This is a guest op-ed piece by Michael Shorkey. Opinions expressed by the author are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of Pirates & Princesses.
Ever since the MCU took over Hollywood with Avengers in 2012 many other companies have tried out a similar formula but have failed to have similar success. Some of this is usually due to behind-the-scenes drama between different creative wanting to take stories in different directions, rushing productions to play catchup with Marvel and Executives who have no business sticking their nose into certain projects deciding that they know better than the writers they hired to do that job.
Warner Brothers/DC tried this with the currently running DCEU, but currently nobody knows what is going on with what is going on behind the scenes, and so did Universal with their Dark Universe combining Dracula, The Mummy, Frankenstein etc. into a universe of monsters but failed after One film which everybody knew was just a rushed film to set up other future films that never happened.
But the idea of shared universes is a large undertaking and if the right people handle it and the timing is right they can succeed as Marvel has.
Today we will be going over 5 potential Cinematic Universes, some are more likely to happen than others, but these all have fanbases that are willing to support them and if handled correctly by the right creative team could yield success.
Image Comics today is still a well known company, they started in the 1990s from former
Marvel Artists/Writers and many of their titles have archived success in Film, Television and
Properties like Spawn, The Walking Dead and others are HUGE draws and a shared universe with select titles could work as a whole.
The BEST way to start is to go with the Original Six series which include Spawn, Savage Dragon, Shadowhawk, Youngblood, WildC.A.T.s and Cyber Force. With these series all being “Edgy” and “Dark” I could see this as an R Rated Universe, but the BIG ISSUE is the Legal Reasons.
See Image operates where The Company distributes the Book while the Creator owns the characters, so there is already a split there, but some IPs have been sold to different companies such as Jim Lee selling his WildStorm Imprint to DC Comics, and Rob Leifeld having certain legal issues over the ownership of his characters.
Sure this Cinematic Universe is unlikely unless all the owners have a Come to Jesus meeting but it would definitely be an awesome sight to see.
Hasbro has been one of the largest Toy Brands in the world for decades, next to Mattel they are one of the largest producers of Toys in the World. They have developed many brands over the years that have had much success over the years and many have had success in Hollywood.
For years there have been a number of Crossovers between their brands, G. I. Joe and Transformers being the two biggest. Despite the Transformers Films having a mixed reception they have made lots of money for both Hasbro and Paramount/Viacom, whom Hasbro works with a lot in film adaptations.
In recent years rumblings of a G. I. Joe/Transformers Crossover in the films
have been rumbling, but with Hasbro’s acquisition of Power Rangers from Saban talks have
started about throwing them into the mix, adding Super Heroes into the world of Military
Conflict and Giant Space Robots.
Personally if this were to come to pass I could even see Hasbro asking Viacom to throw in the Ninja Turtles since they own that (Personally I think Peter Laird should have told TMNT to Hasbro instead of Viacom). Who knows if we will see Commandos, Robots, Teenagers and Mutants join forces?
And if that rumored merger between Hasbro and Mattel happens maybe He-Man could join the party? Who knows.
3. Shonen Jump
Shonen Jump is arguably the Marvel Comics of Japan. Many of their IPs have reigned supreme for decades in their genre of Shonen Action Anime and have given us many great characters and stories.
Some people see Crossovers between the different series as pointless or say they make no sense, but in recent years SJ has actually been doing crossovers more frequently in the
world of video games.
Honestly, I think the best way to do a Cinematic Universe with these series is to have a small number of shows that have a lot in common thus the merger feels more organic. The FOUR KEY Series would of course have to be Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto and Bleach as they are some of the most popular series the company has produced, plus all 4 series have elements of fantasy and large explorable worlds.
The Second thing is to have this Universe Completely Animated in the 2D Anime Style, not only to please hardcore fans but to also present a unique flavor compared to other Cinematic Universes out there.I think it could work.
Ever since Freddy vs. Jason people have been wanting to throw in more Slasher Villains such as Michael Myers from Halloween, Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Chucky from Child’s Play, pinhead from Hellraiser etc.
Some crossovers have had the opportunity to happen before but sadly either due to timing or not enough interest many of these crossovers never happened. But over the years many Horror Fans have been asking studios to have a film where many of these characters appear as sorta like an Evil Avengers type meetup where a hero or heroes have to work together to stop them.
The opportunity is there to link the previous films together such as having characters connected together as sorta like a spider web effect, in fact Evil Dead does have connections to Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street, so why not take the opportunity to not only continue the old series but also connect them all, making a
Cinematic Universe of films going back to the 1970s. It would be a rare opportunity, you would just need the right producer with the right connections to make it work.
Okay, so for those who don’t know, Archie Comics was founded back in 1940 and was originally called “MLJ”. They specialized primarily in Super Hero Stories with characters like The Sheild, The Black Hood, The Comet, The Web, The Fly, The Jaguar and More. They in fact had so many heroes they had their own Super Hero team called “The Mighty Crusaders”.
But after WWII, when the popularity of super heroes was dying down, MLJ created Archie Andrews. He became the Company’s Top Selling Series and became the frontrunner of the 1950s Teenager Comic and changed their name to “Archie Comics”. Since then they have tried to bring back some of these characters in one way or another, even DC borrowed these characters in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, but they have mostly stuck to their guns with Archie and other series like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Josie and the Pussycats, and for about 20 years the Sonic the Hedgehog Comics.
Archie is still around today and have been able to survive the recent Comic Book Crash by
relying on Digest-Sized comics and may in fact outlast DC and Marvel in Publishing.
But enough of the history lesson, what I’m saying is that if the right studio were able to get the film rights to these heroes and devise a strong enough plan, then maybe in 2031 Crusaders 4 would be the Highest Box-office grossing film of all time.
Many of these characters have very interesting backstories and legacies, such as the Shield Pre-Dating Captain America and being responsible for Cap’s Disc Shield, The Comet being the First Super Hero ever to Die in Comics, and Black Hood having a 120 Episode Radio Show in the 1940s being as popular as The Lone Ranger and The Shadow.
With a Roster as stacked and as varied as Marvel and DC the series could have a
lot of potential, especially with its long history.
In closing, I love the idea of Shared Universes, I wish that Universal would try again in about 5 years as they invented the concept back in the 1940s and the idea of all these classic Monsters in a single Universe is extremely awesome, and maybe WB/DC will finally get their heads on straight and successfully run a coherent shared DC Universe. We all know that Phase 4 of the MCU won’t be as big as Phases 1-3, so the search for the Next Big Cinematic Universe has only just begun.