James Gunn Thinks Shared Universes Are Flawed

Although director James Gunn recently joined the MCU with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, he happens to have a very strong opinion about shared universes…


Airing his opinions in a recent Facebook post, the Marvel director slammed the increasing trend of creating shared movie universes… especially in cases where the universe comes first.

“Listen, I love big a** shared universes in movies, as well as huge franchises,” he wrote. “But I’m a little worried about the numerous shared universes being planned by the studios, without having a strong base film to grow from — or in some cases, NO base film to grow from.”

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Of course, the 44-year-old filmmaker doesn’t want to bash every kind of shared universe. After all, he’s only just joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And he certainly seems to imply that the likes of ‘The Avengers’, ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘Star Wars’ and even the likes of ‘Transformers’ are alright, because they’re built from the success of a single film.

But it’s the increasingly manufactured nature of film franchises that’s bothering him…

“These days studios are trying to grow trees without a strong seed,” he wrote. “Execs and producers and sometimes even directors are focused on the big picture, without perfecting the task directly in front of them — making a great movie.”

Of course, Marvel itself has recently revealed a slate of movie releases which brings them up to the year 2020… and before them, Warner Bros. announced a similar slate of DC movies.

“In short, I think this new business model is flawed,” he added. “I think filmmakers and studios should be prepared for the big picture, but never, ever let it get in the way of making a single great film. Be a little more experimental and see what works as opposed to trying to force success.”

Of course, I have to agree with Gunn’s sentiments. After all, the notion of a shared movie universe is becoming more and more widespread, even edging into realms where it really shouldn’t.

For example, Universal’s upcoming shared ‘Monsters’ universe seems like nothing more than a cynical cash grab. And with hints that the franchise will take these horror-movie classics in a more action-oriented direction, it really seems like an attempt to artificially create success.

Will it work? For now, we’ll have to wait and see. But I have to agree with James Gunn – it seems as though they’re putting the cart before the horse.

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Picture Credit: Marvel