I maintain this is a missed opportunity. There is a franchise here, of at least three movies.
The traditional view is of Guardian being James MacDonald Hudson wearing the red and white. They ignore the fact that Guardian was killed by the 12th issue and the real leader ended up being his wife, Heather.
The two minds behind Alpha Flight had a great thing going. Chris Claremont did an amazing job with the four issue Wolverine series – which defined a character for almost forty years – until “Old Man Logan” came along. And John Byrne. A gifted artist, great storyteller, but a real problem with dialogue – I should have realized it long before, but in Issue 26 or 27 – “Beware The Gilded Lily”, when Walter Langowski used the word ‘thence’ in dialogue. I think they both saw it going south when they were compelled to ‘fish’ the body of The Hulk from interdimensional space, looking for a new body for Langowski,
That aside, what you have now is an Iron Man story – Guardian’s powers come from a suit – a team building story – Alpha Flight could be the Avengers Of The North – and a strong, female protagonist. My first idea was to have Cody come to the house to recruit Mac, but that draws too closely to the comic. What if, instead, Cody comes to the house to tell Heather that Mac’s transponder signal had just pinged at his desk?
Movie one is backstory with Heather following Mac’s transponder signal and recruiting the rest of Alpha to come to her aid. And even cut down the team a little – remove Marina for now and leave her for the second movie. Then you have them all travelling North to fight Tundra. At the same time, you find the original Guardian fighting Tundra but needing the team to come to his aid. He is the damsel in distress and Heather saves him, wearing her own version of the suit. The movie ends with them in the living room of their house, more or less the same as in the first few issues of Alpha Flight. You could even carry a B plot of Puck trying to make his way there (Puck would be played by Peter Dinklage – I would SO love to hear his Canadian accent). The teaser trailer during the credits has Heather cleaning up afterwards and talking to Mac about old times, and then it gets around to his departure. He then turns around to face her, his top off, to show that he is half human – the rest of his body taken over by cyborg parts.
“Heather, I haven’t told you the whole story,” he says, and the screen goes to black.
Movie two starts in Department H during an emergency. First off, Department H has to be based on the Canadian War Museum. It LOOKS like a superhero headquarters should.
There’s a bad guy tearing up downtown Winnipeg – his name is Calibre and he is wearing a ‘poor man’s Iron Man’ suit.
The world gets to see Guardian in action when they all thought he was dead. This is where you get to tell some back story about what the world thinks of Guardian. Montages and the like. Guardian flies back to headquarters and the team debriefs and winds down.
Heather is feeling left out because she wants to put on the suit and wants to talk to her husband about what happened to bring him back to life. They talked about it but they never REALLY talked about it. This is how the story gets to be juxtaposed against the story that he told her, about being whisked away to an alien planet and had to be rebuilt by them only to be put into suspended animation for thousands of years before he was woken up by signal from a Great Beast – in this case, Tundra.
He believes he has come back to defeat the remaining Great Beasts who threaten to take over the world, or at least, that is the story he is telling everyone. Heather thinks there is something more. The A story here can maybe deal with another of the Great Beasts – I think Ranaq would be a good one. Ranaq needed a host body in order to be powerful. You go through the story thinking that Ranaq is the one that took over James, and no one believes Heather, and it turns out that she was partially right. The story is resolved when Ranaq is defeated but it is revealed that James is not James at all – he is an imposter who is actually the cyborg recreation of his greatest enemy, Jerry Jaxon. The teaser at the end of this one has a man wearing a cybernetic helmet that looks like a cheap copy of the Guardian helmet and he is sitting in a wheelchair in a darkened computer lab. And he is attended to by a beautiful woman who looks like a dark haired version of Veronica Lake. The old man is nervous, he’s worried that the plan is not working, he says as much to the woman. She puts a hand on him that faintly glows and tells him to continue on with the plan, it will all be okay – you see the man calm down visibly and the screen goes to black.
The final movie of the three has the remaining Great Beasts in a conference, planning to take over Canada and then the world (or something along those lines) and they are focused on defeating Alpha Flight by brute force alone – the team has already killed two of their number and there are five of them left. That is when the Veronica Lake lady shows up and says that no, brute force is not required, and that she has a better way.
At this point, if it were all picked up, you could have a single origin movie for each of the remaining members – Shaman, Aurora and Northstar (one movie), Sasquatch, Puck and Snowbird. Each of those movies would deal with an aspect of a Great Beast that was defeated, if not destroyed. This ramps up the tension. And, before the third movie comes out, you have an origin movie with Guardian, that shows the importance of Jerry Jaxon but only hints at the Veronica Lake character (who would, of course, be Delphine Courtney).
I mean, this has the makings of a Great Canadian Franchise. I would love to tackle even an outline, but I haven’t been able to keep up with half of my commitments this year. I worked so much at the gym, actually, that I manage to give myself a hernia and have to lay off for the balance of the year.
So, Marvel, if you want to take the idea, run with it. Or Sony? Oh, man, you could buy this franchise up for a fraction of what you could make with a decent writer’s room and a good map for the Alpha Flight Universe.