With Avengers: Infinity War shattering box-office records, the concept of a cinematic universe has never been stronger. Charlie Lopresto is here with a look at how the shared universe phenomenon formed.
Shared universes have been part of our storytelling culture since ancient times, but the recent success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Avengers Infinity War has rocketed the concept of shared cinematic universes into the forefront. But beyond movie universes, the concept of a shared universe goes much deeper than the MCU, the DCEU, the Dark Universe, the Monsterverse, superheroes, or even comics.
Before film, there was mythology, novels, and comic books, and even before the Avengers and Justice League, there were already shared universe movies in the form of Universal’s classic monsters. A movie universe is one thing, but the concept of shared universe explained a lot about our relationship to fiction. Any shared universe analysis, shared universe history, theory or theories in a video essay can’t touch every aspect of shared universes in fiction, but the history of shared universes can help shine a light on what it is about the MCU and Avengers Infinity War that ignites peoples’ passion, and makes them want to watch more.