The Silver Surfer is one of the most beloved characters in the Marvel universe, having endeared himself to comic book fans through his tragic backstory and later heroic endeavors. With this in mind, it’s kind of surprising that the character has only been seen on the big screen once in his nearly 50-year history. Though if director Adam McKay had his way, the Surfer would have his own solo film, and the director has keen thoughts on why such a movie would be a great idea.
Adam McKay, known for his work on films like Anchorman, Step Brothers and The Big Short, expressed interest in working with Marvel Studios on a Silver Surfer movie, after serving as a co-writer on 2015’s Ant-Man. While McKay was passionate about the proposed movie, nothing ever materialized and, when he was recently asked his thoughts on the project, he provided some insight into why it did not come to be:
Silver Surfer was tricky. There was something about it, because we did look into it. I think it's connected to the Fantastic Four and because of that, kind of lives under its own umbrella. But there was something that got in the way of it because we did look into it a couple of years ago, but I could be wrong. I could be misremembering, but there was some reason it didn't happen or someone else was already working on it. But no, I was definitely into it because that would be a very easy one.
So it sounds like Adam McKay did indeed take steps to develop the film but, as is the case in Hollywood, the pieces just couldn’t come together for it to take off. Still, the director has plenty of interest in the project. As McKay explained on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Marvel stories can serve as allegories to relevant topics in our own society, and he thinks the Silver Surfer, through his origin story, can tackle one subject in particular:
If you look at Galactus and you look at the origin story of the Silver Surfer, how he sacrificed himself for his home planet. Norrin Radd, was that his name? I haven't thought that name in a long time. That would be a very easy one to make it an environmental allegory. I think that could be an incredible movie, and I think it could be visually the most stunning Marvel movie that's ever been made. I haven't lost interest in that. In fact, now that you mention it, maybe I'll lob a phone call and see what's going on.
When you think about it, Silver Surfer really does fit the mold of an environmental story. As the herald of Galactus, he’s meant to examine the state of a planet, before its consumption by his master, so there is room for a bit of commentary.
Whether or not Silver Surfer finds his way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point remains to be seen. But there is potential for him, especially since Marvel is currently developing a Fantastic Four film. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige previously expressed a willingness to meet with McKay about the Silver Surfer, so maybe the director could eventually find his way back to the MCU after all. Only time will tell but, when it comes to Marvel, just about anything is possible at this point.