Com­mu­nity Ed­i­tor Jor­dan Far­ley says not ev­ery­thing needs a shared uni­verse

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Letters -

Mar­vel has a lot to an­swer for. Though far from the first to build a live­ac­tion play­ground for all its char­ac­ters to co- ex­ist and come to blows in, no- one has achieved the sheer scale and as­ton­ish­ing suc­cess of Mar­vel’s cin­e­matic uni­verse. Now ev­ery­one wants in.

You can’t move for am­bi­tious shared uni­verse plans in sci- fi cin­ema nowa­days but, Mar­vel aside, they seem to be held to­gether with Sel­lotape and wishes. DC is for­go­ing Mar­vel’s care­fully con­sid­ered slow build to­wards a ma­jor team- up movie by putting ev­ery character un­der the red sun in Bat­man V Su­per­man: Dawn Of Jus­tice, and fol­low­ing up with a full Jus­tice League movie. Sony’s baf­fling pro­posal for a shared Spi­derMan uni­verse ( with Venom and Sin­is­ter Six spin- offs) seems more frag­ile than web­bing in a hur­ri­cane after The Amaz­ing Spi­der- Man 2 un­der­per­formed at the box of­fice. And Univer­sal kick- started its clas­sic mon­ster shared uni­verse to non- ex­is­tent fan­fare with a dull post- cred­its scene in Drac­ula Un­told.

And that’s not all. Star Wars – ar­guably the sub­ject of the great­est ex­panded uni­verse ever – is start­ing from scratch with books, comics, TV shows and films es­tab­lish­ing a new canon. But I can’t help but won­der if the spin- off movies are a step in the wrong di­rec­tion. What’s re­ally got me riled up ( even though it prob­a­bly won’t end up be­ing SFX ter­ri­tory) is that the next Robin Hood film has been given the shared uni­verse treat­ment, with Sony sup­pos­edly in line to splash out an eye- wa­ter­ing amount of cash on the script. Do Friar Tuck and Lit­tle John need their own films? I think not.

Are spin- offs a step in the wrong di­rec­tion?

Mar­vel has proved that shared uni­verses can be won­der­ful. Heck, I look for­ward to their post- credit scenes as much as the ac­tual films nowa­days. But DC’s first at­tempts to build a shared uni­verse with Green Lan­tern proved how frag­ile they can be. Mar­vel has found the suc­cess it has be­cause ( Iron Man 2 and early Agents Of SHIELD aside), all of its films and TV shows are un­miss­able, and feed into each other in in­ter­est­ing ways. Half­hearted band­wagon jumping just ain’t gonna cut it.

Richard Ed­wards’ new Eds- o- skele­ton brought the SFX team into line.

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