Cinematic Universes We Want to See
Unless you’ve been living under a super powered rock for the past ten years (yes, the first Iron Man premiered back in 2008), then you know cinematic universes are all the rage right now. Marvel’s short after-credits scene at the end of Iron Man changed the dynamics of the entire movie business. Now, with Stephen King kicking off his own mythology mash-up with Castle Rock, we started thinking about what cinematic universes we want to see next.
[source: The Room theatrical trailer]
Bad Movie Cinematic Universe
Since Tommy Wiseau released The Room in 2003, so-bad-it’s-good has never been more popular. Cult classics like Plan 9 from Outer Space and Troll 2 have received newfound fame, while wacky auteurs like Neil Breen and James Nguyen have cropped up in recent years. A shared universe of all our favorite “bad” films would be a joy to behold. Picture, if you will, Johnny from The Room bumping into any of Neil Breen’s incomprehensible characters. The sheer lunacy would be enough to justify any price tag. The killer birds from Birdemic could be shared antagonists in every film. Imagine when the cops come—Joe Marshall from Samurai Cop could be introduced as the arresting officer. Don’t worry, he’ll get a standalone movie down the line.
Universal Dark Universe Cinematic Universe (UDUCU)
This one’s kind of cheating since Universal released The Mummy to thunderous indifference in 2017, but the future of the series is in such jeopardy we might as well talk hypotheticals. We want to see a good take on this cinematic universe—with more focus on horror than Tom Cruise’s old man muscles. Give us terrifying standalone movies to shock modern audiences and remind them why these monsters are infamous. Then, they can stalk into each other’s films. Heroes escape Dracula’s castle? Good for them. Too bad the Wolf Man lives in the surrounding Transylvanian forest. Christine Daaé kidnapped by a masked fiend in the opera house? Perhaps Frankenstein’s Monster had met her in a previous film and shows up for the rescue mission.
H. P. Lovecraft Cinematic Universe
Lovecraft’s collected stories already have a strong interconnection via the Cthulhu Mythos, so a cinematic universe just makes sense. Ghastly creatures infest his work that would be perfect for the screen, like shoggoths, Elder Things, and Cthulhu itself. The short story “The Call of Cthulhu” would be a great place to kick things off, with Francis Wayland Thurston spanning the globe to uncover R’lyeh’s mysteries. Another film could cover the disastrous Antarctic expedition in At the Mountains of Madness and introduce the shoggoths while calling back to R’lyeh and Cthulhu. Eventually, all the characters could meet in Innsmouth, fight off Dagon, and prepare for Cthulhu’s Earth-shattering arrival.
[source: Focus Features]
Jane Austen Cinematic Universe
Jane Austen’s novels have a miles-long character list and relatively similar English settings, so films could easily nest in the same universe. Movies based on her books have ranged from decent to great, but regular adaptations would be just the beginning. Each film could tell a self-contained story that intersects with other characters not found in the original story. It’d be the mashup literary nerds have been waiting for. Imagine a Pride and Prejudice film where Mr. Darcy spars with one of the Dashwood sisters. Perhaps Elizabeth Bennet accidentally falls for eligible bachelor Captain Wentworth in this one, before he meets Anne Elliot in the Persuasion film? Then, after the obligatory origin stories, Austen’s characters could collide at Bath’s Royal Crescent for a holiday full of high drama. Who wouldn’t want to see every Bennet and Dashwood sister forced to share a bathroom?
Neil Floyd is a Chicago-based writer with bylines at The Hard Times/Hard Drive, Quirk Books, Game Informer, and more. He’s currently working on a supernatural comedy novel and a supremely silly D&D campaign. You can find him on Twitter & Facebook, his personal website, and near the buffet table at parties.