Movies that Want to be the Next Marvel Cinematic Universe
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the biggest success stories in movie history. On the back of Iron Man in 2008 they spun out a series of individual adventures that eventually tied together for The Avengers. We’re talking roughly 11 billion dollars worth of success here. As expected a number of studios have jumped onto this idea, possibly with big dollar signs comically popping up in their eyes. Here’s ten shared universes in the works and their chances of succeeding.
THE DC EXPANDED UNIVERSE
The Basics: We’re starting with the one that’s already made the most progress towards their goal, Marvel’s long time comic book rivals DC. They arguably had a head start in this race as their characters are already well known and proven successful in cinema with Superman, Batman and The Dark Knight. Like Marvel they also have a pre-established literary universe as all these character have established relationships and stories going back decades.
The first attempt to make a combined universe happen was with Green Lantern in 2011, which was a massive flop. This got swept under the carpet and Man of Steel tried to restart the project. Although it divided fans it was successful enough to get Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad into cinemas, introducing a bunch of characters for future instalments.
What They’ve Got Planned: Wonder Woman finally gets her first big screen solo debut this year and Justice League won’t be far behind. Aquaman, Shazam, Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps will all be in cinemas by the end of 2020.
Odds of Success: As we mentioned DC had every advantage going in, but the lacklustre response to 2016s films has certainly put a dent in their plans. Audiences have shown a dislike for the forced gritty tone, uncharacteristic violence of the heroes and poor representation of the villains. Future instalments including The Batman, The Flash and Justice League Dark have lost their directors and some have been put on hold. There’s been a push for further spin-offs for characters yet to be introduced such as Black Adam and Nightwing. Things look to be getting grittier with the announcement that they’ll be pushing an R rated sequel to Suicide Squad.
Honestly it’s beginning to look like the DCEU may burn out before it finds the success needed to continue. The recently announced Gotham City Sirens may be fun but everything is looking unstable. Might be best to focus on the TV shows for now.
THE MONSTER MASH
The Basics: Ok, that’s not the real name of this series but IT SHOULD BE. A couple of years ago we saw a Godzilla remake and this month King Kong is returning to cinemas. The plan is to bring in some more of Godzilla’s classic foes and getting all these beasts to knock the crap out of each other.
What They’ve Got Planned: Although it may not look like it on the surface Kong: Skull Island is linked to Godzilla. They’re set in different time periods and feature a whole different cast of characters. Stick around during the credits of Kong and you’ll catch a reference to Toho characters Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidoran. The plan is to have Godzilla battle the three in 2019 and then Kong in 2020.
Odds of Success: Godzilla may not have been what we wanted it to be but gosh darn if Kong: Skull Island wasn’t fun. Lots of cool beasties and silly action. If a giant monster smash up with the same tone is in the future then yes, we want to see it. It looks like they’re keeping things simple so it should work.
THE OTHER MONSTER MASH
The Basics: By now you must have seen the trailer for the upcoming The Mummy. Or as it should be called Mission ImMummiable: The Tom Cruiseing. This is the first part of the new shared universe franchise based on the classic Universe Monster movies. Actually, that’s a lie…Dracula Untold was the first but it was shit, so they started over. The Mummy has been in the works since 2012 and gone through a number of directors so it may be off to a rocky start.
What They’ve Got Planned: Based on Wikipedia we can expect The Mummy to be followed up with Untitled Film and Untitled Film. These future gems will pave the way for Untitled Invisible Man Film, Untitled Wolf Man Film, Untitled Van Helsing Film, Untitled Creature From the Black Lagoon Film and Untitled Bride of Frankenstein Film.
You know guys…if you remove ‘untitled’ and ‘film’ from those movies I think you’ll find some good titles.
Odds of Success: It’s not looking good. They’ve already dropped Dracula, one of the biggest names in the business, and their second attempt has been a shambles of a production. With the lack of directors, actors, scripts and even TITLES for movies due out next year it’s not looking good.
CALL OF DUTY
The Basics: You may have heard of the games. They’ve made enough money to embarrass Marvel Studios. Following the announcement of a Assassin’s Creed movie franchise Activision Blizzard decided that they were getting on that bandwagon with the first two movies in the series to be released in 2018 and 2019.
What They’ve Got Planned: Well, they have a shared universe of movies planned…with the first two being released in 2018 and 2019 apparently. In spite of all signs indicating that Activision Blizzard still want this to happen there’s been very little news.
Odds of Success: There isn’t much to go on here but given the success of video game movies in the past, including Assassin’s Creed, it’s not going to do well.
The Basics: X-Men is undoubtably one of the most successful superhero franchises in history. They hold the two top spots in the list of best selling single issue comics of all time (‘X-Men’ Vol 4 #1 and ‘X-Force’ #1), with several million more copies over the nearest competition (‘Death of Superman’). They also have a massively successful film franchise, having pioneered the modern superhero movie series and released 10 movies to date. Things have also bleed over into television with the newly released Legion making things wonderfully weird. Although X-Men 3 was a clunker and the first attempted spin-off – Origins: Wolverine – clunked even harder the expanded universe has soldiered on with Logan and Deadpool proving massively popular.
What They’ve Got Planned: What haven’t they got planned? Deadpool 2 has already dropped a teaser and they’re bringing continuity nightmare Cable into the mix. A third Deadpool film is slated to introduce more of the darker, more violent franchise characters of X-Force. The next main X-Men film is going to set in the 90s and is already in production, along with spin-off New Mutants bringing in a bunch of fan favourite characters. There are also X-23, Alpha Flight and Exiles movies in the works.
Odds of Success: This might be the X-Men fan in me speaking but we really want this to work. There’s a plethora of great characters yet to be introduced to the films. Deadpool, Logan and Legion have shown the range of styles and approaches X-Men have taken in their long history to great success. Bring them on.
THE LEGO UNIVERSE
The Basics: I don’t know what I expected from The Lego Movie. Was it a subversive comedy, a generic family film or a cheap cash-in? What we got was unexpectedly clever. What seemed to be a generic ‘chosen one’ plot was surprisingly layered and they mixed in many of the Lego licensed themes such as Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Their unique take on Batman was especially funny and he got his own movie this year…specifically the jerkwad Batman of The Lego Movie.
What They’ve Got Planned: They’re not stopping with Batman. The Lego Ninjago Movie will reboot the popular Ninjago characters to fit the new Lego movie universe later this year and 2019 will bring us The Lego Movie Sequel and spin-off The Billion Brick Race. Not many details on that last one but the title suggests a riff on the Whacky Races style of story.
Odds of Success: Pretty damn good. The off-kilter humour and pop-culture mash-up of The Lego Movie is easily adaptable to other characters and settings. With the massive number of beloved licences available to Lego they can push this concept a long, long way.
THE HASBRO UNIVERSE
The Basics: Hasbro were THE toy company of the 1980s. They brought us Transformers, GI Joe, Cabbage Patch Dolls, MASK, My Little Pony, Zoids, Visionaries and many more. With the success of the Transformers movies and the…existence…of the GI Joe movies Hasbro is planning jamming a bunch of those nostalgia bait franchises together for a big ol’ movie franchise.
What They’ve Got Planned: Details have been pretty vague so far. What they do have is a solid team that includes the showrunner of Luke Cage, the writing team from Spider-Man Homecoming and the writers of Black Panther and Dark Tower films, not to mention legendary comic writer Brian K. Vaughn. It’s unclear if the existing GI Joe movies will be included or dropped but the all American heroes are expected to team up with Micronauts, Visionaries, MASK and ROM Space Knight.
Odds of Success: Gotta give this one a 50/50 chance. That’s an awesome team they’ve got together for this project but nostalgia is only going to take it so far. It’s unlikely that new audiences are going to know who any of these characters are.
The Basics: M. Night Shyamalan is an oft praised, oft ridiculed film maker who was once considered to be the ‘next Spielberg’. The truth is…he’s kinda shit. He’s always been shit. I know I’m in the minority with this thinking but with the exception of Unbreakable he hasn’t made a film that doesn’t rely entirely on a crowbarred in, ridiculous twist. But the cult following behind Unbreakable seems to have inspired him to spin out the idea into other films, such as this years Split. See, the twist in this one is that it’s a semi-sequel to an underperforming movie form decades prior.
What They’ve Got Planned: At this point it’s not clear if how many movies they plan on wringing out of this idea. Perhaps some other previous Shyamalan films are going to be mixed in. All we know for now is that Bruce Willis is going to have to fight the Beast.
Odds of Success: Well, Shyamalan’s fail rate is pretty damn high. If pursuing this project keeps him away from making more Avatar: The Last Airbender movies I say we support him.
HANNA-BARBARA COMBINED UNIVERSE
The Basics: Previous attempts to adapt the classic Hanna-Barbara cartoons to the big screen have been…garbage. Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear and The Flintstones were awkward flops. And yet…they plan on trying again beginning with a reboot of the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? series called S.C.O.O.B. (for some reason). Fortunately they’re ditching the live action approach in favour of a 3D animated style. One of the creators of Phineas and Ferb is helping shape the film so that’s a good sign.
What They’ve Got Planned: Hanna-Barbara has plenty of popular brands to throw into the mix and whilst nothing is confirmed yet it’s been suggested that The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Sealab 2020, Johnny Quest, Whacky Races and Yogi Bear will feature. No word on how or if The Smurfs movies are going to be taken into consideration. Personally I want to see Captain Caveman get his due.
Odds of Success: Mistakes have been made in the past. On the other hand the original products are pretty straight forward and shouldn’t be to hard to bring back to the big screen and they’ve done some funky cross-overs in the past. Let’s wait and see.
THE 21 JUMP STREET/MEN IN BLACK UNIVERSE
The Basics: Yeah…this is a weird one. During the infamous Sony hack it was revealed that the studio was trying to bring together two of their most successful comedy franchises into one big, silly mega-hit.
What They’ve Got Planned: Following the success of sequel 22 Jump Street and lacklustre Men in Black 3 we were going to get MiB23 that brings them together, hopefully with Schmidt and Jenko joining the MiB. There’s also a spin-off from 21 Jump Street featuring a female cast. Not sure we’re they’re at with that one…might clash with the all female Ocean’s Eleven spin-off.
Odds of Success: If it happens it’ll be great…but it’s unlikely to happen. Getting the team together is proving difficult as all the major cast members are busy with other projects. Eh.