Warner Bros. has many films, 15 at last count, in development for the DC Extended Universe. However, the movie that has been picking up a lot of steam this month is Michael Bay’s Lobo. The idea of a Lobo film has long been in minds of Warner Bros. executives dating back to 2009, when Guy Ritchie was attached to project. After Ritchie backed out of the project, Lobo idled in development hell until 2016, when Wonder Woman screenwriter Jason Fuchs was tasked with writing the script.
While many fans are eagerly waiting for more detail on the project the current Hollywood landscape couldn’t be any worse for The Main Man. With the help of the Me Too movement, Hollywood is having a changeover rate, akin to Transformers: Age of Extinction, due to sexual assault and harassment violations. This is a jarring contrast of Lobo’s personality, who once ripped off Starfire’s top, against her will, as a form of “payment.” Lobo is a great character, but his social skills are rudimentary, and being DC’s leading misogynist will bring some unneeded heat to the company.
DC has two choices going forward with this film creating a Lobo movie honoring the character, warts and all, or creating a watered-down version to avoid conflict. It appears Jason Fuchs’ script is based off the pre-New 52 Lobo, as seen from his Instagram account. Though just because he is bringing The Main Man to the big screen doesn’t necessarily mean we will see him in full glory. DC should take into consideration the devotion of his fanbase and history of shutting down an inferior version of the character. The New 52 will live in infamy, for a multitude of reasons, but a reimagined version of Lobo may have been the poorest received character in the initiative. The character lasted around 13 issues in his own series before being canceled due to low sales and poor reception, bringing much joy to diehard Lobo fans.
Given that DC had a major hit in the empowering film Wonder Woman last year the company will look to not derail the one well-received film in their arsenal. Jason Fuchs finds himself in a weird situation scripting both Wonder Woman and Lobo. Fuchs added the integrity Wonder Woman deserves and should repeat the same feat for the vastly different Lobo. If DC sticks to the character’s integrity this should help their box office numbers as the fans are the ones who will, actually, be sitting in the theater come release. However, as previously mentioned, Lobo’s well-known personality quirks may bring protesters who believe that he represents the opposite of what movements like Me Too are trying to accomplish. DC may already be bracing for the rough road ahead as Bay, a well-known director of high budget films, is requesting to lower the original estimated budget of $200 million.
Additional information on this project continues to be under wraps but the clearest blueprint for Lobo to be successful is Fox’s Deadpool. For a successful Lobo portrayal, the film rating would have to be rated R to match Lobo’s violence and language. In all honesty, the driving factor behind the films sudden production pickup is likely due to DC looking at how successful Deadpool performed at the box office and they look to repeat that success. There are certainly several similarities between both characters as they are essentially parodying different subjects in the superhero culture. Given that Lobo is the lovechild of Wolverine and Punisher, expect Lobo to be a grittier version of Deadpool. There will likely be some fourth wall breaking though Lobo does not use it in excess the way Deadpool does.
Lobo has always been a character that stands out due to his uniqueness and the silver screen adaptation should be no difference. Though the details of the film are kept secret the biggest vote of confidence should be Jason Fuchs writing the script for Lobo. Fuchs penned Wonder Woman, the lone well-received work in the DCEU, focusing on the character’s endearing qualities while also honoring the comics. Going into the film Warner Bros. and Bay seem to be hedging their bets on the film by lowering the original budget of $200 million foreseeing modest box office results. However, films do not necessarily need a huge budget to produce quality.
A great example of a movie having a modest budget while producing a great product is Deadpool, which had a budget of $58 million. Deadpool likely fast-tracked Lobo’s production schedule with DC looking to have their own spoof character sweep up at the box office. Looking forward to Lobo’s production it is important to note possible kickback the project might receive making it a PR nightmare. Warner Bros. has painted themselves into a corner where any outcome of the film will likely have a will have a group outside their HQ. Although there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?