Cinematic Universes: What we've got & what's to come

Before we get into it, for anyone who doesn't know what a Cinematic Universe is, it's basically a series of movies that all take place in a single universe, allowing characters of different films to appear in another's film, because they live in the same world... or universe. That said, they are both popular and profitable because it allows for us, the fans, to follow our favorite characters through different films, and also build up to "events," in which many of these characters come together to deal with a single threat.

Now, with both the popularity and profitability, it seems like every studio is not only looking at which sequels and trilogies to make, but also, which franchises they can turn into their own cinematic universe. Let’s take a moment to see what we’ve got, and what’s in store for us.

Let’s start with the obvious one.


Marvel (Marvel/Disney)

For even those that hate this franchise, whether it’s because it has taken over the summer blockbusters, or because you’re a fan of their competitors, everyone, I think, can agree (at least arguably) that Marvel created the first cinematic universe. Taking a page straight from their own comics, they were the first to create a shared universe for their characters and have, thus far, continued to deliver a pretty cohesive story. Starting in 2008 with their surprise hit, Ironman, and now spread through 14 different films, Marvel has proved that they know what they’re doing and they’re not anywhere near done yet.

What’s coming up?

Phase 3 continued:
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Avengers: untitled Infinity War sequel (2019)

Phase 4?:
untitled Spider-man sequel (2019)
Untitled (2020)
Untitled (2020)
Untitled (2020)

What we’ve gotten so far:

Phase 1:
Iron Man (2008)
the Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Thor (2011)
Captain America: the First Avenger (2011)
Marvel’s Avengers (2012)

Phase 2:
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Thor: the Dark World (2013)
Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ant-Man (2015)

Phase 3:
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Doctor Strange (2016)

We can speculate what those last three are (and at NerdChronic we definitely have been!), but the bottom line is that Marvel is holding those box office release dates, so as per usual, they’ve got something planned. 


Spiderverse (Sony/Marvel)

Not to be confused with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), we have the Sony/Marvel Spider-man universe. At this time we don’t know if Tom Holland will be suiting up as Spider-man in these future films to further confuse the average moviegoer, or if they will recast him, or if our favorite teenage hero will even swing by for a cameo (chances are he will). That said, Sony has said that they are moving forward with their other movies in the spider-man universe, spinning out the characters that they hold the rights to. Currently, there is also a limit to the negotiated appearances of Spider-man in the MCU, so Sony may be setting something up for him to come home to.

What’s coming up?

Venom (2018)
Blackcat and Silversable (TBD)

What we’ve gotten so far:
We’re not sure if the Amazing Spider-man movies will tie into this universe, but if so:

Amazing Spiderman (2012)
Amazing Spiderman 2 (2014)


X-Men Universe (Fox/Marvel)

Again, not to be confused with the MCU, the X-men characters and films are owned by Fox Studios. This is the longest running franchise as far as cinematic universes go, and also where the word arguably comes in to play when referring to Disney’s MCU. Fox started the X-men films back in 2000, but they were not, and I would argue, still not, a true cinematic universe. Fox has the rights to any character that was created in an X-men comic book, but outside of the x-men films, and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, they have yet to create a true shared universe. What they’ve done thus far has been a reboot, which they then tied in to the original films, all of which seemed to be tied together, again, by Jackman’s Wolverine, and now with Jackman retiring the role, who knows what direction they will head in. Last heard they were rebooting again, only to then announce a sequel their latest x-men film, X-men: Apocalypse.

What’s coming up?

It’s hard to say as there are no hard release dates. But this is what we know right now.

the New Mutants (2018)
Gambit (TBD)

What we’ve gotten so far:

X-men (2000)
X2 (2003)
X-men: the Last Stand (2006)
X-men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
X-men: First Class (2011)
The Wolverine (2013)
X-men: Days of Future Past (2014)
X-men: Apocalypse (2016)
Logan (2017)


deadpoolverse (fox/marvel)

For those of you in the know about these things, you will have noticed a notable film not mentioned in the above X-men Universe, and as of now, who’s to say whether they do, or don’t, all exist in a shared universe. I’d like to say no, but I don’t call the shots at Fox. Again, not to be confused for the MCU, or (at least for the time being) the X-men universe, Deadpool and his pals seem to live in a world with different X-men. Introducing a Colossus that was very different from his portrayal in the x-men films, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, a character never before seen in the x-men films (and very different, both in appearance and powers from her comicbook counterpart), this tells us that this is a slightly different universe. In the future that may change, or Fox may decide to either incorporate it into their shared universe, making it increasingly more bizarre, or drop their old X-men universe and continue on with Deadpool, which did very well in the box office.

What’s coming up?  

Deadpool 2 (2018)
X-Force (TBD)

What we’ve gotten so far:

Deadpool (2016)



Finally moving on from Marvel and their many different partnerships, and sometimes confusing, separately shared universes, we have the D.C. Extended Universe (DCEU). Even while having the biggest names in comics, DC has somehow become the underdog to the behemoth that is the MCU, and are now struggling to catch up. With a mixed reception in 2013 to Man of Steel, and sadly, less well received films since then, it’s hard to know how far the DCEU plans to take this. For now, they carry on with film releases planned through 2020.

What’s coming up?
As far as what’s coming, the DCEU has promised a lot, but outside of these first two films set to be released in 2017, we just don’t know.

Wonder Woman (2017)
Justice League (2017)
Aquaman (2018)
the Flash (2018*)
the Batman (2018*)
Shazam (2019)
MAYBE Gotham City Sirens (2019)
MAYBE MoS 2, Lobo, or JL2 (2019)
Cyborg (2020)
Green Lantern Corps (2020)

*signs point to No.

What we’ve gotten so far:

Man of Steel (2013)
Batman v. Superman (2016)
Suicide Squad (2016)



Valiant Comics

Just one more comic book universe, I promise. With the success of the MCU and the growing presence of the DCEU, yet another comicbook company is throwing in their lot and creating a cinematic universe. Valiant, a property more obscure than the powerhouses that are Marvel and DC, has decided they will begin making films as well. Personally, with the growing concern of superhero fatigue, and of cinematic universes being a bit confusing to the average moviegoer, I think they may have missed the bus on this one, but who’s to say they don’t make an amazing set of films that we become collectively excited to watch. Time will tell.

What’s coming up?
As far as we know:

Bloodshot (2017? TBD)
Harbinger (TBD)
Bloodshot 2 (TBD)
Harbinger 2 (TBD)
Harbinger Wars (TBD) (Crossover Event)

What we’ve gotten so far: 



Star Wars Universe

Traditionally this isn’t really seen as a cinematic universe, but with Disney now creating spinoff films, openly stating that they would like to follow the Marvel Model, and including two television series (Clone Wars and Rebels) as canon, I would say that this could quickly become one. Beginning in 1977, this is one of the most beloved franchises, and even transcends generations. With skepticism now washed away with the release of Rogue One, I"m excited to see what comes next.

What we’ve gotten so far:

Original Trilogy:
IV – A New Hope (1977)
V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

Prequel Trilogy:
I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Sequel Trilogy:
VII – The Force Awakens (2015)

Anthology Films:
Rogue One (2016)

What’s coming up?

Sequel Trilogy continued:
VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)
IX – untitled (2019)

Anthology Films:
untitled Han Solo film (2018)
untitled film (2020)


Universal Monster

This is exactly what you probably think it is. A shared universe in which lives Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and I’m sure many more. Now, this has already been rebooted once, as Dracula Untold was supposed to kick off this universe, but because it was universally panned, they scrapped that and started over. That being said, do we really need or want this? I don’t know, maybe some people do. I’ll say this, the talent that they have attached is enough to pique my interest.

What’s coming up?

The Mummy (2017)
untitled – the Invisible man (TBD)
untitled – the Creature from the Black Lagoon (TBD)
untitled – Jekyll and Hyde (TBD)
untitled – Bride of Frankenstein (TBD)
untitled – the Wolf Man (TBD)
untitled – Van Helsing (TBD)

What we’ve gotten so far:

Dracula Untold (2014) - (scrapped)



What’s a Kaiju? It means strange creature in Japanese, but is generally the translation for Giant Monster. That said, this is a universe in which Godzilla can go toe-to-toe with King Kong, and that’s kind of exciting. This universe kicked off with the reboot of Godzilla in 2014, and is carried on in the recent film, Kong: Skull Island. With this franchise actually gearing up to bring those two monsters to blows, who knows what else we may see. Rodan? Mothra? A giant, freaking, robot with human pilots?? For now, I’m in.

What we’ve gotten so far:

Godzilla (2014)
Kong: Skull Island (2017)

What’s coming up?

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
Godzilla vs. Kong (2020)



When Lego first announced a movie, everyone thought it would be stupid, well it’s not, and it’s actually the perfect place to build a cinematic universe, as they own the rights to so many characters… in lego form.  Cap that off with these movies just being a delight for children and adults of all ages, and you’ve got the makings of a successful cinematic universe. Everything is awesome.

What’s coming up?

The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)
The Lego Movie Sequel (2019)
The Billion Brick Race (2019)

What we’ve gotten so far:

The Lego Movie (2014)
The Lego Batman Movie (2017)


call of duty

Activision has plans to create an entire cinematic universe around their Call of Duty franchise. They don’t have much planned and nothing slated to release just yet, but apparently it’s coming. I can’t say I’m excited for this, but the idea also doesn’t seem terrible, so I’ll just say I’m interested in what they may release. The Call of Duty Cinematic Universe. That’s a mouthful. Let’s just call it the CoDaverse until they come up with something better.

What’s coming up?
Nothing concrete. This is what Stacey Sher told the Guardian:
"There’ll be a film that feels more like Black Ops, the story behind the story. The Modern Warfare series looks at what it’s like to fight a war with the eyes of the world on you. And then maybe something that is more of a hybrid, where you are looking at private, covert operations, while a public operation is going on."

Sounds like they’re still figuring it out.

What we’ve gotten so far:



Remember all your favorite toys as a kid? Well Hasbro wants to make a cinematic universe out of it, and they’ve already started. Now before you write this off as garbage, some of the writers they’ve collected for this are quite good, and it seems they’re really taking their time to map this out. The second thing I’d like to point out, and I know I already said no more comicbook universes, but if you look at the image I’ve set beside this, I have a sneaking suspicion that these could be the storyboards for what could make this shared universe. Also, in their respective comics, they’ve already done just that, and that includes the transformers… so maybe some time in the future we could see all our favorite characters from our childhood bang it out on the big screen... though to be honest, we have no idea how Visionaries is going to tie into this and if you're familiar with that property, I'm sure you share that notion.

What’s coming up?

These are all pretty early in the world building stage so what we know is subject to change.
GIJoe (TBD) (Reboot)
Micronauts (TBD)
Visionaries (TBD)
M.A.S.K. (TBD)
Rom (TBD)

What we’ve gotten so far:
I think it’s safe to say that the GIJoe films we’ve gotten so far would not be included in this new, shared universe, so I’m going to say:


The Disney Princess Universe

I suppose if us boys get to live out our childhood on the big screen, the girls should get to as well. I honestly have no idea what this is, and the talk for this has just recently started, but as the story goes, a spec script has been making the rounds in Hollywood and is being pitched as an Avengers-style team-up. This would feature the classic, Disney princesses, although they may not be exactly as we remember.  If it’s an avengers-style team up then I’m assuming a bit less of the dainty princess who needs constant rescuing, and bit more of the warrior princess who can save herself, thank-you-very-much. Either way, sounds interesting.


That’s all we know about Cinematic Universes for now. Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know if there was something we missed.

And if you’re interested, click play below to listen to us discuss this on our podcast.
As always, thanks for reading!