The fact that we'll possibly get a white Nick Fury for the alt-MCU is kinda wild, since all I really knew from the character was Samuel L. Jackson's portrayal of him, so that has galvanized how I see the character.

Fantastic Four was confirmed to come out soon after Spider-Man.

As for Captain America, could the film be directed by Steven Spielberg? I'd like to see how he would've approached the character and the WWII setting since he did it amazingly with Saving Private Ryan. Regardless, it would be an easy blockbuster, that's for sure.
 
As for Captain America, could the film be directed by Steven Spielberg? I'd like to see how he would've approached the character and the WWII setting since he did it amazingly with Saving Private Ryan. Regardless, it would be an easy blockbuster, that's for sure.
My casting choice for Cap himself is Casper Van Dien.
 
One tip about the eventual Lone Ranger movie: don't have the creator sue Clayton Moore, as Jack Wrather learned the hard way (and which pissed off the core fanbase before the movie had begun shooting--there were other reasons Legend of the Lone Ranger failed, but angering the intended fanbase for the movie even before filming had begun was a very bad idea)...
 
One tip about the eventual Lone Ranger movie: don't have the creator sue Clayton Moore, as Jack Wrather learned the hard way (and which pissed off the core fanbase before the movie had begun shooting--there were other reasons Legend of the Lone Ranger failed, but angering the intended fanbase for the movie even before filming had begun was a very bad idea)...
They should instead give him a cameo.
 
My casting choice for Cap himself is Casper Van Dien.
Casper Van Dien looks fit in CA suit. But who do you want him to play in  MCU?: marvelstudios

I can see it.
 
Speaking of Batman and Bruce Campbell...


Chapter 7: I’m Bat-Shemp!
Excerpt from All You Need is a Chin: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell


With the end of the short but glorious run of Buck Rogers, it was back to B-Movies and Bat-Shemping for me.

Try to contain your excitement.

My contract with Disney ended right about the same time that Sam and Lisa’s marriage did. Is that irony? I forget. I’ll ask Alanis Morrissette. But anyway, I was back with Sam in time to Bat-Shemp during the post-production of Batman 2. Or as the pedantic fanboys never tire of telling me, Batman: Rise of the Dark Knight, as it’s formally known. He had all the same actors: Willem Dafoe returned as Bats. Kevin Kline was back as Harvey Dent, having had his face acid-bathed by Robin Williams’ Joker in the first film. Sean Young was back as love interest Silver St. Cloud, Ian Abercrombie back as Alfred Pennyworth, and Pat Hingle back as Commissioner Gordon. But now he had Brandon Lee as the smart but athletic Dick Grayson, who Alfred hires as Bruce Wayne’s personal assistant. Naturally, Dick discovers the Bat Cave and gets recruited as Batman’s new sidekick, which Sam named Night Wing, because, let’s face it, Robin was box office poison in 1991. It’d take a serious rehab through the Teen Titans cartoon before any studio would dare bring the Boy Wonder back in America.

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Not this at all…

Sam also brought in the seductive Uma Thurman as Cat Woman/Selena Kyle. Uma had just made a name for herself as Zenobia in Conan the Conqueror. I’d tried to get Sam to take Jen Tilley, but no luck. Still, though, it’s hard to argue with Uma. She’s like an actual living Valkyrie! And boy did she bring Catwoman to life.

But you knew all that. What you may not have known is that Sam doubled-down on the themes of duality from the first film. You had Bruce Wayne’s day job leading the philanthropy with faithful Silver St. Cloud as his love, and Batman’s night job with the mysterious and seductive Catwoman as temptation. You had the ongoing Batman themes of vengeance vs. justice and all that, with Catty representing the former and Silver representing the latter.

And then you had the villains, who took this whole duality thing to new and literal levels. The new False Face gang, led by the mysterious Black Mask[1], is the initial threat, filling in the crime vacuum left by the defeat of the Clownz in the prior film. Of course, the Black Mask is really this Roman Sionis guy we keep meeting, whose Janus Cosmetics (geddit? Named for the two-faced Roman god?) just got bailed out by Bruce Wayne, but which cost Sionis his job as CEO, leading him to seek power through crime. He’s also batshit insane and his gang likes to cut the skin from people’s faces as a warning, which the T rating wouldn’t let us show happening, so we had to, like, hint at it. Even so, the moral guardians freaked out seeing as how WB was selling Batman toys and Happy Meals to kids[2].

As an aside, I lobbied hard to play Sionis, but the studio went with Nicolas Cage, which made production…interesting to say the least. Nic and I had some long talks about comic books, at least when I could get him out of character long enough to talk about anything.

And, needless to say, Sionis is just the tip of the crime iceberg as it were (Crimeberg? Sounds like the title of my next film, knowing my luck), because behind it all is none other than former mayor Harvey Dent, now the mysterious underworld figure known as Two Face, who we last saw getting said acid bath from the Joker in the prior film.

And yea, I just spoiled the whole plot of the movie. But why are you reading my book if you haven’t seen my films? You have no one to blame but yourself, pal.

But anyway, now that he was a Big Time Director, Sam had to think about that type of stuff with themes and the like. We never worried too much about themes and the like when we did Evil Dead or Friday the 13th 5. Or at least I didn’t. And even Sam, living high in his lofty Big Hollywood ivory tower, was getting nostalgic for the ol’ “Ham & Cheese”. He’d produced The Dead Next Door (starring yours truly) and Lunatics: A Love Story (starring Ted), and was debating getting into TV, but he was a “big studio guy” now and doing schlock, at least back in ’91, was cutting your own throat.

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“Welcome, Hollywood A-Listers, to the place where anybody can be, or even receive, a Real Hack! Ehehehehehee!!!” (Image source “thehollywoodreporter.com”)

But thankfully, HBO had developed a loophole: Tales from the Crypt. It was strange. This little, R-rated, bloody TV anthology series was managing to attract big Hollywood names to act or direct. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael J. Fox, Tom Hanks, or Whoopie Goldberg could all appear in the series and still get invited to sit up front at the Oscars. It was uncanny.

So, naturally, Sam approached them and directed “The Necronomicon”, a sort of pseudo-sequel to The Evil Dead where Ash gets a package in the mail, and go figure it’s the Necronomicon. In his clumsy attempts to destroy the accursed thing he becomes possessed, as does everything in the lodge around him. There’s no real plot, just excuses for dumb Ash to be comedically abused by the spirits of the evil dead. He (by which, I mean I) ultimately cut off his/my own possessed hand in a shower of blood. He eventually gets sucked into a portal through time to a Medieval world. We used enough red dyed corn syrup to end hunger in Somalia. And we put in as much over the top twisted humor as we could. Even the deer trophy had a good laugh about it all.

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“Come right in, deer. You’ll die laughing…eheheheheheheheheeee!” (Image sources “whatculture.com” and “weminoredinfilm.com”)

So, the producers of Crypt loved it and it got good numbers and viewer buzz for its mix of slapstick comedy and horror. In fact, they wanted to do a movie. It was sort of this thing at the time where the producers wanted to do Tales from the Crypt movie releases. Their first release would be Death Becomes Her directed by Paul Verhoeven with Meryl Streep, Goldie Hahn, and Rick Moranis[3]. It became famous for its cutting-edge special effects and even won an Oscar for them. My now-wife Ida worked on the costuming with Cheryl Henson. Their costumes became legendary.

We were asked to do the second film. Given that Ash is flung into the past at the end of “The Necronomicon” that film became Medieval Dead, which Sam wanted to be a salute to the old Ray Harryhausen films of the past. Sam was busy directing Thinner and was on the hook to produce Batman 3, so his brother Ted decided to take up the director’s chair. Ted had done some second unit stuff on The Running Man and the Batman films, so he felt up to the task. I returned as Ash. We decided to take the bloody slapstick that we did with “The Necronomicon” and dial it to 11.

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Basically this, but under the Tales from the Crypt label

Tales from the Crypt: Medieval Dead, was just as batshit to work on as it is to watch. Tim Burton’s Skeleton Crew helped with not just the old school Harryhausen effects, but with the costuming, so I got to work with Ida again. I played not just Ash, but the Deadite-possessed “Bad Ash”. The action reached full blown Three Stooges levels of slapstick, if the Stooges had ever done a slasher. Sam and Ted squeezed in so many cheesy one-liners for the fans to endlessly quote that Schwarzenegger would have been embarrassed to say them all. If “The Necronomicon” could have fed Somalia with the red-dyed corn syrup, this film could have rotted the teeth of the entire population of China, including Hong Kong. We had fountains of it. That’s not an exaggeration. I’m talking Old Faithful here.

To make matters weirder, two of the extras made up as Deadites were caught “boning” on the set[4] between takes. Hollywood-style necrophilia? Everyone’s got their kink, I guess.

To this day fans ask me if Medieval Dead would be considered a “Smart Slasher” or not. My official answer is “shut the hell up and get out of here!”

Anyway, between the surprising success of Death Becomes Her and the honorable showing of Medieval Dead, which more than doubled its piddling budget in returns, Tales from the Crypt’s film franchise was cemented as a “thing” in the ‘90s. They did Devil’s Knight (another supernatural medieval thing) and Bloody Bordello (set in London, of course) next, followed eventually by Quentin Tarantino’s and Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk ‘till Dawn and Peter Jackson's The Frighteners.

I like to think that I had a hand in that success.

Get it? Hand? Because I cut off my…never mind. Even the Crypt Keeper wouldn’t touch that pun.

But Sam had bigger fish to fry. Dino de Laurentiis had approached him back on the set of The Running Man to direct a version of Stephen King’s Thinner, which he did in partnership with As You Wish after Dino had to sell off his own studio to ABC. It was released through Fantasia by his soon-to-be-ex-father-in-law Jim Henson in ‘91. He found actor Larry Drake to play the lead Billy Halleck, who through a combination of some personal weight loss and some creepy-convincing prosthetics from the Chiodo Brothers over at Skeleton Crew, managed to play the asshole lawyer who gets his comeuppance. I fought to play one of the judges. I got to play the carnie Biff Quigley.

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This directed by Sam Raimi

In addition to directing Thinner and pre-production on Batman 3, Sam even imposed himself into the production of Man of Steel, the new Warner Brothers Superman film, rebooting the stagnant franchise. He wrote up a treatment and later he and Ted cranked out a screenplay. Sam wanted to direct, but Warner wanted a more “sentimental” take for Sups, so they brought in Ron Howard.

Sam was disappointed. “What, do they really think I’d make Superman into some sort of black clad killer who breaks people’s necks or something? Who do they take me for?”

“Come on, Sam,” I told him, “You can’t hog the whole damned DC to yourself.”

“The last words to pass through my dying lips will be ‘Justice League,’” Sam replied with as much melodrama as he could squeeze in.

And yet with Batman 3 in production and set for release in ’93, he had plenty to keep him busy.

As for me, well, if nothing else I could always look forward to Bat-Shemping.

Or the long-awaited debut of Crimeberg.



[1] Two Face Fedora tip to @Plateosaurus.

[2] In our timeline a similar “scandal” surrounded Batman Returns, whose dark and violent themes and scenes clashed hard with the Happy Meals and toys they were pushing as “product integration.” The ensuing outrage helped fuel the campy, “toyetic” turn under Joel Schumacher.

[3] In our timeline when at the time top tier director Robert Zemeckis took an interest, they decided to drop the Tales from the Crypt label. Butterflies sent Bruce Willis elsewhere in this timeline.

[4] According to our timeline’s If Chins Could Kill, this happened on the set of Army of Darkness. Too weird to butterfly!
May I ask who were the writers, producers, editors and cinematographers for Batman 2?
 
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Being Green
Chapter 6: The Next Summit
Excerpt from The Visionary and the Vizier, Jim Henson and Frank Wells at Disney, by Derek N. Dedominos, MBA.


In 1986 Jim Henson and Frank Wells convinced Ron Miller to greenlight a series of environmentalist PSAs in partnership with The Ad Council and various environmental charities, the most famous being the Kermit and Elton John one about global warming and preserving the everglades. The PSAs became well remembered, but caused a minor stir within Disney’s Board of Directors. Not every “Knight” of the Round Table was on board.

Associate Director Sid Bass and his board representative Charles Cobb were increasingly perturbed about some of the conclusions being pushed in some of the PSAs, most notably about moving away from fossil fuels, given that coal and petroleum remained the bedrock of the Bass Brothers corporation. Associate Directors Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Apple’s John Sculley (who replaced Steve Jobs as Apple’s representative) supported the PSAs. The Marriotts remained blasé about the ads and had even considered investing in solar panels for their hotels before the cost-benefit analysis of them showed no net benefit until the cost and kilowatt per square foot improved significantly. Dianne Disney-Miller, Ron Miller, and Roy Disney, meanwhile, were on the fence about it all. They were Reagan Republicans, and shared the former president’s skepticism on environmental issues, but all remembered that Walt was himself a conservationist and in favor of reducing pollution and preserving the natural world. Had not Roy himself been tasked with producing The Vanishing Prairie? Roy asked himself the old question of “what would Walt do?” and decided to support the PSAs, even producing A Wish for the Whales and other shorts. Ron Miller, however, began to caution Jim and Roy about antagonizing Sid Bass, who was one of their largest outside investors and who had come to the rescue just a few years earlier.

For Frank Wells, however, the situation presented an opportunity to push some thoughts of his own into the conversation. As a pro-technology, pro-capitalist “Atari Democrat” by inclination, Wells saw the old “Ecology vs. Economy” debate as a fundamentally flawed false dichotomy. Rather than reject modern technology or capitalism for the sake of the environment, Wells saw technology and capitalism as tools that could be invoked in order to save the environment. Wells pushed for and got greenlit the first annual Disney Green Technologies Summit at the new WDW Conference Center next to the Contemporary and Fair Seas Resorts. The conference would examine the state of the art and future of renewable and sustainable technologies, in particular power, transportation, recycling, and HVAC, with an emphasis on developing economic, educational, and regulatory pathways to support their development and implementation.

Wells had discovered his new summit to climb: The Earth itself.

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(Image source “greentechmedia.com”)

The Green Technologies Summit ran for a week in May of 1991 and brought together industry, the tech sector, economists on both the left and right, politicians, regulators, technocrats, celebrities, activists, faith leaders, and artists, all with the stated goal of developing a path forward that was sustainable for both the environment and the economy. Environmental Economist Robert Ayers would be the keynote speaker, presenting his theories on industrial ecology. Other speakers included Robin Williams, musician and activist Bono, GE’s Jack Welsh, investor Warren Buffett, Senator Al Gore of Tennessee, Carl Sagan, Jacques Cousteau, Sir David Attenborough, and even Fred Rogers. Painter Bob Ross, who lived in Orlando, even made an appearance, filming an episode of The Joy of Painting on the site[1].

Jim Henson and Kermit would inaugurate the conference, presenting a new animated short of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax starring Danny DeVito as the titular Lorax, Jim Cummings as the Onceler, and Thurl Ravenscroft as the narrator. They also presented a pre-recorded speech by “Dr. Seuss” himself, Theodore Geisel, who would succumb to cancer later that year. It was a speech that would be played regularly at environmental conferences and fundraisers, a “last call” to protect the Earth and its ecosystems from “a great American”. Frank Wells then took the podium and relayed, among other things, the forgotten “second” lesson of The Lorax: that a business that doesn’t think in terms of sustainability soon drives itself under as well. He compared it to the lessons of overfishing, deforestation, depleted soil, and (soon enough) depleted fossil fuel reserves. “Peak oil will be here soon enough,” he said (he would be proven wrong on this hypothesis, but nonetheless the point struck at the time). He concluded in saying that business interests didn’t just have a duty to the environment for its own sake, but a duty to their shareholders to resist the siren’s call of short-term exploitation in favor of long-term sustainable growth.

In addition to the speeches and presentation and booths, the Summit included tours of Walt Disney World’s own eco-friendly, sustainable development such as the measures to collect and clean runoff (with a focus on the tax advantages of preserving “Kermit’s Swamp”, a.k.a. Reedy Creek) and, most popularly, the cogeneration plant and renewable energy farm. Monitors placed around the conference center showed in real time the electrical and thermal power and energy produced, the estimated pollutant and carbon produced, the real-world financial cost, and simulated pollutant and carbon totals and cost from standard coal and gas plants with a running average of all of these. The results demonstrated in real time the environmental and economic benefits and at the end they extrapolated the 5, 10, 15, and 25-year costs (considering tax benefits and incentives and technology development predictions) to show how the development could hypothetically pay for itself, as well as a list of hypothetical additional government and regulatory incentives that could be used to shorten the “payback” date even further.

Frank Wells called it “the art of the possible”.

The yearly summit would serve as a focus for the emerging “Green Technology” field and help drive private and public interest and support for green technology development and implementation. Later green tech leaders would cite the conferences as “a great inspiration” for them. The increased short-term revenue of the conferences as the guests and their families filled up the hotels made the board happy as well. Wells even convinced Sid Bass to invest in some of the green energy startups that presented at the conference. “Why not catch the green tide early?” he asked Sid.

But the most fateful thing to emerge from the conference, at least in the short-term, was that Frank Wells would meet Senator Al Gore[2]. Gore was one of the leading names in the Atari Democrats, a moderate senator from a southern state. The two would hit it off almost immediately and Frank saw in the young and motivated Senator a powerful new ally. He did his best to woo Senator Gore and his family with dinners with Jim Henson and Robin Williams and long discussions over cognac on the regulatory and legislative pathways to achieving a “zero impact” economy. Furthermore, Wells saw in Gore the next President of the United States. Gore had long been on everyone’s short list to run for president after coming in third behind Gary Hart and Jesse Jackson in the ’88 Democratic primary. Gore was disinterested in running in 1992, however, given that at the time incumbent George H. W. Bush was exceedingly popular with the electorate following the nearly bloodless Iraq War.

But Wells cited the economy. The recession that began in the late ‘80s dragged on with little end in sight. Bush, despite his famous campaign pledge in 1988 of “Read my lips: no new taxes” had pragmatically agreed to a modest tax raise in the 1990 budget. Already Pat Buchanan was threatening a primary challenge, using the “broken promise” as a blunt weapon against him. It was a potential Achilles’ heel for the President, and a way in for Gore. Wells agreed to support any Gore campaign financially and materially. “Besides,” Wells promised, “If nothing else it’ll be a great pulpit from which to preach the green economy.”

Gore remained reticent, but eventually, after long talks with his family, relented and threw his hat into the ring. Frank Wells cut him his first campaign contribution check.



[1] Three of the Four Horsemen of Wholesomeness on hand! Stay tuned to see if I can get the fourth, Steve Irwin, on board at some point. Hat tip to @nick_crenshaw82, @TheFaultsofAlts, @Plateosaurus, and @GrahamB, the Four Horsemen of that discussion!

[2] I have no idea if they met in our timeline or not, but I assume that they did at some point since Wells was a Bill Clinton supporter in our timeline.
 
Interesting. Given how Wells now sees the Earth as his “next mountain” to climb, I wonder if he might let off on pushing for a movie studio park and instead focus on an Animal Kingdom park first.

It’s not for a few years yet, but Princess Mononoke would fit fairly well with Disney’s message. On the one hand, it emphasizes protecting nature, but it also presents Lady Eboshi as someone who is using industrialization to give women and lepers opportunities they wouldn’t get otherwise.

Very curious to see what happens with Steve Irwin; I loved watching some of his animal adventures.
 
He's going to be in his 80s by the time any Disney Lone Ranger film starts, and probably in poor health (he died at the end of 1999 IOTL). A cameo might be possible, but it might not be, either.
True, but with no stress from a lawsuit he may be in better health. Plus depending on when the movie comes out he could be in his late 70s, and it doesn't have to be a big cameo.
 
"...first annual Disney Green Technologies Summit" - awesome. Exactly what a Big Corp should be doing. Dig the logo too.

Good for you finding a new Mountain to climb Mr. Wells- its a big one!

I certainly hope Sid Bass sees those investments pay off- perhaps he can be convinced there is money to be made in environmentalism after all.

Wells pushing Gore into a 1992 run? Well butterflies gotta flap!

Nice chapter.
 
Frank Wells then took the podium and relayed, among other things, the forgotten “second” lesson of The Lorax: that a business that doesn’t think in terms of sustainability soon drives itself under as well.
Makes you wish this lesson was better learned, doesn't it? Examples from history, in any industry or market segment, are manifest.
 
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