Cinematic universes are the in-thing in Hollywood at the moment, with franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Extended Universe and Fox’s X-Men Movie Universe dominating the box office. There are more in the pipeline, with the likes of a Valiant Comics Cinematic Universe, a Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe, a Call of Duty Cinematic Universe, and a combined movie universe involving the likes of G.I. Joe, Micronauts, Visionaries, M.A.S.K. and ROM all in development.
This got us thinking about which other brands and genres could get in on the action. So many properties from throughout pop culture history could really flourish with an expanded cinematic universe based on them – and that’s what this article is going to be about. Here are twelve cinematic universes we’d really like to see.
1. Masters of the Universe
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was one of the most popular franchises of the 1980’s. The cartoon was great, the toy-line was wonderful – but the movie absolutely sucked. Nearly thirty years later, there still hasn’t been a reboot – and that’s a real shame. Although there’s been talk about a new movie, it has never officially been green-lit, but the potential for it is absolutely huge.
There’s such a wide variety of weird and wacky characters in the franchise and, given modern special effects technology, they could look really cool. Places like Eternia could also look spectacular in live action – think Asgard in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and starting with a He-Man movie, following-up with a She-Ra movie, then bringing all the characters together a la the Avengers, would be fantastic.
Anime is a very distinctive form of hand-drawn animation that stems from Japan – exaggerated eye size being one of the notable attributes of anime characters – and some of the most popular cartoons in the world fall under the category. Dragon Ball Z, Oh My Goddess!, Naruto, Inuyasha, Fist of the North Star, Sailor Moon and One Piece are just some examples of anime series that have garnered fans around the world.
Now imagine if all (or at least some) of those series could be turned into feature-length movies and, ultimately, brought together in some way – perhaps with the main characters forming an anime super-team – on the big screen. There’s certainly a fan-base big enough to warrant the idea and it would definitely be cool as hell.
3. Grand Theft Auto
Given the huge success of The Fast and the Furious franchise, it’s fairly obvious that movies involving high-speed car chases appeal to the masses – so why not base a movie franchise on the hugely successful Grand Theft Auto video games? Essentially, there’s already been a universe created in the gaming franchise, with an abundance of characters and locations that could easily be translated to the big screen.
You may have heard that former Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has been linked to an upcoming movie related to the notoriously violent, moral-majority-maligned video game series – one that’s deceptively titled “Grand Theft Auto”, incidentally – but that’s actually a biopic based on the game’s creator Sam Houser. However, it’s a cinematic universe based on the games themselves that we’d love to see. It would be brutal and totally action-packed – and it would totally bring in the crowds.
4. The Buffyverse
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were Joss Whedon’s gems. Collectively, known as the “Buffyverse”, the two television series ended in 2003 and 2004 respectively and, in spite of ongoing comic books based on the characters, the shows undoubtedly left gaps in the lives of their fans when they stopped being produced.
So why doesn’t someone (Joss, sir, we’re looking at you) create a cinematic universe based on the properties? The characters were great and the variety of them was incredible. There could be Buffy films, Angel films, Spike films, Faith films and goodness knows what else (maybe even a Fray film, about the vampire slayer of the future). Then, ultimately, bringing them all together in a movie to fight an ultimate evil would be a fanboy or fangirl’s dream.
5. Slasher Horror
Now, this one might prove particularly difficult to pull off, as the rights to the characters that would potentially be involved lie with all manner of different studios – but if there’s any chance that those difficulties could be worked out, the powers-that-be should definitely consider making this a reality.
Imagine a world in which the likes of Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Pinhead, Chucky, the Creeper, Pumpkinhead, Leatherface, the Leprechaun and the countless other slasher horror villains from movie history all existed. Now imagine a bunch of interlinked movies based on said characters formed a cinematic universe based on them? It would be truly amazing – and if the Universal Monsters are getting their own cinematic universe, these other horror icons really should too!
6. Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network has provided some of the most iconic animated shows in recent memory – the likes of Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Edd, Ed n Eddy, The Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack, for instance – and many of them have indeed crossed over several times on the small screen, which indicates that they do all exist in the same universe.
With that in mind, wouldn’t it be a good idea to bring these guys over to the big screen and create a Cartoon Network Cinematic Universe? Whether the characters are from the past or the present, the audience will be there, because many of the shows in question had jokes that could be enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether you were a fan of the Cartoon Network in the 1990s or whether you’re a fan now, you would enjoy it on the big screen!
As far as video game developers go, Capcom are right up there with the biggest in the world. They’ve made some of the most iconic games and characters in history, including (but not limited to) Street Fighter and its related characters, Mega Man and its related characters, Devil May Cry and its related characters, and Monster Hunter and its related characters.
Resident Evil is another Capcom franchise – and one that’s already been turned into a movie franchise, nonetheless. Wouldn’t it be cool to add the characters from other Capcom gaming franchises into that movie universe? Resident Evil has undoubtedly been a huge success – six movies’ worth of success, including next years’ Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – so the platform from which to potentially expand is already in place.
8. Image Comics
As discussed in the introduction to this article, Marvel and DC have already established their cinematic universes, but why should the biggest comic book companies be the only ones to get in on the act? There are an abundance of lesser-known comic book companies with great characters would could form their own movie franchises – and Image Comics is definitely one of them.
The likes of Spawn and Witchblade have already had live action depictions – albeit not very successfully – but with those properties and the likes of Savage Dragon, The Darkness, Invincible, Saga and Chew at their disposal, Image Comics undoubtedly have the potential to form a superb cinematic universe if the movies are put in the right hands.
9. Dark Horse Comics
Like Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics deserve to have their own cinematic universe every bit as much as Marvel and DC do – and there’s already a good starting point in place. The two Hellboy movies – which were released in 2004 and 2008 respectively – were very well received, and fans of the movies have been calling for Ron Perlman to reprise his role as the titular character ever since.
Perlman might be 66, but he’s still in great shape and a third Hellboy movie would be a great basis on which to kick-off an expanded Dark Horse Cinematic Universe. Movies starring the likes of The Mask and Barb Wire (both of whom have already had movies in the past, of course) could follow, along with movies based on The End League, Badger, Concrete and Usagi Yojimbo to comprise the universe – and that would be really cool.
10. 2000 AD
2000 AD is a comic book anthology (published by a variety of companies throughout its history) with a wide variety of great stories and characters that definitely deserves a cinematic universe – and, like Dark Horse Comics, it already has some great cinematic material to work with. 2012’s Dredd movie was brilliant and talk of a sequel has been rife for a while now. While that doesn’t look likely to happen, it really should, and it could easily trigger some serious expansion.
Some of the titles that could be turned into movies to join Judge Dredd in a 2000 AD Cinematic Universe include Stronium Dog, ABC Warriors, Rogue Trooper, Pussyfoot 5 and Nemesis the Warlock, and while actual crossovers between all of the related characters might prove difficult in this case, an occasional Easter egg or reference to the other movies in the potential franchise would be enough to make it interesting.
11. Lovecraftian Horror
Lovecraftian horror is described as being a sub-genre of horror fiction that emphasises the cosmic horror of the unknown (and, in some cases, the unknowable), as opposed to just relying on gore or other elements designed to shock. It’s named after the late American author H. P. Lovecraft (1890 – 1937) and has existed since he first started writing in 1917. Since then, a lot of his material has been adapted into television shows and movies, but an actual cinematic universe based on his works would be awesome.
Cthulhu is undoubtedly the most famous of Lovecraft’s creations, and movies have already been made about the powerful cosmic entity, but creating a movie universe that includes Cthulhu and the likes of The Hound, The Unnamable and The Other Gods would be great – and potentially absolutely terrifying.
Nintendo is the largest video game company in the world in terms of revenue, and they are responsible for some of the most popular and recognisable games and characters on the planet so, quite frankly, it’s quite surprising that they haven’t already taken the movie world by storm. Of course, there was a terrible attempt at a Super Mario Brothers movie back in 1993, but the less said about that, the better.
These days, with video game adaptations being fairly common, special effects technology having greatly evolved, and cinematic universes being very much the in-thing, Nintendo should try again – especially given the current boom in the popularity of Pokémon thanks to Pokémon Go. A movie universe with the characters from Super Mario Brothers, Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Kirby and Star Fox has the potential to be pretty damn awesome. Get it done, Nintendo!
What cinematic universe would you like to see created? Let us know with a comment!