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DC Studios, Stop Ignoring Milestone And Greenlight A Static Shock Movie Already

Hey, DC fans, do you remember Static? As in the titular Bang Baby from the early-2000s animated series "Static Shock?" Of course, you do. But DC Studios apparently doesn't. Created by Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, Derek T. Dingle, and Christopher Priest, Static Shock debuted almost 30 years ago in DC's independently owned imprint, Milestone Comics. In 2021, Static Shock returned with a revamped origin story reboot — incorporating tales from his previous comics and television series. Virgil Hawkins sometimes cameos in DC's animated productions like the "Young Justice" series. However, he's yet to transition into live-action media — a feat many of his peers have accomplished several times.

Static's absence can't be blamed on a lack of fan interest: All it takes is a quick Google search to see how many people want to see him get another chance in the spotlight. In all fairness, DC seems to understand this on some level. At 2020's DC Fandome, a "Static Shock" animated feature film was announced with Phil LaMarr returning to voice Virgil. Well, that was three years ago! Precious little else has come from that exciting news. If DC can't even get its act together to bring Static back to animation, how can we hope for a live-action blockbuster iteration within James Gunn and Peter Safran's new DCU? Virgil would be perfect for Gunn and Safran's cinematic direction — filling a niche that live-action DC films have yet to perfect.

Static's strongest super power is his relatability

For those who don't know the electric hero already, Virgil Hawkins is a young Black teen who lives in Dakota City — DC's fictional replacement for Detroit, Michigan. He becomes Static through a series of accidents that leads him to be exposed to Quantum Vapor, a biohazardous chemical gas. This gas gives rise to a new wave of metahumans — locally referred to as the Bang Babies. Virgil's new powers conjure and control electricity in almost all of its forms. Static uses these new powers to protect the city he loves so dearly.

Virgil is different than most of DC's younger heroes. How many readers can really relate to Robin's, essentially orphan gymnasts raised by a recluse billionaire? But Virgil has so many familiar kid trials to conquer every day. He goes to school. He has homework. He bickers with his sister and father. He quips a lot and only ever fails to find words when romance is involved. He shares his secrets with his best friend and hides them from everybody else. And, if we're being brutally honest, he's not too great at the whole vigilante thing yet.

Sure, that probably sounds a bit like Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) in the DCU's new "Blue Beetle" film, but, unless we're forgetting some crucial lore, Virgil isn't rocking a world-ending doomsday AI on his back. (No, seriously, that's what the Blue Beetle's suit is made to do!) Kind of takes Jaime away from being a grounded hero, doesn't it? 

Static could literally be the DCU's Spider-Man

Of course, maybe the Blue Beetle isn't who first came to mind for you. Maybe your thoughts strayed to Marvel, where a different kid balances vigilantism, young adulthood, and receiving an education. This kid loves his city and its people too. Hoo-boy, does he quip! If it isn't abundantly clear, we're talking about Spider-Man. Fans of the friendly neighborhood wallcrawler consume almost anything that he appears in because of how powerful his personal brand has become.

Co-creator McDuffie initially conceived of Static as a version of Peter Parker for his community. According to Deadline, LaMarr immediately clocked the Spider-Man connection. "Virgil is what I always wanted as a comic book kid growing up: Black Spider-Man," he said. "I felt like it was drawn by somebody who lived in a building I could go into. It touched on archetypes as a comic fan that I loved, but also touched on my life as a Black man in the real world." Now, can anyone think of what kind of financial success a studio would see with devoted resources to a well-made Black Spider-Man? Anyone? In a post-Miles Morales world, where a comparatively new superhero completely blew away the box office competition in regards to representation and narrative heft, there's no sense ignoring Static's marketing power and cultural importance.

Static keeps good company, friends, foes, and fans alike

Yes, it's easy to view Static through a Spidey-centric lens. However, young Virgil deserves recognition even without his direct connection to the famous web-slinger. Over on Twitter, fans never stopped sharing why they love "Static Shock." Sure, there's fan art that poses him beside Miles Morales, Jaime Reyes, and Peter Parker. But there are also clips reminding social media users about what makes the original animated series so special. Virgil and his stories address topics of racial inequality in simple and digestible language for all ages. His comics address similar issues in more depth too. But any live-action depiction of Static would no doubt draw inspiration from both sources.

But Static's more than a "teachable moment." He's a compassionate person, and that's why fans love him. Let's not forget about his supporting cast! In later projects, Static became a member of the Teen Titans, but in his most recognizable media, he works in tandem with Richard Foley (Jason Marsden), his best friend. Richie's an Irish-American without metahuman abilities who dons the super moniker Gear. He starts the series as Virgil's Guy In The Chair — like Ganke for Miles Morales – and transitions to a fieldwork crime fighter. (Yes, he's a standard tech bro but that doesn't make him any less fun.) Also, there's Static's arch-nemesis, Ebon, aka Evans (Gary Anthony Sturgis). Ebon is a Bang Baby gang leader made of pure consuming darkness. Imagine if Peter Pan's shadow went feral but in live-action?! The special effects could be killer and bring some grounded darkness to the DCU.

Much like Virgil, there'd be nothing a Static Shock film couldn't do.