The Marvel Cinematic Universe (#MCU) is both credited and blamed for starting the current trend of shared cinematic universes, wherein stand-alone movies form a larger interconnected story.
But as popular and successful as Marvel's experiment has been, it wasn't the first cinematic universe to be created. Without further ado, here are seven shared cinematic universes that came before Marvel.
1. Alien Vs Predator (#AVP)
#Fox has the fortunate position of owning the rights to two of the most iconic, murderous aliens ever seen on the big screen: the #xenomorphs from Alien and the titular #Predators. Given the lucrative sales of AVP comics and video games, it made perfect sense for Fox to let the galaxy's most feared hunters track down the galaxy's deadliest nightmares on the big screen.
Unfortunately, AVP: Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs Predator: Requiem failed to live up to both critical and financial expectations, convincing Fox to indefinitely scrap any and all future AVP projects. Instead, the studio concentrated on giving these iconic creatures their own respective movies that will hopefully spawn new franchises.
2. The Pixar Universe
Fans have always had a great time finding links between #Pixar movies such as familiar brands (i.e. Buy n Large, Pizza Planet) and objects (such as the famous Pixar ball), but it was only recently that the animation studio confirmed many of these fan-favorite observations through a pair of promotional Oh My Disney! videos.
Check out one of these informative videos below.
Though these connections confirm that Wall-E takes place after the events of movies like Inside Out, Ratatouille and Toy Story, while The Good Dinosaur predates them all, Pixar has yet to explain how Cars fits into their shared universe.
Cars stands out as the only Pixar movie about sentient inanimate objects that lacks human beings, and Pixar has yet to explain how a bunch of cars came to life after humanity supposedly died out, or at the very least, evacuated Earth as seen in Wall-E.
If fans are lucky, it's possible that we could see another Oh my Disney! video about this due to the upcoming release of Cars 3.
3. The Tarantino/Rodriguez Multiverse
Due to recurring brands (i.e. Big Kahuna Burgers, Red Apple Tobacco) and familial bonds (such as the Vega brothers), fans theorized that the movies of Quentin Tarantino are part of a singular, coherent timeline. #Tarantino not only confirmed this in an interview, but revealed that there are two distinct planes of existence in which his works reside.
As Tarantino said, there is a "realer than real universe" and a fictional "movie universe" in his films:
"There’s the realer than real universe, and all the characters inhabit that one. Then there’s this 'movie' universe, so 'From Dusk Till Dawn' and 'Kill Bill' take place in this special movie universe. Basically, when the characters from 'Reservoir Dogs' or 'Pulp Fiction' go to the movies, 'Kill Bill' and 'From Dusk Till Dawn' is what they go see."
Robert Rodriguez's works are also a part of this canon, albeit as features in the "realer than real universe."
These characters also inhabit a world where the South was won by the slave-turned-bounty hunter Django (Jamie Foxx), and where the Basterds won World War II by killing the Nazi high command in a movie theater - hence society's fascination with violence and cinema.
4. Toho's Kaiju Universe
Before Warner Brothers officially started its #MonsterVerse with Godzilla and this year's Kong: Skull Island (which would eventually lead up to Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020), #Godzilla was already a part of a greater cinematic universe also populated by giant monsters.
#Kaijus such as Mothra and Rodan (and of course, King Kong) appeared in their own stand-alone movies before they were brought over to meet Godzilla in the nuclear lizard's own Toho movies. Many of these monsters saw newfound popularity as Godzilla's friend or foe, and soon became mainstays in Godzilla's growing line-up of fellow giant monsters.
The Toho monsters had many crossovers, but the most memorable ones include all-out battle royales. Notable all-out brawls include Godzilla vs. Gigan (aka Godzilla On Monster Island) that primarily took place in Monster Island, and Godzilla Final Wars, which served as Godzilla's epic swan song before the reboots.
- The MonsterVerse And 5 Other Unlikely Upcoming Shared Cinematic Universes Heading Our Way
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- The Success Of The MCU's Shared Universe Comes At A Cost
5. The Classic Universal Monsters
When Universal Pictures announced that their newest take on #TheMummy would launch a new shared universe featuring the #UniversalMonsters as occult themed anti-heroes, naysayers groaned and accused Universal of scraping the barrel for its MCU rip-off. Ironically, this is not only one of Universal's oldest ideas but was even the first major shared cinematic universe.
During the '30s and '40s, Universal made a name for itself by churning out the most iconic depictions of horror movie monsters to date. From Frankenstein's monster to the Invisible Man, Universal immortalized many of these monsters on the big screen. To capitalize on their success, Universal then decided to create innumerable crossovers.
The monsters would be portrayed by their iconic actors in pretty much every kind of genre imaginable. For example, Bela Lugosi would reprise his legendary take on Dracula multiple times in horror collaborations like House Of Dracula (which also featured the Wolf Man), and comedies such as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
6. Kevin Smith's 'View Askewniverse'
Indie poster-boy #KevinSmith made a name for himself with his quirky, stoner comedies during the '90s that featured the famous duo, Jay and Silent Bob. As it turns out, these particular movies are all part of a single drug trip and not just a collection of vignettes that starred some of the geekiest marijuana advocates known to man.
Named after Smith's production company, View Askew Productions, the #ViewAskeweniverse consists of any Smith film that featured the aforementioned tandem, with some movies taking place mere days before or after a previous entry. The overarching story revolves around the mundane lives of the people (including cameo king Stan Lee himself) who Jay and Silent Bob meet, and how these offbeat encounters affect everyone involved.
The View Askewniverse also branched out into other forms of media, including comic books and animated adaptations. One of these animated features even depicted the events of the fictional comic Bluntman and Chronic, which in turn was created by the protagonists of Chasing Amy and is a central plot point of the upcoming Jay And Silent Bob Reboot.
7. The Sandlerverse
#AdamSandler has been criticized for supposedly being unable to move on from his heyday in the '90s. This resulted in many of his movies being indistinguishable from each other, but if a conspiracy theory is to be believed, this is because each of Sandler's works takes place in the same universe where these similarities are the status quo.
According to Shawn Kohne, almost every character Sandler and his colleagues portrayed exist in the same world. From recurring personalities such as The Townie (known for yelling "You can do it!"), to the enduring O'Doyle bloodline and a children's book, movies from Adam Sandler and Happy Madison (including those he didn't star in) share deep connections that go as far back as the comedian's days on Saturday Night Live.
The theory was uploaded to Youtube last year, and has yet to acknowledge Sandler's collaborations with Netflix, three of which have been released so far.
Given how it's highly unlikely that Sandler will change his formula any time soon, it wouldn't be surprising to find out that The Ridiculous 6 is actually connected to the retro video-game themed world seen in Pixels, where Kevin James was the president of the United States.