The success of the MCU, predictably, led to every other film studio deciding that they absolutely must create a shared universe. The problem is that it’s not really working for anyone at all – oh sure, Kong: Skull Island was ok, in terms of reviving Universal properties in a way that is interesting, and Wonder Woman has finally managed to make the DCU look like something more than a tire fire upon which reasonable ideas are sacrificed in favor of ever-grimmer, ever-grittier spectacle, but each of those is, so far, a standalone island in an ocean of absolute garbage.
But the whole thing continues unabated. Presumably this recently-announced live-action The Jetsons is eventually meant to tie into the HBCU 1, and who can even predict whatever dumb nonsense is going to come around after that? At this rate, every property with a tenuous link to another property will have to be tried out, and probably tried out for years at a time – plans are made in advance, funding secured, international deals made, and there’s no way to pull out of these things in any kind of timely fashion at all.
Every property, that is, except the most obvious. Journey with me to a land of a shared property that comes around but once a year, when things become decidedly spooky, and the world seems a little bit darker. Come with me to someplace a little…sweeter. A place that’s, perhaps, a part of, say, a balanced world.
We open on Alfred, but the voiceover comes from our POV character, who will be following Alfred. His name is Bruce.
“That guy? That’s Al. He used to be the worst of us, I hear. Frank – you’ll meet Frank later – Frank always said that he’s the most driven – he would scare people to death sometimes. It was a problem.”
We watch the person onscreen splash through puddles – it should be rainy, like Alex Proyas rainy, just a general sense that even if water isn’t falling from the sky now, it could be. These are clearly characters who are going to do better when they’re wet.
“But times change. People soften. He used to be a danger to children, particularly – they’re drawn to him, somehow. Frank – he’s not my brother, but we have the same name – remembers the earliest days, before they even made themselves known in the world, and remembers that everybody knew that Alfred was going to be the star.”
We watch Alfred approach a door in a building.
“Nobody really knows where we came from. Nobody really knows our purpose. It’s like we were brought into existence generally, milled off of some kind of factory line. We had to figure it out for ourselves. We spent years being a terror, and then some things changed. It’s hard to live this long without a conscience. We were spoken of for years, the worst of the worst and then…..Well, people think that we died. A couple of us even did – Little Frank and YM came and went, vanishing out of existence, leaving only the three of us. – but Alfred kept us together.”
We see Alfred turn the door and open it, a man’s back is to the window, he is largely in shadow. Another, much larger man is seen off to the side, but even more shadowy – we want the audience to not be entirely sure what they’re seeing is a man as he moves toward Alfred, his intentions as clouded as his outline.
“Oh don’t be alarmed there, that’s just Frank, I told you about Frank.”
Frank steps into the light, monstrous, brightly-colored. The camera pans around and we see Alfred in the light, he’s brown, widow’s peak, tall, wearing an actual cape.
“Frank’s not so alarming once you get to know him. Once our family’s might have even been related. You see, he’s Frank Berry, and I’m Bruce Barry, but everybody calls me Boo.”
The camera pans around, showing a cityscape, things are on fire, there are sirens and other car noises, things are in general disarray.
“And we all have to come together to figure out not only what we’re still doing here, but what we should have been doing the whole time. But if there’s on person who can figure it out, it’s Al Chokula”
Scene fades, titles come up: Count Chocula: Serial Monster No More.
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- The Hanna Barbera Cinematic Universe, obvi, in which the Scooby Doo movies would be the equivalent of whatever, say, Blade was for the MCU. ↩