It’s not uncommon for studios to develop and even announce spinoff movies, only for them to ultimately be cancelled. However, some cancellations are more surprising and disappointing than others. It’s always disappointing when a highly-anticipated movie gets cancelled. But with the evolution in the film industry from streaming to changes in tent poles, it’s a business, and studios have to make tough decisions based on what they think will make the most financial sense. Hopefully, some of these cancelled spinoffs will eventually see the light of day, but for now, fans will have to content themselves with the existing material.
Here are some of the most highly-anticipated spinoff movies that never made it to the finish line.
Workaholics was a spinoff film of the popular Comedy Central series of the same name. The project was cancelled just a few days before filming was set to begin. Adam Devine, who co-created and starred in the original sitcom for Comedy Central, announced the news via Instagram. The show starred Devine, Blake Anderson and Anders Holm, and saw the trio as friends and roommates who work together as telemarketers in Rancho Cucamonga, California. The series ran for seven seasons on Comedy Central between 2011 and 2017.
10 Silver Surfer
Another disappointment was the cancellation of the “Silver Surfer” spinoff. The character, who made his debut in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, was set to get his own standalone film. However, after the underwhelming performance of the second Fantastic Four movie, the spinoff was shelved. Additionally, the rights to the Silver Surfer character were tied up in legal issues, making it difficult to move forward with a spinoff film.
The Cyborg spinoff, which was set to explore the backstory of the character played by Ray Fisher in the DC Extended Universe, was also cancelled. This was after Zack Snyder was replaced by Joss Whedon and the direction of the DCEU was changed. Cyborg was a planned standalone film featuring the character of Victor Stone/Cyborg, which was expected to be released as part of Zack Snyder’s DC Extended Universe (DCEU) film series, also known as the Snyderverse. Due to the release and reception of the original Justice League, the Snyderverse project was put on hold, and later it was decided to not continue it.
Another superhero spinoff that didn’t make it to the big screen was X-23, which was set to focus on the female Wolverine character, played by Dafne Keen in Logan. The movie was cancelled after the Fox and Disney merger. In Logan, Keen wowed audiences as a young Wolverine clone engineered in a lab to be the ideal weapon. Because she possesses all of Wolverine’s skills, such as adamantium claws and improved healing, and she can also detach her claws from her feet, there was a lot of interest in a film seeing her take the spotlight. But ultimately, nothing came off it after the Fox-Disney merger. Given the character’s popularity, if Marvel decides to make a new X-men film, it could potentially bring back X-23.
The attempts to create a Batgirl movie go as far as 2017 when it was announced that Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and director of The Avengers, would write, direct and produce a standalone Batgirl film as part of the DCEU. However, in 2018, it was reported that Joss Whedon had stepped down as the director of the project due to creative differences. The project was put on hold and later it was announced that the movie was canceled.
The film was resuscitated again in 2021 with Ms. Marvel directors Bilal Fallah and Adil El Arbi. However, even though the film was completed, it was cancelled by Warner Bros.
6 The Crooked Man
The Conjuring universe has seen major expansion since the first film came out in 2013. There have been two sequels, the titular The Conjuring 2 and Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and spin-offs Anabelle, Anabelle: Creation, Anabelle Comes Home, The Nun and The Curse of La Llorona. Another film that was initially on the docket was The Crooked Man, a spin-off based on the character in The Conjuring 2. The film was being developed after the success of The Conjuring 2 but was ultimately cancelled by the studio for unexplained reasons.
5 Jinx Johnson film
In the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day, Halle Berry played the character of Jinx Johnson. She was a CIA agent who teamed up with James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) to stop a North Korean terrorist from launching a nuclear attack. Considered by many to be one of the best Bond girls in franchise history, she was even considered to have her own feature film. In 2020, it was reported that a spin-off film focusing on Halle Berry’s character Jinx Johnson was in development at MGM. However after the failure of films like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle Of Life and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, the studio ultimately pulled the plug on the film, disappointing fans of Berry and the character.
4 MIB 23
In 2014 and 2016, Sony announced that they were developing a crossover film that would bring together the characters from the two franchises 22 Jump Street and Men in Black, which later became “MIB 23”, and would have featured Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum reprising their roles from the Jump Street franchise, and Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones reprising their roles from the Men in Black franchise. The film has been at a standstill for some time, but Tatum seems eager to get it off the ground too.
Speaking to Collider he stated:
“You’re preaching to the choir, man. I still think it could work, I really do. And if Sony would ever really, like, I think do the hard work and figure out the producer problems that are inherent with that film, I think we can still do it. But right now, I don’t know why, they’re just not motivated to do it. It’s a big overhead on that movie, so.”
Few may know that at one point in time Robin was supposed to have his own spinoff feature. Chris O’Donnel played the character of Robin in the Batman Forever and Batman & Robin films, which were released in 1995 and 1997 respectively, both directed by Joel Schumacher. In 2012, O’Donnell confirmed that there was talk of Robin getting his own spin-off, in addition to returning for an unproduced Batman sequel.
2 The X-Force
The X-Force is a superhero team that appeared in comic books published by Marvel Comics. In the comics, the X-Force is a more militant and aggressive version of the X-Men, and it was led by the character Cable. In the Deadpool sequel, we essentially saw a version of this with Domino (Zazie Beetz), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard), Vanisher (Brad Pitt) and…well, Peter (Rob Delaney).
In 2018, a movie adaptation of the X-Force was announced by 20th Century Fox, which was the studio that had the rights to the X-Men characters at the time. The movie was set to be a spin-off of the Deadpool series, with Ryan Reynolds returning as Deadpool and Josh Brolin reprising his role as Cable. The movie was being written and directed by Cabin in the Woods scribe Drew Goddard. However, the project was ultimately canned after the Fox acquisition by Disney in 2019. The X-Men characters’ rights have been integrated in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it’s uncertain if theX-Force movie will be produced or not under Marvel Studios.
1 Black Cat
Last but not least the “Black Cat” Felicity Jones spinoff was canceled after the end of Andrew Garfield’s tenure as The Amazing Spider-Man. There was never officially an announcement or a movie put into production. However, we did get to see Felicia Hardy in the second Amazing Spider-Man film where she was Harry Osborn’s assistant. Although she never adopted the Black Cat moniker, nor was involved in the main storyline in any way, her involvement was a major Easter egg for a possible threequel that never saw the light of day.