Are you ready for the Hasbro Cinematic Universe? No? Well too bad, because one is coming to you.
And Hasbro Studios/Allspark Pictures are getting serious about it. The Hollywood Reporter stats they have plans to join their G.I.Joe, M.A.S.K, Micronauts, Visionaries and ROM properties into one shared universe, and have created a brain trust featuring Pulitzer Prize and Oscar winners among its number.
The writing staff is overseen by Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman and features a line up that looks really good on paper:
- Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize winning writer of the comic business set The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay
- Brian K. Vaughan, Eisner Award winning writer of Y the Last Man and Saga, show runner on Under the Dome.
- Nicole Perlman, writer on Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel.
- Lindsey Beer, who was just hired to adapt Kingkiller Chronicle for Lionsgate
- Cheo Coker, showrunner of Marvel’s Netflix show Luke Cage
- John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the comedy writing team who penned Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Joe Robert Cole (a writer on People vs. OJ Simpson who is also writing Black Panther for Marvel)
- Jeff Pinkner, who wrote the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower)
- Nicole Riegel (writer behind the Blacklist script Dogfight)
- Geneva Robertson (one of the writers of new Tomb Raider movie project).
It’s pretty obvious that Hasbro is top loading its writing room with award-winning scribes with geek leaning sensibilities or anyone who has worked on Marvel Comics project in the last five years. But before we all get excited, let us remember that Goldsman holds the same position over the Transformers’ writing room, and that is the most critically lambasted franchise in recent memory. However, the number of female writers on the list and an expressed interest in diverse voices in the work does give hope that these will be films aimed at every customer no matter what their chromosomal make up.
Another obstacle is the properties being adapted, as not all might make an exciting movie. Here’s a primer to all that was announced.
Most of you should be at least passingly familiar with this one, as two films have been released featuring the characters. Another sequel has long been in the works, and characters from the M.A.S.K. toy line were rumored to be part of the film as early as last February.
This toy line, introduced in 1985, is perhaps the most ready for a big screen transfer. Part-G.I.Joe and part-Transformers, the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand fought the forces of the Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem (V.E.N.O.M.) with vehicles such as cars that could transform into jets and special masks that could give its wearers special powers. It is a natural fit with Hasbro’s two current film franchises adapted from toys. I mean, Cobra? Venom? Hello?
Almost completely based on the Microman toy line in Japan, the Micronauts hit America’s shores in 1975 courtesy of the Mego Corporation. The story that was carried over was that they were residents of a much smaller Earth who hid out as toys in our Earth. This backstory was fleshed out in the numerous Marvel Comics series, which trapped them in the “Microverse” (a pre-existing subatomic land) and added a number of new characters to the team. These new characters exist in sort of a limbo, technically, Hasbro (which picked up the license after a long line of owners) owns these newly created character, yet can’t use them because they are too fully ensconced in the Marvel universe. Should be interesting to see how they work with that.
Visionaries, Knights of the Magical Light:
Now we come to the remainder bin section of Hasbro’s properties. This line was based on the idea that kids would think holograms were the coolest things ever. They didn’t. The line was a failure, as were its tie-in comic book and cartoon.
The story involved space knights who had special panels built into their armor. The armor contained a picture of their spirit animal, and bestowed the night with super powers based on the abilities of the animal. The fact that they were space knights would tie in nicely with….
ROM, The Space Knight
Rom was a toy designed by a board game company, Parker Brothers, and it showed. It was cheap, had limited articulation and substituted flashing lights and sounds for play value. This was another bomb, but this time the comic book adaptation far out lasted the product it was created to promote.
The Marvel comic book based on doll ran for seven years and fleshed out the toy’s backstory. ROM became a knight dedicated with destroying the Dire Wraiths, an alien race that would infiltrate other worlds by killing and duplicating its citizens. Along the way, he comes in contact with a number of Marvel’s greatest superheroes.
Nothing is known about whether or not the Transformers franchise will be part of the shared universe or not. More on the line of films will be passed along as things develop.