Michael Clarke Duncan: The Comic Book Movies That Might Have Been

Michael Clarke Duncan left us far too soon, at only 54 years old and with bright things in his future. Not only was he engaged to be married, he had numerous upcoming projects in varying stages of production, including a few potential comic book movies.

In the paneled page department, it felt like a virtual certainty that Duncan would be back for “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.” His brutish bodyguard Manute plays a pivotal role in the original Frank Miller graphic novel that “Dame to Kill For” gets its name from, showing us how he first encountered Clive Owen’s heroic photographer Dwight McCarthy.

Now that Duncan is no longer with us, one has to wonder how Robert Rodriguez will proceed with the Manute character. Will he be replaced by another actor so as to remain faithful to the original tale? Or will Manute be excised completely and replaced with a comparable character, a move that keeps Duncan’s legacy as Manute intact? Both answers are less than satisfactory, but Rodriguez will have to make a decision one way or another.

There was also the possibility, however remote, of another film set in the “Green Lantern” universe. Though the Ryan Reynolds-starring flick was nothing short of a flop, Duncan’s voice-work as Kilowog was one of the few highlights of the sci-fi epic. Indeed, from that very first casting announcement, fans knew that Duncan would do great justice to Kilowog and his “poozer”-damning insults.

If DC decided to reboot “Lantern,” without Reynolds as Hal and with another actor and lead character in the mix, there would have been no need to replace Duncan as Kilowog; he was perfect. Sadly, should a sequel or reboot ever move forward, it’ll have to move forward without Duncan.

But of all his comic book performances, Duncan was easily most famous for playing Kingpin in “Daredevil.” It did not look likely that he would reprise that role. Fox was working on giving the Man Without Fear a hard reboot before letting the rights slip back to Marvel Studios, meaning that Duncan’s days as Wilson Fisk were very likely at an end even before his tragic death.

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