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Martian Manhunter movie script2014/5/31

As some of you may know, recently some jackass-who-shall-not-be-named made some unfortunate comments about the superhero genre in general and She-Hulk and Martian Manhunter in particular. He stated that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to make a standalone Martian Manhunter movie, that no one cares/knows about Martian Manhunter, and that, if he had to make a movie about J'Onn J'Onzz, one of the first things he would change is to have him not be from Mars.

And, of course, due to the way creativity works, as soon as that bullshit gauntlet was thrown down, my subconscious whipped up a Martian Manhunter movie script.

Now, right off the bat, I had a few challenges. First of all, I had to keep the Martian origin, but we know a lot more about the red planet now than we did when the character was first created in 1955 - we've sent robots there. We're pretty sure there's no subterranean lost civilization or secret ecosystem. Secondly, MM largely interacts with other superheroes, and I wanted to make sure this movie would function as a standalone, even if the audience has never heard of Green Lantern or Blue Beetle. Ideally, it should work perfectly well if you want to assume that it's set in the quote-unquote "real world", where Superman is a fictional character, but it should also be able to tie into a future Justice League movie.

I streamlined a few things.

First - the powers. J'Onn has had some of the most blatant power creep in all of superherodom. For the purposes of this film, I've pared it down to the core - telepathy, shapeshifting, density shifting (up to and including intangibility), and flight (as a consequence of the density shifting). I've also dialed the telepathy waaaaay back - at least to start - because a big part of the first half of the film is J'Onn's slow adaptation to Earth.

I've also simplified the weakness - J'Onn doesn't have some Green-Lantern-instilled power-dampening pyrophobia, he's just from a planet with a thin oxygen-poor atmosphere. He hadn't encountered self-sustaining fire before coming to Earth, so his body is tissue-paper flammable while he's in Earth's atmosphere.

With the lack of other supers for him to hang out with, I've chosen to expand the roles of Dr. Saul Erdel (the scientist whose experimental communicator accidentally teleports him to Earth), Dr. Erdel's daughter Melissa (who, for the purposes of this movie, is a sassy twenty-something), and their lab intern Malik (Thor had a good idea for introducing a character and I'm not above stealing it).

As for the bad guys and the calamity that killed his world, I've chosen to mash a few things together - you'll see what I mean.

[We open on a strange alien cityscape. Explosions and battle noise are everywhere. Flying machines are dogfighting in the sky as golden spires crumble and collapse. A green inhuman creature with red eyes runs into frame - it is frightened and desperate, its face and body are streaked with blue-grey blood.

A similar creature - this one with white skin - jumps into the scene, and they fight hand-to-hand for a few seconds, using strange shapeshifting abilities. The green creature is mostly fighting defensively, with the white one being more aggressive, and just as it seems the white has the upper hand, the green manages to wedge the white's head into an alien elevator shaft, and a passing car decapitates it (the actual decapitation is offscreen, but it's clear enough what just happened).

The green takes no time to savour this victory - it continues running, and we hear it yelling in a deep alien voice. The subtitles read [M'yri'ah! M'yri'ah, K'hym, where are you?]

After a few more tense seconds of navigating this alien urban battlefield, we hear a voice call out to him from a balcony above. The subtitle reads [J'Onn! Up here!]

The green alien leaps and flies up to the balcony, where a slender female and a smaller, obviously juvenile alien are holding off a white at the door. A long fight scene ensues, with plenty of shapeshifting (think Terminator 2), until eventually the male and female manage to work together to rip the white in half (again, most of the carnage is off-screen, but it's clear what's going on).]

M'yri'ah (in Martian, subtitled): J'Onn, we have to get out of the city!

J'Onn (M, subbed): No, there was a broadcast... they're everywhere. All over the planet.

K'hym (M, subbed): What are they, where are they coming from?

J'Onn (M, subbed): I don't know, K'hym, but I promise, I will do everything in my power to keep you safe. We need to get underground, get to a place we can barricade. I will try to rendezvous with Central Defense, there has to be some-

[Another green male alien enters as J'Onn did via the balcony]

K'hym (M, subbed): Uncle Ma'al!

J'Onn (M, subbed): Ma'alefa'ak, thank goodness you're here, I need you to take K'hym and M'yri'ah to the cellars at G'ronda, then meet me at Central Headquarters...

[the camera focuses on the two adults]

M'yri'ah (M, subbed): J'Onn, no, I want to fight with you!

J'Onn (M, subbed): There's too many of them, M'yri'ah. I need you to make sure K'hym is safe, co-ordinate with the other Ger'ensah Fed'rach, we can...

[there is a sickening crunch-snap-slice noise off camera, J'Onn and M'yri'ah turn to see their daughter collapse. Ma'alefa'ak's hand is a long curved blade covered in blue-grey gore. His face is initially emotionless, but as he turns, it morphs into an impossibly wide carnivorous grin, and his skin shifts to white. J'Onn is stunned, but M'yri'ah reacts instantly, letting out an alien warcry and launching herself at him. There is a brief hand-to-hand with morphed blades, but Ma'alefa'ak stabs her through the gut.

J'Onn (M, subbed): No!!!

Ma'alefa'ak maintains his evil grin as he brings his bladearm up through her torso, causing her to fall backwards into J'Onn's arms.

M'yri'ah (M, subbed): J'Onn... I don't understand... (dies)

[J'Onn howls in rage and launches himself at Ma'alefa'ak, they both go over the balcony, plummeting towards the ground below. They struggle in midair, and Ma'alefa'ak gains the upper hand, so it is J'Onn who hits the cement at full force, Ma'alefa'ak on top of him. They fight in the street as the war continues to rage around them, eventually fighting to a standstill, evenly matched... until six more whites reveal themselves, surrounding J'Onn.]

J'Onn (M, subbed): Ma'alefa'ak... you were my brother!

Ma'alefa'ak (M, subbed): Let me feel it, Manhunter. Let me taste this moment in your mind. The pain, the anguish, the realization that the powerful seeker of justice failed to see the threat that was right in front of him, and that blindness was your downfall. You were a fool...

J'Onn (M, subbed): A fool, to accept you into my home?

Ma'alefa'ak (M, subbed): Ah, yes, yes, that is succulent... Alright, moment's over. Time to die.

[The whites close in, they toy with J'Onn for a few moments before Ma'alefa'ak comes in for the killing blow... and, at the last second, there is a strange light effect, and J'Onn disappears.]

Ma'alefa'ak (M, subbed): What? What was that? Where did he go? WHERE DID HE GO?

[We zoom away, into the sky, until we see all of Mars (Phobos and Deimos in the background), alien letters appear that morph into the words "Martian Manhunter"]

That's our opening. You read that right - at least five damn minutes without a single humanoid or a word in English. We have whatever credits we need to have at the beginning now, perhaps with some nifty space effects behind them. Of course, we then direct our focus to Doctor Erdel on Earth (I don't think some text saying "Earth" is necessary, do you?)

[INT: Dr. Saul Erdel's basement lab. Dr. Erdel is a quintessential scientist type in his mid sixties. His daughter, Melissa, is recording him on her smartphone as the intern, Malik, is fiddling with equipment in the background.]

Melissa: Okay, so explain to me what the machine does, in layman's terms. Really dumb it down.

Saul: Melissa, you know the science almost as well as I do...

Melissa: Not for me, Dad, this is for the official record. We're making history here!

Saul: Oh God, they're going to chop it into a sound bite and put me on PBS.

Malik: I think we rate at least the Discovery Channel.

Saul: Alright, the short version... as we all know, C is the speed limit of the universe. Nothing travels faster than the speed of light. As we also all know, there are more dimensions than the three in space and one in time. String theory proposes at least eleven different dimensions, dimensions that are curled up-

Melissa: Short version, Dad.

Saul: Light travels through another dimension, getting here faster than C should allow.

Melissa: And what are we going to do today?

Saul: We've already had some success teleporting light from one place to another here on Earth, but the distances are too short to verify if we're doing so faster than C, so what we're doing today is opening a window to our nearest interplanetary neighbour. Given the speed of Mars' orbit relative to Earth's, if my calculations are wrong, all we'll see is the dark of space. If they're right, however, we'll catch a glimpse of the surface, a brief window onto a barren, lifeless world.

Melissa: And is there any chance of contamination, opening a window like that?

Saul: No, only massless particles can make the journey - photons, neutrinos... possibly some electromagnetic radiation, but less than you'd get by standing next to a microwave oven.

Melissa: Good soundbite.

Saul: Thank you.

Malik: We're ready, you guys!

There's a long sequence of sciencey stuff, culimating in a pulsating energy vortex that spits out a green alien.

[J'Onn, in his full Martian form, is crouched warily on the teleporter pad, his body steaming slightly. He flails and panics for a few seconds before calming down. His hyperventilation rapidly slows, and he regards the humans with wariness and confusion.]

Malik: Uh... you guys? I think we got something that isn't photons.

J'Onn: Hoo'ran ta! F'ran gentak? Brin'd poorin'tess anna.

Melissa: It's a Martian! Dad, you teleported a Martian to Earth!

Malik: It's not a Martian, there's no life on Mars. It's... it's something. An alien, certainly.

[J'Onn peers at Melissa, then morphs his face and body to match hers. The humans react with surprise. J'Onn peers at Malik, and the face changes again to become an unnatural patchwork mix of the two humans.]

Saul: Mazel tov, it's a boy! I think.

Melissa: Greetings. We mean you no harm. My name is Melissa. (points to herself) Melissa. (points to Saul) Saul. (points to Malik) Malik. (she gestures to the alien, as if to ask "and you are?")

Malik: Melissa, even if this creature can understand the concept of personal names, I highly doubt we'd be capable of pronouncing -

J'Onn: J'Onn.

Melissa: John?

J'Onn: (points to Melissa, speaking slowly and deliberately) M'lissa (points to Saul) Sol (points to Malik) Malik. (points to self) J'Onn. J'Onn J'Onzz.

Saul: John Jones?

J'Onn: J'Onn J'Onzz.

Melissa (to Malik): I think I'm going to be able to pronounce that.

J'Onn quickly winds up with a compromise human form, and quickly begins learning English and communicating. The decision is made to keep him secret for now because something something government something something public panic. He eats simple sugary foods (including Choco cookies, of course) and drinks water.

He discovers fire, and his weakness to it...

[J'Onn's finger gets too close to the light, and his entire arm bursts rapidly into flames. He screams in pain.]

Melissa: J'Onn!

[There is a frantic scene as the humans struggle to extinguish him.]

Malik: Did you see that? He went up like tissue paper!

Saul: He evolved in a low-density oxygen-poor environment. Being in Earth's atmosphere is like swimming in gasoline.

J'Onn (strained): Pain...

[His arm is black ash that crumbles away]

Malik: Ride it out, big guy, ride it out... do we have any painkillers?

Melissa: I think giving him human drugs would probably be a pretty bad idea, don't you?

[Slowly, a new green arm grows into place. After a few minutes, J'Onn is back to normal.]

Melissa: Are you okay?

J'Onn: I... I think I do not like fire.

Eventually, they ask J'Onn what planet he comes from, and he draws out a map of his solar system...

Malik: Wait, that can't be right. That's our solar system. That is Mars, you can't be from Mars.

J'Onn: Where... where is here?

Saul (points at J'Onn's diagram): There. That's Earth, that's where we are right now.

J'Onn: No... No, Earth too hot. Air... ammonia.

Melissa: Ammonia... that's what Earth's atmosphere was like in the preCambrian era, before the first micro-organisms evolved!

[others look at Melissa]

Melissa: what? I minored in biology.

Saul: J'Onn... you're talking about a different course of history, a world where life first evolved on Mars and not on Earth...

J'Onn despairs, not knowing what happened to his world. Eventually, he accepts that he's going to be stuck here for a while, so he begins learning what he can about us.

[INT: Doctor Erdel's laboratory]

J'Onn (human form): Doctor... say words. Please.

Saul: Words? What words?

J'Onn: Words of Earth. I want to learn about this planet. When you say words, I can feel what they mean.

Saul: Okay... uh... hamburger.

J'Onn: ...Backyard barbecue... ketchup and mustard... pickles.

Saul: Yeah, that's how I like it. Oh! How about this.... birthday cake.

J'Onn (smiles): We have a similar tradition.

Saul: Santa Claus.

J'Onn: ...We do not have a similar tradition.

Saul: Statue of Liberty.

J'Onn (happily): She's green.

Saul: Olympic Games.

J'Onn: Oh... Oh, how wonderful!

Saul: Thought you'd like that.

J'Onn: Except for the torch, yes. Your planet is a wonderful, beautiful place. I can feel your pride in it.

And, of course, that's how he comes to understand the concept of a superhero.

[footage from Man of Steel plays on the TV]

J'Onn: This man... he flies.

Malik: That's Superman. He's an alien, like you.

J'Onn: What is the purpose of the... fabric?

Malik: The cape? That's how you know he's a superhero.

J'Onn: Superhero...

Saul and Malik continue to work on figuring out the accidental teleporter, J'Onn stays mostly in human form. Melissa is largely responsible for taking him around in the human world.

[EXT: Melissa and J'Onn are walking down the street together. A man calls out to her.]

David: Hey, Melissa! What's up, you're too busy to return a guy's email?

Melissa: Oh God.

J'Onn: You know this man?

David (positioning himself in front of the duo, walking backwards): Hey, babe. What's shakin', where ya headed?

Melissa: This is David. We met online, went out for coffee a couple of times-

David (interrupting) : Yeah, and then she friendzoned me.

Melissa: I didn't "friendzone" you, David, I rejected you. If I had friendzoned you, we'd be friends.

David: Yeah? So who's this, your new boy toy?

Melissa: This is John Jones. He's from out of town. And he is a friend of mine.

J'Onn: I am?

Melissa: Yes. Yes, John, you are. You're my friend.

[J'Onn smiles]

Eventually, J'Onn decides that if he's going to stay in human society, he has an obligation to contribute to that society. He will do so as a Manhunter, a superhero... and to do that, he'll need the right look....

[INT: Malik, Melissa, and human-form-J'Onn are hanging out at the lab.]

Malik: Okay, a superhero is like a supermodel. Models are very pretty, but they're interchangeable. Supermodels are distinctive, they're celebrities. Same thing with heroes - policemen, firefighters and soldiers are very heroic, but they're in uniforms, and uniforms are uniform. If you're going to be a superhero, you need to look distinctive.

J'Onn: Something unique.

Malik: Exactly. We want a look that says superhero, but that also says everything else people need to know at a glance. You need to look powerful, imposing, alien... but not like an actual alien, the Gumby meets H.R. Giger thing you had going on when you first showed up is not a good look, no offense.

[J'Onn says nothing.]

Malik: So stay human, but... green, give me green skin.

[J'Onn shifts his skin to green.]

Malik: Lose the hair.

[J'Onn is bald.]

Malik: The red eyes were good, we can go back to that. And maybe little antennas on the front?

[Malik holds up fingers to his forehead to demonstrate. J'Onn morphs a set of antennas]

Malik: No, no, that's silly. Lose'em. Now, superheroes are muscular, so give me a barrel chest, big arms, big shoulders, big thighs... more.... more...

[J'Onn beefs up]

Malik: Okaaay. Business casual... out.

[We see J'Onn's naked green back from behind. Malik is momentarily speechless.]

J'Onn: You said lose the hair.

Malik: Indeed I did. Let's throw some booty shorts on, leave the chest and shoulders bare... maybe some straps over the front, like a harness? Yes. Now the cape. Good guys dress in primary colours, so I'm thinking royal blue and the straps in red, some gold trim... Can we put a collar on the cape, is that a thing?

[Melissa is watching, saying nothing. She casually takes a sip from her drink. We hear Malik continue offscreen.]

Malik: Got to have a belt. Maybe an insignia right on the chest, like an M for Mars? No, that looks stupid. A chain, maybe... Gloves! No, lose the gloves. Boots, though, you need boots. Higher. Higher! Not that high. Maybe with a floppy top, like a musketeer or a pirate... perfect!

[Malik steps back, and we see the Martian Manhunter in his traditional comic book costume]

Malik: What do you think?

Melissa: I think there's more to being a fashion designer than just being gay.

Malik: Don't listen to her, J'Onn, you look amazing. Give us a pose!

[J'Onn strikes a bodybuilder pose]

Malik: Yes! Power!

[J'Onn strikes another pose]

Malik: Strength! Mightiness! I've got tickets to the alien gun show, and they're front row seats!

[Melissa rolls her eyes and leaves}

J'Onn begins fighting crime, with a few typical thwart-the-badguy scenes... and at least one that is less than typical.

[EXT: J'Onn, in human form, walks up a few steps to the front door of a house. He knocks.]

[INT: From inside, we see a man coming to the door]

Man: One second!

[He opens it to reveal J'Onn in his superhero form. There is a moment of awkward confusion.]

Man: What the hell are you supposed to be?

J'Onn: I am a superhero. I have a cape.

Man: What, like... the Green Gherkin?

J'Onn: I am the Martian... Manhunter.

Man: Okaaay. Martian Manhunter. ... Whaddya want?

J'Onn: Please do not attempt to rob the First National Bank on Bradley Avenue at four-fifteen tomorrow.

Man: What? Who said-

J'Onn: I am from Mars. I have superpowers. If you attempt to rob the First National Bank on Bradley Avenue at four-fifteen tomorrow, I will stop you. I will fly to the bank. The bullets from your Smith and Wesson forty-five millimeter handgun will not harm me. I will use my superpowers to subdue you, like this.

[J'Onn reaches his hand into the man's chest. The man spasms in place for a few seconds.]

J'Onn: Once you are subdued, I will deliver you to the authorities and you will be charged with attempted robbery. This will likely result in your incarceration. So please do not attempt to rob the First National Bank on Bradley Avenue at four-fifteen tomorrow.

Man: O- Okay. I won't. I promise.

J'Onn: Good. Thank you.

[pause]

Man: Anything else I can help you with?

J'Onn: No, that was all. I thank you for your time.

Man: No problem. Have a nice day.

J'Onn: Good bye.

Man: G'bye.

[The man closes the door. He stands in silent consternation for a few seconds, then opens the door again. The Martian Manhunter is gone. The man slowly closes the door again and digs his phone out of his pocket. He calls someone.]

Man: Hey... Hey, Mikey? Yeah. Listen. Change of plans...

The local news media reports on the Martian Manhunter's activities, and they don't know what he is or what to call him. Melissa has the idea of a press conference ("to find your Lois Lane").

[EXT: an empty podium on a platform in the city park. An audience of reporters is clustered on folding chairs in front of it. The crowd erupts into noise and flashbulbs as the Martian Manhunter, in full superhero form, slowly descends. He raises a single hand, and the crowd quiets.]

J'Onn: I am the Martian Manhunter, last survivor of Ma'aleca'andra, the planet you call Mars. I have been brought to your Earth, and while I am here, I will use my Martian abilities to act as a superhero among you, like Superman. It is my intention to stop criminals, and to protect and defend humankind as necessary. I will now take questions.

[The audience erupts into noise. J'Onn simply looks towards one reporter and nods, his meaning is understood.]

reporter 1: Martian Manhunter, Larry Nickles, Global News Network. Why the name "Manhunter"?

J'Onn: It is a direct translation of the Martian word "Hrun'toong", which was my title and job description on Mars. It is similar in function to a police officer or bounty hunter. I track down criminals, subdue them, and bring them to justice.

[J'Onn nods to another reporter]

reporter 2: Maria Sanchez, Coastal City Daily. Do you have some sort of weapon to fight criminals with, a martian ray gun perhaps?

J'Onn: I do not need a ray gun. Weapons are for children and the disabled.

[J'Onn nods again]

reporter 3: Martian Manhunter, Diane Tang, newsfeed dot org. What sort of superpowers do you have?

J'Onn: As you have seen, I can fly. I can also change my appearance cosmetically, and I have what you would call telepathy, the ability to read minds.

[slight pause]

J'Onn. Fifty-seven.

[reporter 3 looks sheepish, and nods to the others that he got it right. The reporters clamor again, and J'Onn selects another one.]

reporter 4: Martian Manhunter, Jeffrey Engels, Gotham Tribune. You feel entitled to enforce human laws, when you yourself are not human, let alone a police officer or a lawyer?

J'Onn: There are some things that are obviously and universally wrong: murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, and so forth. I will only apprehend the suspects in cases such as these, and deliver them to appropriate local law enforcement officials for processing. My powers, vast though they are, are ill-suited to investigating tax fraud.

[J'Onn nods to another reporter]

reporter 5: Martian Manhunter, Liz Warner, Daily Planet. Do you hate men?

J'Onn: No. While I have noticed that the majority of violent crime on this planet is committed by males, the word "Manhunter" in this case is meant to be gender neutral. I am more than capable of hunting women.

[In the background, Saul Erdel gazes in silent horror. Melissa facepalms. J'Onn nods to another reporter.]

reporter 6: Pete Winchester, alienwatch dot com. Superman has Kryptonite. Do you have a similar weakness?

J'Onn: Yes.

reporter 6: What is it?

J'Onn: ... Why would I tell you that?

reporter 6: Come onnn.

J'Onn: No. Last question.

[J'Onn nods again.]

reporter 7: Trevor Smith-Warner, Trinity Broadcasting. Do Martians believe in God?

J'Onn: Some of them did. They are now dead. This concludes the press conference. I thank you for your time.

[J'Onn ascends into the sky again, ignoring the reporters that are still clamoring for his attention. In the back, Saul and Melissa begin walking away.]

Melissa: Press conference. Greeeaaat idea.

Saul: I think he did pretty well, for someone who's only been on the planet a week.

The media paints a mixed picture of the Martian Manhunter, people react with fear and confusion. J'Onn continues fighting various crimes, mostly successfully, until he confronts a group of bank robbers, stops their getaway vehicle... and finds he can't read one of the robbers' minds.

J'Onn: Wait... You. I cannot sense your mind. (concentrating) What are you?

Robber 1: You're a Green, aren't you? What the hell are you doing here? Your worldline was deleted!

Robber 2: Jack? What are you talking abou-

[Robber 1's hands grow into blades and he clusters them around Robber 2's throat]

J'Onn and this White Martian duke it out, with the White continually putting the humans into jeopardy and J'Onn saving them until he finally manages to beat it until it stumbles into traffic and dies. J'Onn goes back to the lab for some exposition -

J'Onn: I... had seen this once before. On Mars, there was a refugee, a Martian who lacked telepathy, or who appeared to lack telepathy. We believed he was... handicapped. He was a amnesiac, no one knew where he had come from... my parents... we took him into our home. We gave him the name Ma'alefa'ak, darkness in the heart, because we could not see into his inner being. We became close. He was my brother.

J'Onn: At the very end, I discovered that he did have telepathy. It was shielded... when a Green Martian connects to another mind, our entry point is empathy, the ability to see oneself as another, that is the first connection. When he revealed himself to me, he touched my consciousness, and I could see... his mind, the minds of the White Martians, they have no empathy. Their minds are composed of nothing but greed, contempt, and a lust for violence.

Further exposition ensues, and the white's line about "your worldline was deleted" finally allows Dr. Erdel to understand the problems he's been having with teleporting J'Onn home - he can't access J'Onn's dimension because it's been eliminated. As he explains, the different dimensions (or "worldlines") can come closer together or further apart... and they can't stay together for too long, or one will cease to exist (the metaphor used is two cars on a one lane road - sooner or later, one has to go into the ditch).

J'Onn realizes that not only were his people massacred, but their entire world - past, present and future - has been deleted from existence. This allows him to understand what he had already sensed in the whites' minds - their strategy is to link their dimension to another dimension, send in scouts for initial reconnaissance, then launch a full scale invasion to loot, appropriate, and enslave the local population (not to mention slaughter them for shits and giggles)... then once they've taken everything they wanted, they evacuate and force that dimension to wipe out of existence, so there's no one left to look for revenge.

The presence of a White Martian on Earth implies that our world is next, and Dr. Erdel says he's going to keep working to try to glean more information, but it'll take time. He still can't figure out how massive particles were able to make the transition.

J'Onn: If it would help with your calculations, Doctor, at the time of my teleportation, I did not have any mass.

Saul: What do you mean?

J'Onn: Like this.

[J'Onn phases his arm through a table to demonstrate]

Malik: The Higgs boson! The particle that gives other particles mass! You can expel the Higgs bosons from your body!

J'Onn: Is that not something you can do?

Saul: No - around here, the conservation of mass is a law.

J'Onn: Then how do birds work?

Saul: Wings. Flapping. Aerodynamics.

J'Onn: Hmm.

Saul works and J'Onn keeps trying to find Whites hiding among the human population with no success.

[INT: Melissa Erdel enters her apartment with a paper grocery bag. J'Onn is in human form. He has a pen and a pad of paper, and is watching a children's TV program.]

Melissa: Adventures in Library Land?

J'Onn (absorbed in the TV program): I am attempting to teach myself the English language. It is going slowly. Your alphabet is inefficient and many verbs have irregular conjugations.

Melissa: J'Onn, you already speak English perfectly fine.

J'Onn (looks up): I speak English because I am reading your mind. I want to be able to read a newspaper.

Melissa: Oh. ...You need anything?

J'Onn (holds up an empty plate): More cookies, please.

Melissa (pulling a package of Chocos from her grocery bag): Gotcha covered, big guy.

[Melissa tosses the package to J'Onn, and he opens it. Melissa joins him on the couch and they each have a cookie. They watch TV for a few seconds.]

Melissa: So..... Is there a Mrs. J'Onzz?

J'Onn (somewhat puzzled): You are physically attracted to me.

Melissa (attempting to be coy): Maybe a little.

'Onn: You are aware that this is not what I look like. This human form is a mask I wear for your benefit. On a biological level, you have more in common with the bacteria in your own intestine than you do with me.

Melissa: Well, physical appearance isn't what really matters.

[J'Onn morphs into an eight year old girl in a gingham dress]

irl-J'Onn (in his man's voice): Are you attracted to me now?

Melissa: J'Onn...

girl-J'Onn: Physical appearance doesn't matter, remember?

Melissa: Okay, maybe it matters a little.

[silence]

Melissa: Would you change back? You're freaking me out.

[J'Onn changes back to his adult male human form and smiles. They watch TV for a few more seconds.]

J'Onn: Yes.

Melissa: What?

J'Onn: You asked if there was a Mrs. J'Onzz. Adult Martians form monogamous relationships. There was a female Martian named M'yri'ah to whom I was bonded. We had a biological daughter named K'hym. They were both killed by Whites shortly before I arrived here.

Melissa: My God, J'Onn, I had no idea.

J'Onn: You knew I had lost a family. You never asked what kind of family.

Melissa: Yeah, but...

[She trails off, uncertain of how to complete that sentence. Slowly, J'Onn reaches out his hand to Melissa. She allows him to touch her forehead, and there is a white flash as we transition to his memory. It is the same Martian city landscape we saw from before the title, same camera angle and lighting, same battle noise and chaos. As before, J'Onn runs into frame, but this time he's in his human form, and the blood on his face is red. The scene plays out exactly the same as it did in the very beginning of the movie - scene for scene, shot for shot (some of the fight scenes are abbreviated) - but this time all of the Green Martians are shown as humans, and they're speaking English instead of Martian with subtitles. Again, we see J'Onn witness his wife and child die, this time in human form. Again, we see J'Onn's grief and rage, this time on a human face. Again, we see the fight with his false brother, only to be teleported away at the last second. There is another white flash, and we cut back to the living room, J'Onn removing his hand from Melissa's forehead. Tears are coursing down her face.]

Melissa: My God, J'Onn, J'Onn, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.

[She hugs J'Onn tightly, pressing her face against his chest. J'Onn maintains his typical stoic demeanor, but it is clear that traumatic memories and deep sorrow are just beneath the surface.]

Melissa: You know, when human beings form monogamous relationships, we wear a wedding ring, a circle of precious metal on the fourth finger of the left hand. You can still wear one, even if your spouse is.... deceased. Might help keep dumbasses from hitting on you.

[J'Onn morphs a ring onto his hand.]

J'Onn: Thank you.

Melissa continues hugging J'Onn. Slowly, gently, J'Onn places his arm over her.]

J'Onn: I am sorry I friendzoned you.

[Melissa laughs a deep, tension-destroying laugh.]

Melissa: It's a good zone to be in, J'Onn. It's a good zone to be in.

[We slowly zoom out, showing the friends together on the couch. The TV is audible again, and we hear light, tinkly music, and a cartoon character saying "It's fun to read together. Will you read with me?"]

Eventually, the White Martians appear on Earth as they did on Mars, showing up at all locations simultaneously, killing and stealing indiscriminately. We see sequences of major human cities being decimated in shots that are similar to the very first scene on Mars. J'Onn, in his superhero form, races through his city, taking out Whites and saving people to the best of his abilities, but he's heavily outnumbered and the chaos is omnipresent. The situation appears hopeless.

Meanwhile, our human protagonists are feverishly trying to use their equipment to trace the location of the White Martian's equipment on Earth. We see a White break into the lab, and there's a moment of tension as our heroes try to hide - but how can you hide from a monster that can pass through walls and read your mind? The White Martian is shown to be sadistic, toying with them.

Cut back to J'Onn, he's frantically looking around, trying to decide where to go next, and we see his psychic ability going out, touching people's minds. At first, we just hear people's fear and confusion "What are they? Where did they come from?" "Where's Molly... Oh god, where's Molly?" etc., before finally hearing one guy in a Tapout shirt lamenting "these things have different anatomy, all the joint locks I've learned wouldn't work on them..."

J'Onn is momentarily confused, and you see him zoom further into Tapout-guy's mind. We see a montage of MMA fighting. J'Onn's focus then skips around to other humans, and he zooms into each person's mind, we see different scenes like a rapid-fire montage of both human and non-human combat on Earth - a cock fight, fencing, a mongoose fighting a cobra, a boxer being knocked out, a squid releasing ink, a ninja, a bullfighter, etc.

We then see J'Onn re-energized, fighting his way through crowds of whites using the knowledge he's pulled, slowly making his way back to Dr. Erdel's lab.

Cut back to the lab, and the White finally closes in on Melissa. Dr. Erdel tries to jump in front, and the White swats him away. Melissa screams as she lashes out with a Zippo and a can of hairspray - the White screeches and flails as the fire consumes it, and Malik finishes it off by swinging a crowbar at its head, which explodes in a cloud of ash. Malik has his moment of badassness, but Melissa rushes to her father's side - his arm is broken.

J'Onn arrives, and Dr. Erdel reveals that in order to eliminate this worldline, there would have to be a piece of machinery left over on this side to trigger it, whichever side that device is on is the dimension that is deleted. He also reveals that he's pinpointed the location (in this dimension) of the device that pulled the worldlines together in the first place, and gives the GPS co-ordinates, which are conveniently in a warehouse a few miles from here.

Melissa gives J'Onn the lighter ("this may help") and J'Onn flies there, fights his way through several other Whites, until finally coming across the device... which is being manned by a White who reveals himself (of course) to be Ma'alefa'ak.

They fight, and despite J'Onn's new techniques, he's already severely exhausted, and is quickly beaten down into the rubble.

Ma'alefa'ak: Come on, J'Onn. Your world is gone. Deleted, past, present and future. Never existed at all. Why fight? Your family is dead and gone, and soon you will join them. Why go through this suffering, when your defeat is inevitable? This world is not your own, what possible reason could you have to fight for them?

[J'Onn's head slowly lifts, we see his left hand from his point of view. The wedding ring is still visible.]

J'Onn: You... killed my wife. But I am still a husband. (slowly rising) You killed my daughter. But I am still a father. (standing) You destroyed my world. But I am still J'Onn! I am a Manhunter! You cannot! Take that! From me!

The fight resumes, and soon J'Onn has Ma'alefa'ak backed up against the machine. Ma'alefa'ak is wounded and beaten, but still defiant.

J'Onn: You... you and your army will leave this world. Leave and never return.

Ma'alefa'ak: Oh, already done, brother. The order to pull out was issued twenty minutes ago. I'm the last one left here, and in a few seconds, I'll be going home as well, leaving you alone with the humans... and with this. (he indicates the device that will delete the worldline) This world was useless to us anyway. The humans are too weak to be used as slaves, and they're not even fun to kill. Their culture is too alien to be of any interest, and their technology... (scoffs) ...their technology is so primitive it's pathetic.

J'Onn: Perhaps. But their first invention is rather impressive. Here, let me show you.

[J'Onn sparks the lighter and pulls Ma'alefa'ak to himself. They burn together, fighting all the while, with J'Onn finally shoving the device into Ma'alefa'ak's body just as he teleports back to his home dimension.]

[We see Ma'alefa'ak arrive on White-Martian-Mars ashy and smoking, quickly extinguished in the thin Martian air. Several other whites surround him, confused and concerned.]

White 1 (in Martian, subtitled): Sir! Sir, are you alright?

White 2 (in Martian, subtitled): Sir, what happened to you? Is the Green dead?

Ma'alefa'ak (reaches into his body, slowly pulls out the device): NOOOOOO-

[Smash cut to black as the white Martian's world is deleted]

And, of course, the final scene, we fade in to a news reporter (possibly someone from the press conference earlier?) recapping how all the White Martians are gone and no one knows where or why, but something something we owe the Martian Manhunter a debt of gratitude, wherever he is.

And there's text on the screen, "Six Months Later"

[INT: Dr. Erdel's lab, with sparkly new equipment. An apple materializes on a teleporter pad, and Malik cautiously approaches it with a stick. He pokes it once, and the stick passes through it. He pokes it a second time, and the stick passes through it. He pokes it a third time, and the apple explodes, showering him in fruit pulp.]

Malik: We can take the Higgs bosons out of a solid object, we can teleport the massless object, it's just putting the Higgses back in that's the problem.

Saul: Well, if nothing else, we've invented a radical new way to make apple sauce.

Melissa (running in): Guys, guys, we got another postcard from J'Onn!

[They cluster around her and she begins reading.]

Melissa: It's from Ecuador! Dear Melissa, Saul, and Malik. Greetings from the southern hemisphere. Word of your recent successes in the field of experimental teleportation has reached the news media even here, and I offer you my sincere congratulations.

[The voice transitions to J'Onn's, and we fade to see a human-J'Onn strolling through a marketplace.]

J'Onn (voiceover): Santiago de Guayaquil is lovely this time of year, and I have been learning much about the local culture and economy. I find I am perpetually surprised by every aspect of humanity I encounter - how many things can be so strange, and yet so familiar. I am now nearly as fluent in Spanish as I am in English, Arabic and Chinese - I have been reading the work of some local poets, and I think I may contribute to it. The food is very spicy, but the local shops do have some American imports, so I can still enjoy the occasional Choco cookie.

[J'Onn looks up as a local shopkeeper yells at an escaping robber]

J'Onn (voiceover): The people here are friendly and generous, but don't worry - I find ways to keep busy. As long as there is crime in the world... there will be a need for a Manhunter.

[J'Onn morphs to his superhero form and flies after the crook to the amazement of onlookers]

J'Onn (voiceover): Sincerely, your friend... J'Onn.

[cut to credits and suitably badass music]

So that's my pitch. Obviously, it'd need to be fleshed out and tweaked, but I do think that DC could do a decent Martian Manhunter movie - or at least, something other than yet another damn Superman or Batman reboot - if they really wanted to.

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