Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg almost made a Marvel movie


  • Mort the dead teenager,
    a Marvel character who is not a superhero almost became a film in the late 1990s with the participation of Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino.
  • Despite a star team and a finished script, the film never came to fruition, and
    Mort, the dead teenager
    r remains a unique, unproduced Marvel character.
  • The loss of this potential film is more due to the talent behind the camera than to the character himself, who is virtually non-existent in the modern Marvel universe.

Marvel has proven with its cinematic universe that a character's popularity doesn't matter. If the story and concept are good, and the creative team behind it is talented enough, a good film can turn C-list celebrities into household names. Superior filmmakers have helped immortality come to characters like Iron Man, Hawkeye, Thanos, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The MCU is still creating new headliners like Shang-Chi and Ironheart, but that movement was almost led by a much stranger choice. In the late '90s, there were talks of producing a film based on the Marvel Comics character Mort the Dead Teenager. The filmmakers interested in bringing this project to life were none other than legends of the medium Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino.

The writing pair worked in the late 1990s and early 2000s to bring this surprising choice to cinemas around the world. Mort, the dead teenager would even have the ever-popular Spider-Man in theaters. A script for the film was supposedly finished, and both a director and public casting announcements appeared in the news for several years. Despite all this, Mort, the dead teenager, would never make his big screen debut. Even after 20 years of unexpected interest, the character has never led a project, making it one of the most interesting what-ifs in Marvel history.

Meet Marvel's Mort, the dead teenager

Mort, the dead teenager is by far not the most prolific story or main character in Marvel Comics history. The publication of the short series began in December 1993led by writer Larry Hanna and underground cartoonist Gary Hallgren, was completed in just four issues. Hanna conceived the story as an intentionally non-superheroic Marvel story that could feature lesser-known tropes and a more teen-oriented focus.

Mort, the dead teenagerThe down-to-earth nature enabled lower production costs someone who would create or adapt works based on it. Hanna admitted that the idea was initially a short elevator pitch designed to achieve these benchmarks, but that the company's executives ultimately seemed enthusiastic. In fact, even Marvel godfather Stan Lee himself seemed to appreciate the concept; Hanna admitted that Mort, the dead teenagerr was one of only two Marvel projects for which Lee had praised him.


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The main characters of the comic's short story Mort, a recently deceased teenager who cannot leave Earth because Hell is full and heaven is closed for repairs. Because of this, Mort is forced to haunt the world of the living and watch how those around him react to his death and eventually return through the machinations of Teen Death. It's more Archie as avengerthat's for sure, but the story had an undeniable charm. Mort, the dead teenager.

It also contained a complete story within its short runtime, so it could easily be transferred from the comic page to the reel if anyone was interested. As it turned out, there were a number of important, high-profile parties who quickly expressed interest in adapting the comic. The most prolific and progressive of these parties were the generation-defining duo of Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino.

Mort The Dead Teenager had a short production life



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Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg teamed up with equally legendary creator Robert Zemeckis in the late '90s to buy the film rights from Marvel. The duo quickly assembled a star team behind the camera bring Mort, the dead teenager to the screen. Quentin Tarantino (fresh from the success of Kill Bill) teamed up with Lawrence Bender as executive producer through A Band Apart Productions. Immortal pop culture icon Madonna was also set to be involved, with her production company Maverick Films serving as co-producer. Even collaborators were set to be cast: Too Smooth's Dean Paraskevopoulos took the director's chair and Jim Cooper is said to have written a screenplay for the film.

Somehow, Marvel's non-superhero story had assembled a superstar-filled crew of Hollywood A-listers who seemed excited to bring it to life. This wouldn't be a shocking turn of events by today's standards, but look back, Mort, the dead teenagerThe production of seems to be anything but a likely story.

The surprising timing and short development of Mort, the dead teenager is an outlierLooking back, Marvel was still a decade away from launching the Marvel Cinematic Universe and still had a few years to go before its breakout success in the early 2000s with licensed films like X-Men and Spider-Man. Mort, the dead teenager It seemed like an unexpected move that someone as prestigious as Spielberg would be interested in the rights to the comic.

Spielberg presented the cinema-goers with Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan; everything that Marvel had brought to the screen at that time was blade And Howard the Duck. While the former is admittedly a cult classic and the latter a bit more notorious, neither was a major critical or financial success. Unfortunately, despite the promise Mort, the dead teenagerThe creative team of brought with them their impeccable lineage did not lead to impeccable productionIn fact, one can hardly say that the project was actively produced at all.

The teen film “Mort the Dead” fell into disrepair


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Mort, the dead teenager was a project that was quite lively in the late 90s and early 00s. Rumor sites speculated that Lord of the rings Star Elijah Wood and actress Dominique Swain would star in the film, likely as Mort and his love interest Kimberly Dimenmein. However, the film's only official casting apparently took place in September 2003, when pop star Jessica Simpson signed on as the unnamed female lead. But beyond that, Nothing more would be officially announced about the film, no more rumors would circulate in the press and the project would quietly come to an end. For one reason or another, an A-list adaptation of a surprise D-list Marvel star never happened. Shortly after the last official news, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies took off and the X-Men series proved to be a hit. The criteria for a good Marvel movie were quickly redefined, and Mort no longer met those criteria.

There was never a clear reason for the failure of Spielberg’s Mort, the dead teenager film. The script was finished and the director was on board, but it is unknown if filming had begun or if casting had even been completed. In 2000, Artisan Entertainment partnered with Marvel to create up to 15 adaptations of its various characters. Mort, the dead teenager, was one of the deal's key acquisitions, along with Deadpool, Captain America, and even Morbius. However, this deal likely had no impact on Spielberg's project. If anything, the opposite is likely true, as Spielberg's film rights would entitle any Artisan adaptation of Mort, the dead teenager be limited to television or direct-to-video. It's possible that the script simply didn't meet the standards of the film, or that the intended aesthetic would be too costly. Whatever it was, it kept the most unusual Marvel adaptation to date in its grave.

The loss of Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino Mort, the dead teenager The film feels like a tragedy, but not for the most likely reasons. Often the loss of a potential film is so shameful because what is put on the screen has so much potential. In this case The appeal was more about who would work behind the camera. The talent that came together to make Mort the Dead Teenager seem too bombastic to be true, and that's ultimately what happened. Spielberg and Tarantino still haven't collaborated in any meaningful way, and Madonna is certainly no longer a movie major in the 2020s.

Mort, the dead teenager, similarly feels like a character who won't get another chance like this. While the character has a small, loyal fanbase and is still considered part of the larger Marvel Universe, he lacks any meaningful presence or compatibility with it. This likely excludes Mort from future adaptations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And unless Marvel starts licensing its smaller characters to extremely dedicated directors, there's no chance that will change. For better or worse, Mort, the dead teenager, is a name that will probably remain buried in the graveyard of unproduced Marvel films for a very, very long time.