Community Editor Jordan Farley says not everything needs a shared universe
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.