Ever since the first cave kid grunted the equivalent of “My dad can beat up your dad,” people (okay, mostly guys) have obsessed and debated over hypothetical matchups.
Pop culture and sports usually fuel the discussions, which can cross time and genre lines – and only rarely play out in some form:
Ali or Marciano? (The boxers kind of duked it out in 1970’s "Fight of the Century,” a film they made based on a computer simulation). Spider-man or Superman? (1976’s epic “The Battle of the Century” comic marked a rare Marvel-D.C. collaboration). Schwarzenegger or Stallone? (Their Claymation doppelgangers famously clashed on MTV’s “Celebrity Deathmatch”).
Now plans are in the works for “Ultradome,” a scripted, live-action Web show that’s promising a geek’s fantasy lineup of faceoffs, like "Star Wars" vs. "The Lord of the Rings," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The show is being co-produced by “Heroes” star Milo Ventimiglia, who bills “Ultradome” as a special effects-laden exercise in determining such pressing questions of our time as whether Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones could beat Harrison Ford as Han Solo.
“My whole life has been spent engaged with friends in intellectual debate ... like whether Captain Kirk is tougher than Spock or if Middle Earth is a more difficult place to live than Tatooine," Ventimiglia, who will appear in the series, told The Hollywood Reporter. "With 'Ultradome,' we can bring these debates to the public and settle them in the most logical way possible: through armed combat."
As silly as it sounds to some – and as much as it sounds like a fanboy’s dream come true – “Ultradome” is made for the Web and made for the times.
Online fantasy games and sports rotisserie leagues are vying for the national pastime title. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is No. 1 at the box office, and some are counting the seconds to Stardate 200905.08 (Friday to the rest of us), when the “Star Trek” prequel lands in theaters. There’s a certain fanboy in the White House who just might be tempted to click into “Ultradome,” expected to debut this summer.
In the matchup between the fanboys and reality, reality loses. So let’s give the geeks their day – and maybe give Ventimiglia & Co. some ideas.
What mythical matchups would you like to see, whimsical or otherwise? Use the comments to weigh in.
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992.