How I Would Have Done The DC Universe Part 4: The Martian Manhunter
Updated: Apr 20
So we are finally in part four of my series about redoing the DC Universe. The next DC movie to come out in my world comes out later in 2015, and it is The Martian Manhunter. Okay, DC has always had a problem with this character for whatever reason. They replaced him in the Justice League with Cyborg. That in hindsight was a stupid idea because anyone who has read a comic knows Cyborg was originally a Teen Titans character. But I digress.
I will cast Harry Lemix to play J’onn J’onzz aka the Martian Manhunter, just like Zack Snyder did. In Snyder’s universe, he appeared in Man of Steel. I would not do that. I would have him start in his movie first before he meets anyone else. Lemix did a fantastic job in the Snyder cut so I would keep him.
For the cast of characters, I would use Ma’alefa’ak as the antagonist. For those that don’t know, Ma’alefa’ak is not only Martian Manhunter’s archenemy, he is also his twin brother. I would cast the amazing Giancarlo Esposito to play him. This is an actor with such versatility, and he is playing a central character to the Martian Manhunter mythos. And remember, this character is also a shapeshifter, so it would be perfect.
For J’onn’s wife, I would cast Kerry Washington. I believe she has the depth and the range to play the Martian Manhunter’s wife. For their daughter M’yri’iah, I would cast Corrine Fox, Jamie Foxx’s daughter. She is a winner of Miss Golden Globe in 2016 and would do an amazing job as this character. The other principal character I would use would be Dr. Saul Erdel, and I would cast Victor Garber.
So we have the main cast, let’s talk about the story. I would reach into the depths of J’onn’s origin story in the comics. The movie would start with Dr. Erdel in his laboratory attempting to reach Mars and something goes wrong, or perhaps right, just unintendedly. He crafts a device that somehow transports J’onn to Earth with no memory of his life. He is an alien life form and forms a friendship with Erdel. J’onn agrees to let Erdel study him in exchange for Erdel helping J’onn get his memories back. To assimilate, J’onn takes the form of a man and calls himself John Jones. Erdel “hires” him as his lab assistant.
As time goes by, J’onn has flashbacks, mainly nightmares, of his time on Mars. There is war, death, and destruction. He remembers his wife and his child and has pleasant dreams about them, which turn into nightmares. Back in the present, Erdel asks J’onn if he remembers anything else about Mars and if there is current life on it. To this, J’onn sadly replies that there are none left alive. He finally has a breakthrough where he remembers the war that destroyed Mars. It was the White Martians who instigated a battle to destroy the Green and Yellow Martians. In one of the deadliest battles in the universe’s history, the White Martians unleashed a virus that wiped out the entire Martian race. But the White Martians soon learned a hard lesson as their enemies had a virus prepared for them, wiping them out too. J’onn escaped Mars when Erdel transported him out.
The climax of the story gets warm when something from the sky kills Erdel and J’onn takes his form to cover his death. In this aspect, we have two actors playing the Martian Manhunter. While this is happening, a being appears out of nowhere and claims he is J’onn’s twin brother. They experience a shared memory, and J’onn sees both of them as children. As this happens, a seed of doubt creeps into J’onn’s mind. An explosion destroys Dr. Erdel’s laboratory and kills multiple people. J’onn feels guilt for all this, and his brother tells him they need to unite against humanity. J’onn’s guilt is overwhelming, and only a reminder from Erdel can convince him otherwise. J’onn asks his brother more questions about Mars, and notices he keeps evading presenting a genuine answer. At that point, his brother attacks J’onn and soon reveals his true identity; Ma’alefa’ak. He reveals to J’onn that while they were brothers; he was not born with telepathy. It burned him on the inside and he resented J’onn and every Green Martian. So he teamed up with a group of White Martians and engineered a genetic virus that killed every Green Martian through fire any time they used telepathy. What he did not expect was a counter virus coming back at White Martians, which also affected him. The counter virus left him weak and alone on Mars and the last true Martian. Then he discovered J’onn was alive and followed him to Earth. Now, Ma’alefa’ak prepared to finish what he started and truly become the last Martian.
This results in an epic clash between the two brothers, and they fight over several cities across the world. The fight is so catastrophic that many catch it on camera for the world to see. Ma’alefa’ak attempts to use fire against J’onn but J’onn reverses the maneuver and uses his telepathy to grant Ma’alefa’ak the same powers, and thus the same weaknesses. In the battle, Ma’alefa’ak dies and J’onn once more becomes the last son of Mars.
The movie ends with J’onn introducing himself to the world and explaining his story and dedicating a memorial in honor of Dr. Erdel. This is where there is a scene with the military that is tense and J’onn agrees to work with them, but not for them. The very last scene of the movie is J’onn meeting a reporter named Clark Kent and discovering that Superman would like to meet him. The thought makes him smile.