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Gargoyles Could Be The Next Great Superhero Movie (But Only If Jordan Peele Is Involved)

Animated shows from yesteryear have become as much of a treasure trove for Hollywood as the shelves of comic book shops. "Transformers" is a billion-dollar franchise. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" started as a comic, sure, but it was the animated series that consumed the planet, and from which all subsequent adaptations — including Seth Rogen's 2023 iteration — have drawn from ever since. And "ThunderCats," well ... still waiting on that one. 

Those are all 1980s cartoons, however. Now, the 1990s? That was a time where animated superheroes suddenly got a lot more serious, with shows like "Batman: The Animated Series" brandishing edgier storylines with tougher protagonists saving the day. Disney was feeling the pressure, and their response was an animated show that somehow took influence from both the Ninja Turtles and "Highlander," mixed it all together, and remains a Millennial cult favorite today. 

That series, of course, was "Gargoyles," which saw the titular band of beasties wake up in late 20th-century New York after breaking free from an ancient curse that had turned them to stone. By day, they remain rock-solid rooftop ornaments, but when night falls, the group of winged heroes led by Goliath (bearing the iconic voice of Keith David) take to the skies, right wrongs, and try to adapt to a changed world. The show ran for three seasons, and while not providing much competition for the Caped Crusader, something in it seemingly struck a chord in a would-be Oscar-winning writer and director, Jordan Peele, who eventually went to pitch his take on the characters to the show's owners.

The bad news? Disney ignored Jordan Peele's "Gargoyles" pitch. Which is wild, because not only is "Gargoyles" a potential blockbuster hit in the making, but Peele is the perfect man for the job. 

Jordan Peele's Gargoyles movie would've had a co-creator's blessing

In 2018, it was revealed that Jordan Peele pitched a reimagining of "Gargoyles" in live-action. Incredibly, this dream never became a reality, because according to the original show's co-creator, Greg Weisman, it seemed Peele was at a stalemate with the studio. 

As Weisman explained to Polygon in 2020, "My understanding — not inside information, just my understanding — is that he expressed an interest in the property. And Disney didn't say no," Weisman recalled. "But by not saying yes, that answers the question. You know, they didn't want to say no to Jordan Peele, but they also didn't want to say yes to 'Gargoyles.' So it just didn't go anywhere."

Of course, Hollywood history has shown that just because pitches aren't immediately set in stone (sorry, not sorry) it doesn't mean they won't work in the future. Even Weisman himself has expressed enthusiasm that a Gargoyles picture handled by Peele would be worth seeing, and that he'd be happy to play a part in it if he was still interested, though he wasn't sure if it was still a possibility or not. Unfortunately, we're not sure either, but let's look at why Peele is the perfect person to let these heroes spread their wings.

Jordan Peele's filmography proves he has the perfect voice for a Gargoyles movie

For those who don't know their Brooklyns from their Broadways (that is, Gargoyles who name themselves after areas in their new home), this beloved Disney series wasn't your traditional kid's TV show. 

In its effort to duel with the Dark Knight, "Gargoyles" handled shockingly serious topics from day one, with its first season even featuring an episode that tackled the subject of gun misuse. This program didn't pull its punches, and there'd be every expectation that Peele, already a creator who has tackled social themes in his films, would handle Goliath and company the same way. Considering his work on "Get Out," "Us," "Nope," — and even Nia DaCosta's "Candyman," which he produced — "Gargoyles" could do the same, expanding on the story to demonstrate that the monsters aren't the cursed ones, but instead, the true villain is the billionaire who holds sway over their very home and existence.

Frankly, Peele is so adept at weaving subtext and political statements into his films that, on a certain level, that's the easy part — whatever his angle was, he definitely has something he wants to say with "Gargoyle" as his palette. However, it's just as interesting to imagine Peele's directing talents turned to the more fantasy-oriented tropes of "Gargoyles," a far cry from his usual down-to-earth horror work. Between magic spells, Celtic battles, and legit Shakespearean references — with villains like Macbeth crossing paths with the stone guardians — this was a show where the possibilities felt limitless. There was darkness, tragedy, heroes you loved to root for, some built-in statements about class struggle that Peele would handle better than anyone else ... and visuals that would be incredible to see him put to use.

Gargoyles, in Peele's hands, could look like the best Batman movie never made

Imagine the look of a "Gargoyles" film under Peele's control: it's a match made in heaven. These self-proclaimed "defenders of the night" are perfectly suited to a filmmaker whose best visual work happens after the sun has gone down. Think of the sprinting groundsman running at Daniel Kaluuya in "Get Out," or the family on the driveway springing into action in "Us." The difference here is that this kind of unsettling imagery would be applied to our heroes, evoking the same energy as Batman, with the Gargoyles striking from the shadows to enact swift justice and looking cool as hell doing it. These would be heroes to be feared, and Peele would embrace the horror elements instead of running from them.

Applying this method could effectively repeat the tactic that Disney dared to take with the original show — one we've not seen from them, recently. It would go against the safe standard of Marvel Studios or "Star Wars" projects, by providing edgy stories with heroes that don't fit the typical mold. It'd certainly be a gamble, but with Peele at the helm, it would be worth the risk, and that's the same for any cast that joins him. And in that regard, while it's hard to match the legendary vocals of Keith David, Peele's usual crew of actors would fit great in "Gargoyles."

Jordan Peele has a perfect batch of stars from his earlier films to bring the Gargoyles to life

When you study the history of legendary actors who brought their voices to perfectly cast characters in animation, Keith David's Goliath should never be overlooked. Already unmistakable before he brought the purple-skinned protagonist to life, his legendary rasp provided the same kind of gravitas and intensity as Peter Cullen did for Optimus Prime or the late Kevin Conroy as Batman. 

As for Goliath in Peele's film? Thankfully, Peele already has a former star he worked with that would fit the bill — yes, here's where "Us" and "Black Panther" star Winston Duke should get the call. Because while Duke hasn't yet had a definitive lead role, he knows how to dominate the screen, and he'd be the ideal leader of the Gargoyles. He already effortless wins the love of the crowd in the MCU when he plays M'Baku, and has the perfect combination of range, authority, and presence to make Goliath into your new favorite big screen hero. Meanwhile, Lupita Nyong'o showed a level of unhinged and unpredictable talents in "Us" that would work wonderfully as the hero's old flame (and the Catwoman to Goliath's Batman), Demona.

Jordan Peele could shine a light on Gargoyles that's been long overdue

Not to dunk too much on Disney, but regardless of what the box office receipts might say, the tried, tested, and sometimes terrible routine of live-action remakes is reaching its limit for audiences. With "The Little Mermaid" getting a mixed critical reception and the distasteful reaction to news of the live-action "Moana" remake, it's hard to argue that Disney's classics are starting to feel tarnished by the company's obsession with remakes. 

For this reason, Peele playing around with a fairly forgotten underdog like "Gargoyles" would be a smart move, and transform this series' legacy from a forgotten favorite into a major pop culture juggernaut. With only three seasons to explore and build from (the final of which dipped dramatically in quality), "Gargoyles" gives Peele plenty of space to turn this world of flying fish-out-water heroes into one of his own makings. Like "Guardians of the Galaxy" was perfectly suited to James Gunn in all the most unexpected ways, this band of medieval misfits could be another wild card that no one asked to see, but which — under Peele's supervision — could end up being a box-office beast. 

Come on, Disney, break the curse, and do us all a favor. Let the Gargoyles live again.