What If These Movies Went to Space (or to Earth)?
Have you ever laid back on a fine and idle Sunday afternoon to enjoy a movie with family and friends, and somewhere between the opening logo and end credits an idea, wild yet resilient, suddenly hit you. This movie, whichever it might be, would be a hella lot more on point, if everyone just went to space!
No? Never? Okay, it's probably just me.
But seriously (or as seriously as this topic permits), it may not be as absurd as it initially sounds. After all, Jason Voorhees went to space once, and aren't we all waiting for that space-bound Machete Kills Again? Well, perhaps not the best examples to help my case.
Regardless, let's have some fun and break down whether these currently most popular movie franchises will benefit from a small trip beyond the exosphere and how likely that's going to happen. And in the relatively rare cases where the franchise in question is already based in outer space, we'll discuss the plausibility of bringing them home.
"Pirates of the Caribbean" in SPACE?
It's no secret that Disney's amusement ride turned blockbuster movie series hanging on Johnny Depp's individual appeal is literally and figuratively in dead waters these days, the latest entry Dead Men Tell No Tales appearing particularly stale and disposable, albeit still a financial success. In that regard, almost any new direction is a welcoming one, and if we were to be completely honest, Captain Jack and his fellow filthy pirates have sailed to more absurd places than space at this point.
For once, bringing a franchise from earth to space might actually reduce the monstrous budget as is norm for the Pirates franchise or other water-bound titles, so the studio would definitely consider that angle if there were any plausibility. But nope. No curse from any Greek god nor any mythical artifact would justify an 18th century East Indian galleon going full warp speed across the Milky Way.
It's totally cool to be a space pirate though.
"Godzilla or Kong" in SPACE?
Embracing an overall concept of giant monsters, the fledgling MonsterVerse certainly appeals to a very open-minded audience, who just might be down for some space kaiju action. And wouldn't you know it, it's actually been done before. The Toho movie Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) involved aliens from the Planet X borrowing Godzilla and Rodan to help them battle King Ghidorah on their own planet, ending with the above immortalized victory dance.
That idea of aliens borrowing giant monsters from Earth probably wouldn't fly as well with a modern audience, but the franchise certainly isn't above space battles in terms of self-awareness. It takes a lot of justification and stretching of believability to allow established monsters such as Godzilla and Kong to be transported anywhere else, but it could happen further down the line with more space-based monsters introduced, provided that the shared universe sustains that long. However, an unfamiliar environment such as another planet threatens to undermine the sense of scale these creatures of epic proportions bring on the silver screen, which is a central part of the basic reasoning behind watching them: to feel small and be in awe.
Not completely out of question, but don't hold your breath. (Get it? Because in space you can't brea...wait, that doesn't make sense.)
"Fast & Furious" in SPACE?
Within the past 16 years, this humble niche franchise that began as a Point Break cousin with street racing has exponentially evolved into a multi-billion dollar phenomenon with Dom and his "family" having raced victoriously against other cars, tanks, planes and a giant-ass submarine. Taking on spaceships seems to be the logical next step as the franchise shows no sign of slowing down.
What started as a chuckle among fans is in fact holding a lot of water right now. Both F. Gary Gray (director of The Fate of the Furious) and Chris Morgan (longtime producer and writer since Tokyo Drift) have confirmed that the idea of going outer space isn't out of the realm of possibility. We might just see a live action Wipeout feature starring Vin Diesel, the Rock and Jason Statham, and that image is pure candy to my morbid curiosity. There's of course the question of how earth-based physics could be adapted unto another dimension, but who are we kidding? At this point, the F&F movies are physically less plausible than Star Wars.
"DC Extended Universe" in SPACE?
The world of DC is no stranger to alien worlds. The very first 10 minutes of this franchise starting with 2013's Man of Steel was set on the planet of Krypton. Superman, himself an alien, since his arrival as a baby has helped battle and defeat multiple extraterrestrial threats: General Zod, Doomsday and Steppenwolf. Let's be very optimistic and assume that the current rendition of DCEU gets a rejuvenation at some point in near future to ensure its long-term existence, could the recently formed Justice League end up on some space mission like countless comics and animations have done before?
Of the myriad of projects currently in development for the DCEU, one name stands out as the likeliest candidate for an all-space title: Green Lantern Corps (2020). The consensus suggests that while the main characters would be Lanterns from Earth, such as Hal Jordan and John Stewart, the movie would depict an all out war between the Lanterns and the Sinestro Corps. The planet of Oa will almost certainly be a major feature, and it would be a squander of potential if that huge intergalactic battle ends up on Earth.
Beyond that, nothing concrete has been set up. But when Darkseid inevitably shows up, as has been constantly teased as of late, his appropriately named planet of Apokolips is a safe bet for at least some scenes. It's doubtful that many members of JL would even be able to leave Earth at this point. Even Superman, requiring constant energy charging from our yellow sun, hasn't left Earth's orbit since he arrived. Perhaps Bruce Wayne could make space suits for everyone? Or, to put it more bluntly, get Alfred to make them?
"Marvel Cinematic Universe" in SPACE?
This one is a no-brainer, as it's actually happened several times already. Both Guardians of the Galaxy movies and Thor: Ragnarok were intergalactic adventures that featured brief scenes on Earth, and previous Thor movies were more or less split in half on this matter. The real question is, will we ever see the Earth-bound heroes, Iron Man, Cap, Widow, Falcon, Spidey, Panther...traveling to some alien worlds? Assuming of course that they survive the Infinity War. Bruce Banner recently found himself on the planet of Sakaar and the result was hilarious. We'll get a taste of something similar when the Guardians arrive on Earth, and the potential fun they could have with their "fish out of water" scenario is almost too easy for the Russo Brothers.
Indeed, a lot is dangling on the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War and the yet-to-be-titled Avengers 4. Only until the third phase of MCU is finished could we gain any solid perceptions into what future holds for this mega-franchise. Never before have so many fantasy elements been jammed into one level of existence on this magnitude, so in the unique case of MCU, sky isn't even the beginning of the limit. Whether they will travel to the subatomic world or entirely other dimensions is the real question here.
"Transformers" in SPACE?
Michael Bay's prolific film series based on the Hasbro line of merchandise has toyed (get it?) with some blurring lines, that of men and machine, live action and animation, feature film and extended commercial, sequels and soft rehashes, dumb fun and just plain dumb. Pretty edgy, wouldn't you say? For a franchise centering on giant robots dropping from the sky, their offworld tales have been criminally underplayed while way too much screen time has instead been spent on Sam's mom getting high on weed. The story of the Transformers started because a boy bought a car that happened to be Bumblebee, and therein lies its soul. We get that, but you'd think after 5 movies within 11 years with essentially the identical plot, we'd have moved on by now. It hardly takes Einstein reincarnated to note that the franchise is in dire need of a change of scenery, and equally obvious is that pre- or post-war Cybertron is the go-to place for exactly that.
Here's me praying to every deity, real or fictional, to make this happen. A prequel set during the war of Cybertron would be a welcome change of pace, not to mention an opportunity to delve into the human side of the robots, their camaraderie and ideological conflicts. Say goodbye to annoying human drama, excessive pandering to U.S. military and cheeky product placements. An entirely alien setting might risk a surge in SFX budgets, however if the plot is well streamlined, there's no reason for a Transformers movie to last 150 minutes in the first place.
It probably won't happen as long as Michael Bay is still in charge, but the upcoming Bumblebee standalone will be the first in the series with someone else at the helm, which is an optimistic sign that Paramount is at least open to ideas.
"Star Wars" on Earth?
The Star Wars stories took place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, which is a setting as removed from our reality as can be. The galaxy of Milky Way as we know it isn't even a factor in this beloved and humongously-profitable franchise, thus the very idea that some Stardestroyer hyperspacing into our solar system, magnificent as it would be, is entirely preposterous. It's also difficult to imagine any character visiting an Earth where Star Wars the movies never took place, because what a strange place that would be. In fact, that's an intriguing alternate reality that could be a solid movie pitch. You're welcome, Hollywood.
Not in a million years. If fans could be offended by the image of Luke milking an four-breasted alien creature, the idea that Star Wars could in any way be related to our reality would ignite such unfathomable outrage that the odds of successfully surviving the aftermath would be approximately 3,720 to 1. That's not saying you couldn't somehow bring Star Wars elements into a real world setting, such as the kid in Wonder seeing the Emperor and Chewbacca with him at school because he's an introvert fan. Use your imagination, people at Hollywood who actually get paid for coming up with ideas like this.
"Star Trek" on Earth?
Not that Earth isn't a major part of Star Trek, it is. In this universe, Earth serves as one of the founding members of the United Federation of Planets as well as the location of critical institutions such as the Starfleet Academy. Most of our main characters throughout the years are humans from Earth. Most Star Trek movies contain a few scenes that take place on Earth, but it's never the focus of the narrative, which is all too understandable, since the motto of the franchise is literally "boldly going where no man has gone before". But call it sheer curiosity after hundreds of episodes and 13 feature films, I, for one, am dying to know what life on future Earth for a normal human is like, living in a world where international conflicts have ceased, replaced with the threat of intergalactic annihilation. What is it like to have a Vulcan as a boss, a Ferengi as a neighbor and a Cardassian as a drinking buddy?
As fate would have it, legendary director Quentin Tarantino is reported to be working on an R-rated Star Trek standalone film, aided by the writing talent of The Revenant. This is legitimately the most hardcore movie news I've heard for a while. With Quentin's untamed, unpredictable and unapologetic touch, there's every chance that the running joke of "a human, a Klinggon and a Romulan walks into a bar" becomes reality. Naturally, even Quentin probably wouldn't set the film on Earth as a major location, since it's his first sci-fi venture, he'd most likely seize the opportunity to go all out (not that he's ever held back). But a month earlier, I'd say the odds for an Earth-based Star Trek film is below zero, and now, it's above.
"Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts" in SPACE?
The whole idea of magic is inherently contradictory to science, which is most space-based movies are about. Oh that good old science vs faith squabble. Only Star Wars has ever succeeded in organically fusing both elements together and not looking ridiculous. Okay, it's actually still quite ridiculous, but it's also awesome. Seeing a wizard flying in deep space or even on some magical vehicle that allows space travel probably will be more than a bit ridiculous, but not so awesome.
One of the biggest charm of Harry Potter and its ongoing prequel series is the idea that a fantastic magical world is hiding inside our own. Going to space or other planets fundamentally undermines the very reason we were drawn to the franchise in the first place. So nope, unless J.K. Rowling is put under some Imperius Curse, it's not gonna happen.
"Indiana Jones" in SPACE?
Pitching the next Indiana Jones movie is one of the most difficult things in the world, as it requires the unanimous consent from Spielberg, Ford and whoever at LucasFilm being in charge of this franchise (not George anymore), as well as their availability. It's a series that, at its prime, focused on adventures about religious artifacts, but has since moved onto sci-fi to a certain degree, to mixed reception. Maybe the constantly delayed Indiana Jones 5 will see the acclaimed archaeologist ride a rocket up on cloud number nine?
Timeline-wise, it'd actually make some sense. Since the previous movie took place in the 1950s to coincide with Ford's real life age, and took on an alien storyline because it was the theme of the time, the fifth movie would naturally in set in the 1960s, which was exactly the right era for the U.S. to send whoever available out of Earth's orbit in competition with the USSR. However, since the alien...oops sorry, "interdimensional beings"...approach from the previous movie wasn't exactly a fanfare darling, it's difficult to imagine LucasFilm going anywhere near there in the forseeable future.
"007/Mission:Impossible/Jason Bourne" in SPACE?
James Bond actually has had an entire third act take place in a space station in Moonraker (1979), starring the late Sir Roger Moore. Even at that era of post-Star Wars space craze, the image of the Martini-drinking, GT-riding, suit-wearing and womanizing MI6 secret agent floating around in a space suit shooting lasers never quite sat well with the audiences. As for Ethan Hunt and Jason Bourne, neither has even so much as dabbled with space missions, nor were there any such indications for future installments.
Of the three, Ethan Hunt seems the most appropriate candidate if a space spy film has to be made out of the three. Tom Cruise has repeatedly put his life on the line and his stuntmen out of work by personally performing on-set acts of insanity from climbing the Burj Khalifa in Dubai to clinging to an airborne plane for a good 20 minutes, and with his crazy stunts becoming a staple for the series as well as any Tom Cruise actioners, it's only reasonable that a future Mission: Impossible movie truly and literally goes above and beyond. Don't be surprised if you find Ethan Hunt hanging on the exterior hulk of a rocket climbing his way on some space station while holding his breath for 6 minutes, with Tom Cruise performing each of those tasks for real.
With the cloudy nature of the future of James Bond, it's difficult to speculate where the franchise might go. Should another reboot be in the order, we must question once again what the brand could possibly do to feel fresh after 55 years and 24 movies. While improbable, a space Bond isn't entirely out of the question at this moment when all wild ideas are being thrown on the table. The Bourne franchise, on the other hand, while feeling a tad bit exhausted at this point, has always thrived on its sense of realism and groundedness, which is the exact opposite of going anywhere near space. Unless the idea is to leave Matt Damon stranded on some planet, in which case, it totally needs to be done.
"Toy Story" in SPACE?
The beautiful thing about the idea of a "Toy Story in space" is that it doesn't require the toys to ACTUALLY go to space. All it takes is a space-themed playhouse or similar areas, and Woody and gang would be on an alien planet. Well, not really, but that makes little difference to the toys.
Of all the wild what-ifs I've put up in this article, this probably makes the most sense. Apart from the aforementioned easiness of setting up such an environment, one of the two main protagonists is literally a Space Ranger, a popular toyline that comes with all sorts of auxiliary commodities, video games, animations aaaaaaaaand...other toys! Buzz Lightyear-themed toy house? Why not? There're also the "claws" aliens and their toy spaceship. Maybe, with a story that meets the insane standards set up by its predecessors, it's time for Toy Story to truly soar "to infinity and beyond".
"Slaher movies" in SPACE?
Farcical as it might sound, those familiar with their fictional serial murderers would know that this has actually been done before. In 2001, Jason X was released as the 10th installment of Friday the 13th, set in the far future so as not to interrupt with the then-upcoming Freddy vs. Jason. The movie saw Jason Voorhees, who was known for haunting the Camp Crystal Lake area, brought inside a Trek-ish spaceship, where he wakes up and embarks on a killing spree. Then there was Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), taking place in the future inside a space station, where the protagonist set an elaborate trap for Pinhead the Cenobite. Suffice to say, space and the slasher genre haven't really meshed very well together so far.
With the trend of slasher remakes cooling down a bit, some of the most popular names are still aiming for their triumphant return. The upcoming Halloween (2018) appears to be the most ambitious slasher we've seen for quite some time, while the Friday the 13th reboot has given no concrete information other than the release date to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the franchise. Meanwhile, series such as Hellraiser and Child's Play are struggling between churning out pointless sequels and hitting that "reboot" button altogether. True, the genre is in dire need of new blood, but it's difficult to see any serious chance of seeing Leatherface on Mars wielding a laser chainsaw.
Here's an idea though: imagine humanity finally having had enough of these slasher bastards, and eventually resolving to banish each and every single one of them onto some alien planet. Then we got a Civil War situation between Freddy, Jason, Chucky, Michael Myers, Leatherface, Pinhead...anybody you can think of, duking it out under a binary sunset. I'm in!
Any other movie franchise that, in your opinion, has a chance of going through such a colossal shift in scenery? Put it down in the comment section and share.