…and 5 we wouldn’t
With wacky Shyamalan mashup Glass about to break into cinemas, which other directors could make a great shared universe movie out of their existing films?
Ones we’d love to see
1. Quentin Tarantino
Tarantino was a pioneer of the cinematic universe, supposedly setting all his films in the same world. Which is interesting when you remember that means that in Pulp Fiction World War Two ended when the Nazi leaders were killed by a Jewish cinema owner, which apparently had a very minimal effect on history. Captain Coons didn’t even mention it to baby Butch.
Tarantino was even rumoured to be working on a Vega Brothers film, featuring Pulp Fiction‘s Vincent Vega and Reservoir Dogs‘ Vic Vega. But since Vince dies on screen any joint film would need to be a prequel, which could be tricky considering John Travolta and Michael Madsen are both 25 years older.
The other big barrier to an all-Tarantino ensemble film is the fact the director uses the same actors repeatedly. But Samuel L Jackson is very versatile, and who wouldn’t like to see Jules Winnfield dealing out some divine retribution on Ordell Robbie? And it wouldn’t be a cinematic universe movie without Jackson in it.
2. Phyllida Lloyd
I know what you’re thinking. Phyllida Lloyd has only directed two films. But wouldn’t a kitsch Mamma Mia!/Iron Lady mashup be perfect? Thatcher dancing through Parliament, Colin Firth taking his shirt off, double Meryl. What’s not to love? And with Lloyd’s trademark ‘so bad it’s funny’ style, it’s a guaranteed riot. Which Thatcher should know how to handle.
3. Charlie Kaufman
Ok so we’re talking films written by Kaufman as well as those he directed. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s troubled, obsessive playwright from Synecdoche, New York encounters John Cusack’s puppeteer from Being John Malkovich. Maybe they break out of the film world and encounter Kaufman himself and his twin brother (played by Nicolas Cage, of course).
With themes about the struggle of the creative process and the obsessive pursuit of perfection forming major themes in his work, it’s ripe for a truly thought-provoking crossover movie, and the only one on our list that would feature the director themselves.
4. Alfred Hitchcock
Who wouldn’t want to see Norman Bates attacked by birds? It would be like they were taking revenge for all that taxidermy.
Ones we wouldn’t
1. George Lucas
Imagine if if turned out all George Lucas’s films took place in the same universe! We’d finally get to see everyone’s favourite Lucas characters on screen together. Han Solo meets Boba Fett, Obi Wan Kenobi takes on Darth Vader and Luke visits Yoda on Dagobah. Ok, so it would just be another Star Wars film, but with cameos from the cast of American Graffiti and THX-1138. Maybe not.
2. Stanley Kubrick
Kubrick’s ouvre is so varied this one might be tricky. But with the infinite possibilities presented by having access to the Overlook Hotel, a milk bar, the Vietnam War, ancient Rome and outer space it could be a wild ride. 2001: A Space Odyssey could allow it a sci-fi, time travel plot to hold it all together. But as such standalone works of art, you’d need a director nothing short of Kubrick’s skill to make it work, so unfortunately it’s not really a goer.
3. Peter Jackson
King Kong attacks Minas Tirith! Hmmm. No.
4. Steven Spielberg
Spielberg may be one of the greatest living filmmakers, having excelled in every type of film from sci-fi, to action adventures to serious dramas and thrillers. But it’s this variety that would make a shared universe very tonally confused.
While the thrill of seeing Indiana Jones take on Jaws or ET boarding the ship from Close Encounters is enticing, things start to fall apart when you imagine Meryl Streep deciding whether to publish a Washington Post exposé on security failings at a dinosaur theme park, or Abraham Lincoln taking on the video game universe of Ready Player One.
5. The Wachowskis
If anyone has the grand vision and film making ability to deliver a sci-fi shared universe of epic proportions it’s not the Wachowskis, who have never managed to live up to the promise of their early career.
The shamelessly derivative Jupiter Ascending already ripped off numerous other films in the genre, including the Star Wars prequels and the Wachowskis’ own Matrix trilogy, and if its quality is anything to go by, a shared universe of Wachowski films would make audiences unplug with some urgency.