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Comic book movies go from franchises to competing among shared universes

Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, and Captain America at Orlando's Megaconvention
Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, and Captain America at Orlando's Megaconvention
Photo by Tony Smejek

According to The Hollywood Reporter on Jan. 6, comic book movie franchises and Hollywood has developed something known as "Marvel envy" where it appears that other studios are attempting to join the bandwagon of interlocking their solo films into their own brand of shared universes. It all started off with Marvel Studios' 2008 release of "Iron Man" and further snowballed into other solo films such as "Captain America: The First Avenger", "The Incredible Hulk", "Iron Man 2", and "Thor". All five of which combined forces in Joss Whedon's "The Avengers".

Now, other studios such as Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Brothers are jumping on the "shared universe" bandwagon.

Sony Pictures is getting the ball rolling with "The Amazing Spider-Man" franchise as the corporation hired on five writers to take the webslinger beyond "The Amazing Spider-Man 2". Drew Goddard, Ed Solomon, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, and Alex Kurtzman were the "fantastic five" hired on in December to launch Peter Parker into universe. Most interesting though is the fact that there's a more villain focused theme when it comes to the future of the "Spider-Man" franchise. Villain groups such as the Sinister Six and the Parker's arch-rival, Venom, are characters that are thought to be the future of Sony Picture's vision.

20th Century Fox's "X-Men" franchise is going through it's own method as they move forward with with their universe. Already they had spawned off solo films that involve the Wolverine character as played by Hugh Jackman which gives fans an idea of what his origin story is all about. Writer Simon Kinberg, who has worked with Bryan Singer, states that there are even plans of combining the X-Men to join the Fantastic Four cast of characters in future films.

"I have a lot of ideas on how to build those brands and do what everybody is thinking of these days: Be like Marvel".

Now, Warner Brothers, who is mainly involved in the DC Cinematic Universe, is doing its own thing with "Man of Steel" being the stepping stone into the shared universe. The sequel, "Batman vs. Superman", which will star Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and the return of Henry Cavill as Superman.

That being said, there are plans in the works for a combined force of superheroes in a "Justice League" film.