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Why Lobo Would Be Good for the DCU


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by Xtreme HD IPTV

In the world of comic books, there have always been two major competing brands. Marvel Comics and DC have long been rivals in the medium, holding near even ground for decades in the hearts and minds of the fans. This trend, however, has not been replicated on the big screen, with MCU properties dominating so completely that Warner Brothers has entirely revised their shared universe, tabling projects and relaunching their properties in an entirely new setting with James Gunn at the helm.

As the new DCU looks to correct its universe under the guidance of James Gunn and Peter Safran, numerous projects have already been announced and green-lit, with some, like Superman Legacy, in the later stages of pre-production. However, alongside the projects comprising the new DCU’s ‘Gods and Monsters phase, there are talks of bringing Lobo, a relatively obscure character from the comics, to the big screen for the first time. While Lobo fans will obviously be excited by this prospect, this is a creative move that may help to set this new DCU apart from the previous attempt, as well as establish a new tone for the franchise after Zack Snyder’s dark and gritty attempts. Here is why we think that including the foul-mouthed bounty hunter would be a great idea if the DCU decided to go with it.

Update January 14, 2024: This article has been updated with more information regarding the future of the DCU, including updates regarding Superman: Legacy and recent comments made during the lead-up to Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

Lobo Was Originally a Parody

Superman battling Lobo in the City in Superman Vs. Lobo
DC Comics

In the 90s, there was a major tonal shift in comic books, with a new trend featuring excessively violent characters. Idealistic heroes still existed, but were hardly the most popular thing on the shelves, being overshadowed by gritty, brutal heroes with vicious methods and very few, if any, morals to speak of. It was in this environment that comic artist Keith Giffen released Lobo, the satirical embodiment of all the worst traits of these characters, dialed to eleven.

An interview with newsarama.com provided some insight into the creation of Lobo, who was meant to be a parody of the morally ambiguous characters and the brutal methods that they used, specifically the likes of The Punisher, and Wolverine, both gleeful mass-murderers at the time. Lobo was unkillable; he was constantly smoking a cigar and rode through the cosmos astride a space-going chopper while stringing together curses in his native language. He wielded an enormous arsenal of oversized guns, chains, and knives, and killing his targets was his preferred method of doing business. Unlike his wholly serious Marvel counterparts, all of Lobo’s traits and identifiable elements were taken past the point of absurdity, and the stories featuring Lobo were too over the top to be taken even remotely seriously.

Related: DCU’s Key Players are Changing and That’s a Good Thing

In many ways, the old DCEU embodied a lot of attitudes and ideas similar to those that Lobo was initially designed to parody. For example, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen-inspired interpretation of Batman depicted a character with no moral objections towards committing wanton murder, operating more like The Punisher than any version of Batman seen outside a Frank Miller graphic novel. Lobo, both as a character or in a film, could perform a similar function as the character was intended to perform in comics: parody the over-the-top violent and vicious style of comic hero that was so prevalent in the past iteration of DC’s cinematic universe.

DCU’s Answer to Deadpool?

Deadpool Ryan Reynolds holds his hands to his face
20th Century Fox

As an over-the-top violent anti-hero who brings his worst traits to the point of parody, Lobo has a lot in common with Marvel’s Merc with a Mouth, who has already had two successful appearances in his own films, with a third on the way in the MCU. Lobo and Deadpool use comedically violent and gory methods to pursue their goals, and neither character is designed to be taken entirely seriously. Due to these similarities, it can be argued that a Lobo-led film could be the new DCU’s answer to the Deadpool franchise.

The Deadpool films have already proven that the parody-level violence and comedic tone under an R-rating can work, both critically and commercially. Cashing in on Lobo’s many stereotypes and outrageous narrative style can then be seen as a logical approach to best utilizing the character in the new DCU. Bringing an overtly fun and comedic tone to a hypothetical Lobo film would put it in direct competition with Deadpool and cement his role as a parody of the dark and gritty approach to superheroes – which is ironically one of the largest and most common complaints against the DCEU.

While Deadpool is traditionally more straightforward in his parody antics, Lobo’s satirical essence is slightly more sub-textual and relies on the reader’s knowledge of the comic book tropes that inspired the character, sometimes with mixed results. In addition to allowing for a lighthearted parody of general comic book tropes, a Lobo movie can also poke fun at the old DCEU in a self-referential way that solidifies that the DCU is substantially changing its tone.

The Perfect Actor for Lobo is Obvious

DC Comics' Lobo and Jason Momoa as Aquaman
DC Comics
Warner Bros. 

Thanks in part to their similar physiques, Aquaman star Jason Momoa has long been the favorite to star as the first live-action, feature film iteration of Lobo. The DCEU has previously attempted to bring these gargantuan characters – like Darkseid and Steppenwolf – to the big screen through CGI, with varying results. While Gunn is certainly no stranger to CGI characters – the director managed to make everyone fall in love with a talking tree in Guardians of the Galaxy – it might be better for the new DCU to take the practical route when adapting Lobo to the big screen. Even in the age of the superhero physique transformation, there are few actors with the natural bulk and frame of Jason Momoa who could convincingly pull off a genuinely terrifying Lobo on the big screen.

As well as sharing a hulking stature, Momoa is the living embodiment of Lobo’s larger-than-life aesthetic. Stemming from his first appearance in Omega Men #3 in 1983, Lobo is often depicted as a stereotypical, hot-rod riding biker, fit with a dark leather jacket and torn trousers. If you’ve ever scrolled through Momoa’s social media or watched him in interviews, then you’ll know Momoa is a long-time fan of Harley Davidson motorcycles and frequently wears the accompanying outfits associated with the brand. Momoa’s casting as Lobo is anything but official yet, with the rumors frequently ebbing and flowing. In a recent interview with Fandango to promote Aquaman 2, Momoa called Lobo the “perfect casting,” adding further flames to the fire.

“So Lobo is… I used to collect comics and… he was always my favorite. I would always want to play Lobo because I’m like “hello!” It’s the perfect role.

With Momoa in mind, it’s hard to imagine any other actor portraying the intergalactic bounty hunter. However, there is the obvious problem of Momoa already starring as a major character in the current DCEU, having recently reprised his role as Arthur Curry for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. If Momoa were to be cast as Lobo in James Gunn’s new DCU, it would also mean the character of Aquaman would have to be recast, but that appears to be the plan as Momoa has implied that Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom would be his final time playing the character.

Gunn and Safran could also go in an entirely different direction for Lobo. While Momoa certainly seems like the perfect fit, it might be too obvious, and they might want to reinvent the character or go for something different. After all, nobody could have expected Chris Pratt for Star-Lord or Dave Batutisa for Drax the Destroyer when Guardians of the Galaxy was first announced. In fact, Bautista has said in the past he would love to play Lobo, and if Gunn wants to bring his friend into the DCU like he has Sean Gunn and Nathan Fillion, it could be Batutisa’s to lose.

Past Attempts At Making a Lobo Movie

Lobo Krypton
Phantom Four Films/DC Entertainment

Lobo is a character DC has tried to make into a film for a while. In September 2009, it was announced that Guy Ritchie would be directing a Lobo film. However, Ritchie would abandon the project to direct Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and was replaced by Brad Peyton (San Andreas) in 2012.

Peyton wanted to cast his frequent collaborator, Dwayne Johnson, in the role. Yet Johnson would pass on the part to play Black Adam in Shazam instead! before the plan was scrapped in favor of a Black Adam solo film. The last time anyone heard of a Lobo film was in February 2018, when Transformers director Michael Bay was attached to the project. That movie never materialized, but it is hard to argue that if Michael Bay was going to direct any superhero movie, Lobo seems like the obvious one.

Then, in 2019, Lobo appeared on the television series Krypton for the show’s second season. He was played by actor Emmett J. Scanlan (who, funny enough, has a history with James Gunn as he appeared as a prison guard in Guardians of the Galaxy). The character was set to get his own spin-off series on SyFy, but the series was scrapped following Krypton‘s cancelation. Lobo struggled to get off the ground during the past decade at DC, but the new decade might be the best time for him.

How the New DCU Can Introduce Lobo

Lobo Brutally Battling Armed Soldiers in Justice League of America
DC Comics

A lot of the discussion around Lobo entering the new DCU presumes that the character would receive his own standalone movie. While this certainly wouldn’t be rejected by fans of the character, a potentially better route would be to utilize Lobo as a supporting character across the entire cinematic universe – similar to Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In DC’s acclaimed animated universe, Lobo often makes brief appearances as a smaller antagonist, typically with the goal of claiming the bounty on whichever supervillain the hero is also pursuing. Although it would take longer to establish the character in the minds of casual fans, the animated universe has had a lot of success with this approach to Lobo’s character, and James Gunn may take notes from these previous victories.

Related: DC Characters That Were Cut from the DCEU

The beauty of Lobo’s character is in his malleability. This allows James Gunn to call on Lobo as and when he needs across the new DCU just as well as he could star in his own feature film. Being an intergalactic bounty hunter, Lobo is one of many DC characters not grounded by realistic storytelling, unlike non-powered characters like the Bat Family, meaning the possibilities are endless. He could show up in Superman: Legacy or the Lanterns television series. He could also easily show up in The Authority movie, which will focus on a group of R-rated superheroes, and Lobo could possibly be a villain in that film. The possibilities are endless.

James Gunn Knows How to Write Satirical Characters

cast of Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel Studios

As previously established, the version of Lobo that could most benefit the new DCU is his original role as a satire of excessive and gratuitous violence in the medium and the need for characters to push their gritty and brutal stories further in a never-ending race of one-upmanship. While fans of the comics didn’t always interpret Lobo as the parody he was meant to be, this misreading is also something that his film incarnation could leverage to elevate the new cinematic franchise he’ll appear in.

On the filmmaking side, James Gunn has a proven track record when it comes to offbeat and quirky characters. His work on Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad has provided great examples of what he can accomplish when given free reign over under-appreciated characters. Knowing Gunn’s filmography, it is highly likely that a DCU iteration of Lobo would lean into the absurdity of the character whilst balancing a well-written, heartfelt narrative.

However, all of this hinges on DCU being self-aware enough of the tonal issues that brought the DCEU down in the first place. In the 90s, the satirical nature of Lobo was completely lost on fans, and he became the poster boy for the very things he was meant to parody. If the DCU falls into this same trap and chooses to take Lobo seriously, then the result will be a film that unintentionally adds to the gritty violence first started by Snyder’s previous DCEU movies.

More than just leaving one of the best parts of a great character on the table, such a choice would demonstrate that the DCU has not learned from the failures of the past, and audiences may not appreciate more of the same.

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