I want to explain how and why Galactus exists and flashbacks to when the Fallen One was his herald and to set up the fact he does not have one now. As we cut back to the present (I guess it’s actually the past), Taa II sets its sights on Zenn-La.
Zenn-Lavians had long since forgotten how to defend themselves and what weapons they did have proved futile as Taa II set up in orbit. Galactus emerges, briefly touching the surface of the planet. As he does, an entire ocean dries up, and Galactus seems pleased and returns to his ship. As he uses a machine on his ship to begin converting the planet to the energy he must consume, Norrin Raad realizes that this is the moment for which he’s been longing his entire life. He enters a shuttle and approaches Taa II and as the camera pans away, we notice he’s attracted an interested observer: Mephisto.
Raad approaches Galactus who after failing to recognize him, attempts to dismiss him. Raad begs him to explain why he is doing this and why an entire civilization must die. Galactus, reminded of his own origins, pauses and reflects on the oath he once made to himself to feed only on planets where no sentient life existed; however, Galactus hungers and he must eat and he explains this to Raad. Raad quickly and easily makes the deal he never made with Mephisto because Galactus offers the one thing Mephisto never did: the survival of his people and, above all, Shalla-Bal. As Mephisto leaves, Galactus imbues Raad with the Power Cosmic: the Silver Surfer is born!
In the order of saving time, we’ll see nearly 100 years of Silver Surfer adventures, allowing Raad to explore the cosmos and become the adventurer he always wished to be. Early on, Raad would return to Zenn-La while his master was full and visited with Shalla-Bal, but as time went on, his master used his powers to make him forget about his home and his love and his sense of adventure and wonder: the Surfer was little more than another slave to the hunger of Galactus. Though he knew Raad untouchable under the eye of Galactus, Mephisto never quit watching and it was, with one eye on the long game, that he approached Shalla-Bal, who still pined for the return of her lost love and so a deal was made: Mephisto would return her love to her side in exchange for the price of her own soul at the time of her death.
As we move towards the the end credits, we see the Surfer as he speeds into a familiar spiral galaxy.
Post-Credit Scene #1: Earth. The Baxter Building.
Post-Credit Scene #2: Elsewhere…We see the manifestation of the cosmic being known as Eternity. Inside of it, a great darkness grows.
Post-Credit Scene #3: Elsewhere yet…in a space seemingly between spaces, sits a prison cell. Inside the cell sits a massive being, completely different from anything we’ve seen, composed of dark matter: the Fallen One.
Fan Cast: There are two roles that I can see people in here. I love Joel Edgerton as the Surfer. He’s got the perfect bone structure and soft spoken nature. I know it’ll be heavy CGI, but with the advances they’ve made in make-up (look how good Nebula looked in GotG Vol. 2), you could get away with some of that. If not, he’d still be just great as Raad. As far as Galactus, call me crazy but I love Ralph Fiennes for it!
Thanks for hanging in thus far! Tomorrow we’ll reunite the Summers family and wrap up the Starjammers triology!
The Silver Surfer and Galactus will return!