Mark Millar: The Comic Creator's Biggest Movie Blockbusters

How Millarworld Took Over Hollywood

Kingsman: The Golden Circle
20th Century Fox

Even if you've never heard the name "Mark Millar," chances are you've seen a movie based on one of his ideas. Movies based on Millar's comics have grossed over $2.5 billion at the worldwide box office. Millar entered the comic book industry under the wing of fellow Scot Grant Morrison, one of the biggest superstar writers of the medium. Though Millar initially gained fame working on well-known DC and Marvel characters like Superman, X-Men, and the Fantastic Four, he received even more acclaim after launching his own imprint Millarworld in 2004 and began publishing comics based on his own original concepts.

Since then many of Millar's comics have been adapted into films, including by talented frequent collaborators director/writer Matthew Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman. Although in many cases only the basic concepts of Millar's comics make it to the film version, Millar can still take credit for inspiring these films with his comics. In fact, in 2012, Millar was hired by 20th Century Fox to consult on their X-Men and Fantastic Four movies, and in 2017 Netflix made Millarworld the company's first-ever acquisition. As a result, Millar has become one of the most influential and successful comic book creators in the film industry today.

These six films based on ideas by Millar demonstrate why his work has become so popular with Hollywood and audiences.

01
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Wanted (2008)

Wanted
Universal Pictures

The first film based on Millar's comic book work was 2008's Wanted, which starred James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, and Angelina Jolie. Wanted is about a man in professional and personal ruts who discovers he is heir to a place in a secret society of assassins. This veers from Millar's comic, which is instead about a secret society of super-villains.

Nonetheless, even without the costumed super-villains Wanted was a big box office success, grossing $341 million worldwide. While a sequel has been often rumored over the years, it has yet to materialize.

Kick-Ass
Lionsgate

In 2008, Marvel began publishing a series by Millar titled Kick-Ass about a real-world teenager who decides to take what he has learned from comic books to become a superhero. The highly-controversial, extra-vulgar, ultra-violent film adaptation, which starred Aaron Johnson, Chistopher Mintz-Plasse, Chole Grace Moretz, and Nicolas Cage, was a sizable hit. In fact, the movie rights were sold even before the first issue of the comic was published, which demonstrates how much interest Millar's work created in Hollywood after the success of Wanted.

Because of that, Kick-Ass actually differs significantly from Millar's comic (which was drawn by legendary artist John Romita, Jr.) because the film's script was being developed while the comic was still being published. Still, both were big successes. More »

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Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Kick-Ass 2
Universal Pictures

With the success of Kick-Ass in both comics and theaters, a sequel was inevitable—and in 2013, Kick-Ass 2 was released in theaters, again based on Millar's comic book sequel. Though Kick-Ass 2 followed the comic series much more closely than the original film, it was less successful at the box office.

Kick-Ass 2 was also not as well-received by critics and faced controversy when star Jim Carrey—who was a professed fan of the comic series and was previously excited to get involved with the sequel—withdrew his support for the film because of its violent content in wake of a school shooting.

04
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Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

Kingsman: The Secret Service
20th Century Fox

Like Wanted, Kingsman: The Secret Service was loosely adapted from one of Millar's comic series. Kingsman: The Secret Service is about a directionless teenager named Eggsy who is nothing but trouble on the streets on London—until he discovers that his deceased father was an elite secret agent and that he has a chance to join their ranks. The film adaptation stars big names like Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Caine alongside Taron Egerton as Eggsy.

It's a slightly different take on Millar's comic series (simply titled The Secret Service), which was drawn by Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons. The film was a big success at the box office, grossing $414 million worldwide. A 2017 sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, tells an original story based on Millar's Secret Service concepts. A comic book sequel by Millar is also on its way.

Captain America: Civil War
Marvel Studios

In Captain America: Civil War, former allies Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) face off with their own teams of allies over their differences when they disagree on whether the Avengers should be subject to government oversight. Though Captain America: Civil War takes its own direction established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is based on Millar's 2006 Marvel comics miniseries that likewise features Captain America and Iron Man on opposite sides of a U.S. government backed Superhero Registration Act.

Captain America: Civil War was a massive success, grossing nearly $1.2 billion worldwide —one of the top 20 highest-grossing films of all time. It was also highly-praised by both critics and comic book fans—and they all have Millar to thank for coming up with the concept. More »

06
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Logan (2017)

Logan
20th Century Fox

The Wolverine sequel Logan is loosely based on Millar's 2008 comic series Old Man Logan, about an aged Wolverine who lives in a future United States controlled by supervillains. Because Logan is set in the X-Men cinematic universe, many of the characters in the original Old Man Logan comic series (Hawkeye, Hulk, Red Skull) could not appear in Logan because of rights issues. However, the film was clearly influenced by Millar's work, with the creative team (and Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman himself) all citing Millar's Old Man Logan as the main influence behind the film.