Back in the 1990s, long before the MCU existed, the screen rights to Marvel’s many characters were dealt out to various studios, with several movies in development at the time that never got made and several that soon eventually did (Blade, X-Men, Spider-Man). One unrealized Marvel movie from the 1990s was 20th Century Fox’s Silver Surfer, which was to have been directed by Aussie filmmaker Geoffrey Wright (1992’s Romper Stomper). Now, a storyboard artist who worked on the project has revealed some artwork from the film — and revealed the two actors who were reportedly up for the lead roles.In a series of revealing tweets (via THR), artist Gabriel Hardman revealed storyboards for a series of movies he worked on that never got made, including 1997’s Silver Surfer. Hardman said Wright “wanted Ewan McGregor as Surfer and Steven Berkoff as Galactus.” You can see his storyboards in the tweet below
In 1997, McGregor was coming off the success of indie films like Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, and Emma and was still a few years away from joining the Star Wars franchise as young Obi-Wan Kenobi. Berkoff, meanwhile, is a veteran stage and screen actor and playwright who played the villain in Octopussy, Rambo: First Blood Part II, and Beverly Hills Cop.
Back when studios still deemed comic book movies a risky prospect and visual effects were prohibitively expensive, Hardman revealed that “Surfer spent most of the movie as a human because vfx would have been too costly then.”
While the Silver Surfer movie obviously never got made, the character did make his feature film debut in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (portrayed by Doug Jones and voiced by Laurence Fishburne). McGregor, meanwhile, went on to play the villain Black Mask in this year’s Birds of Prey.