10 Big Franchises That ‘Could’ Start Their Own Shared Universe

10 Big Franchises That ‘Could’ Start Their Own Shared Universe

10. Terminator

The Terminator franchise began with two legendary action films starring one of the greatest action stars of all time.  Terminator & Terminator 2: Judgement Day introduced a mythology that fascinated action & science fiction fans alike.  Since then, several ‘sequels’ and soft reboots have come and gone without the same acclaim as their predecessors.  There was even a mildly successful television show, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, that attempted to expand the story.

In 2015, the franchise returned yet again with Terminator Genisys.  Did they finally bring the franchise back to it’s roots?  After all, you can’t start a shared universe without a solid foundation.  The mythology is already established.  Did Genisys kick start a new era for Terminator?  Is it possible to set new stories in the past & future of this world with all new characters?

Unfortunately, the answer to all of the above appears to be no.  Terminator Genisys was not well received critically or commercially.  One of the big disappointments of the 2015 summer movie season has seemingly stalled future plans for an expanded Terminator universe.

Should It Happen?

No. It’s been incredibly difficult for any film post T2 to gain any real traction with main stream audiences.  It was difficult enough to get a series of films off the ground with the main characters front and center.  It’s hard to imagine a spinoff/connected tale would be able to add much value.

This franchise definitely has the mythology to pull off a cinematic universe but I’m perfectly happy with a single narrative thread.  Assuming they eventually settle on a narrative thread worth sticking with.

9. Independence Day

People have always wondered what it would be like if the aliens ever returned.  Well, reinforcements are most definitely on the way with an entirely new trilogy of films planned.  Assuming Independence Day 2 recaptures the magic of the original, it is possible this franchise could expand it’s story to new characters, locations and even genres.

Should It Happen?

No. The story of Independence Day is very simple at it’s core.  Aliens came to wipe us out and we defeated them with a well placed ‘cold’.  It’ll be interesting to learn more about the invaders in the sequel but I wonder if there is enough story to justify a cinematic universe.

Having said that, the first spinoff I would want?  Will Smith’s popular character Steven Hiller returns and embarks on a separate mission during the second invasion.  Thus explaining his absence from the sequel.  (Unless the inevitable Suicide Squad 2 lures him away…)

8. Ghostbusters

Sony has already stated they would love to create a shared universe with their Ghostbusters franchise.  Creating an all female Ghostbusters was a great start with a stellar cast featuring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones.  These talented women will be tasked with a headlining a movie that will prove if a shared universe is possible moving forward.

Should It Happen?

Yes?  Technically it’s already happening.  Sony has already created the Ghostcorps to develop films, television series and more with the property.

Should it happen?  I have tremendous hope that the new film will deliver in 2016.  The entire plan hinges on this one project.  If it’s a monster success could we get a true sequel with the original cast returning?  There will no doubt be an all male younger team established at some point as well.  My main concern rests on how these stories will all connect.  Is there a ghost out there bad enough to build up as these movies are released?

Will the different teams ever unite?  Is there enough story to be told?

7. Planet Of The Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes introduced us to Cesar and an entirely new and unique approach to the franchise.  The result was a film that entertained audiences and critics alike.  Expectations were high for the second installment, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  Dawn far exceeded the hype and delivered a film that solidified the franchise for years to come.

A third film, War of the Planet of the Apes is on the way.  That film will certainly raise the bar in terms of stakes.  It won’t be an easy task given the incredible character moments and performances this series is known for.

As the tribe of Apes expands and humans continue to rebuild, could there be opportunities to spinoff new story angles?

Should It Happen?

No.  This franchise is celebrated for the relationships of both the humans and their Ape counterparts.  This is very much a focused story with Cesar front and center.  A central theme of survival is prevalent throughout and diluting that thread with separate (yet connected) stories could damage the intimacy the series has established.

6. Harry Potter

Many people grew up with Harry Potter deeply embedded in their childhoods.  Through seven books and eight films we followed his magical journey with a fierce devotion.

When it all came to an end, it was bitter sweet.  People wanted to see more from the wizarding world.  Can Harry Potter’s story continue?

Should It Happen?

Yes…  And No…  A spinoff film is currently in development with rumors pointing to an entirely new trilogy.  Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is set in the world of Harry Potter yet features an entirely new set of characters.  Mainly, magizoologist Newt Scamander.  A man who traveled the world to study magical creatures.

The concept is actually based on a text book that Harry Potter owned during his time at Hogwarts.  In my opinion, Harry Potter’s story is over.  But there are plenty of compelling stories to tell in this world.  A reference of two here or there is all it will take for fans interest to reignite.

5. Fast & Furious

The Fast & Furious franchise has defied all logic to become one of the biggest franchises in box office history.  The seventh installment currently ranks 5th on the world wide box office charts.  Who could have predicted a small action film based in the street racing world could blossom into a worldwide phenomenon?

However, there are questions surrounding the eighth chapter of this tale.  The last film gave us an emotional farewell to the anchor of the entire series.  The Furious franchise has always been about family and Paul Walker’s tragic death will certainly impact future films.

There is certainly enough star power to tell new stories but it will be difficult to avoid the focused ‘new mission, new villain’ approach.

Should It Happen?

No.  This franchise thrives because of it’s remarkable self awareness.  These films are about larger than life characters and unbelievable stunts.  That’s why people go to the theaters.  What people didn’t expect was for these films to truly resonate.  Especially after the touching tribute to cap off Fast & Furious 7.

Splitting off characters into spinoffs would do more harm than good.  Audiences love this family as evidenced by the heartbreak felt on screen and off.  This is the only story worth telling.

4. James Bond

James Bond is one of the most famous characters in all of fiction let alone movies.  The current 007, Daniel Craig is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

This is a world audiences have adored for decades.  It’s a formula that has a unique ability to remain familiar yet evolve to maintain it’s connection to fans.  James Bond has always been about standalone adventures that span the globe.

The current run of films has incorporated a few common themes but they are all, more or less, singular stories.

Should It Happen?

No.  We don’t need to see a young James Bond or another series featuring a new agent.  We want one character, we want memorable villains and we want action.

This series has survived the test of time because it delivers what fans want.  The blueprint is flawless.

Still… An elderly Bond series is intriguing.  A mission gone wrong in the Daniel Craig series could linger for decades…  An old Bond with a heavy weight on his shoulders is something I would watch.  Just DON’T hand off the franchise to a younger agent!

3. Avatar

James Cameron takes his time but when he does deliver a film, it’s always worth the wait.  Nearly all of his films have pushed the boundaries of cinematic technology and Avatar was no different.  Still the benchmark for 3D, Avatar was a visual spectacle that became the highest grossing movie of all time.

Now, we eagerly await three (3!) sequels Cameron plans to film simultaneously.  That’s the main series.  Are there opportunities to expand the world of Pandora?

Should It Happen?

Yes.  Will it actually happen?  No.  This franchise is poised to thrive for the remainder of the decade with sequels.  It’s hard enough to take on the monumental challenge of creating three films simultaneously.  Add to that the expectations of fans who delivered 2.8 BILLION votes of confidence in box office dollars.

The pressure is on and the always ambitious director isn’t content on delivering more of the same.  In the first Avatar sequel, he plans to bring us underwater giving us an entirely new glimpse at the world of Pandora.

Spinoffs?  Shared universes?  Not going to happen.  But I would love to see a Star Wars approach someday with Avatar anthology projects.

2. Jurassic World

Early box office tracking nearly guaranteed Jurassic World would be a huge hit.  But few could have expected the biggest opening weekend in box office history!  209 million domestic and over 500 million worldwide has proven people still love dinosaurs.  The film would go on to become the #3 film of all time grossing 1.5 billion world wide.  Unreal.

Given the current trend, it would be easy for the studio to launch multiple franchises set in this lost world.

Should It Happen?

No. The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 failed to capture the magic of the original.  People flocked to theaters to see Jurassic World because it brought back the ‘awe’ factor that thrilled us all in 1993.

To spinoff new franchises and connected series would drastically undermine what they achieved with Jurassic World.  Before you know it, we will get the rumored human/dinosaur hybrids that almost happened.  (Actually that will probably still happen)

Not too mention they have already announced a standalone sequel in 2018 with no plans for expanded universe building.

1. Warcraft

Warcraft is a staple among nerds and video game enthusiasts.  The world of Azeroth has inspired an entire universe of games, fiction and incredible artwork.  The next logical step was a film but how do you introduce mainstream audiences to the world of Warcraft?

Director Duncan Jones is about show us his vision of the first Human/Orc encounter.  There will be heroes on both sides and a compelling story uniting what’s sure to be a visual spectacle.

Should It Happen?

Yes. Just one look at the render of Orgrim below sold me on the potential of Warcraft as a cinematic shared universe.  If this film proves itself to audiences (and studio executives) there is a limitless wealth of stories built into this mythology.  There are new lands to discover and a relentless war connecting it all together.

This could be the new Lord of the Rings.  That’s an ambitious statement to make but the elements are all there.  Hopefully this film proves what Warcraft fans already know.  Let’s do this Leeroyyyyyyyyyy!

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