The Russo Brothers were given the chance to bring the ultimate vision of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to screen with Avengers: Infinity War. Judging from the box office results, they more than succeeded and still have the follow-up to come next year. But with that success, The Russos probably know exactly what to do and what not to do when it comes to the old shared universe game. They’ve called Infinity War one of the most complicated films ever released in the past, but they’re sharing some new tips to others looking to follow Marvel’s lead according to a new interview with Variety:
“Yeah, don’t do it,” Joe Russo says. “Not everything can be sustained through a cinematic universe.”
Variety calls it pithy but agrees that it has some truth. Marvel has been very lucky with their process to this point and got a lot figured out early in terms of signing talent and how to release their properties. The failures of other ventures like DC’s Extended Universe — currently refreshing itself — and the Dark Universe at Universal — currently in limbo — really shows just how much luck and work went into making Marvel’s massive production work in the end.
But this difficulty isn’t the only reason The Russos are warding others off of the shared universe concept. As Variety details, they see the shifting tastes of viewers and the consumption of media changing in a way that most film needs to work on. It takes more than just copying something else, like Marvel, and it might be something we haven’t even seen yet:
“I think all of this — Netflix, Marvel, ‘Star Wars,’ this massive moment of disruption we’re in — is really a function of audiences craving new kinds of storytelling,” Russo says. “I think we had a really nice run for 100 years of two-hour, two-dimensional storytelling, but I think over the next decade, decade-and-a-half, you’re going to see a radical shift in how stories are told…
“We have seen so much content that every average moviegoer has a level of sophistication in their ability to predict what is going to happen in a movie, which is why Anthony and I spent a lot of time trying to hide the secrets of [‘Avengers: Infinity War’], misdirect the way the trailers were cut, misdirect with information. It’s too easy for them to intuit what is going to happen.”
Joe Russo credits technology as the real agent of change for younger generations, saying creating a universe might not be necessary because younger viewers are pulled somewhere between the “much more compressed formats” they see on YouTube or Facebook and the “long-term emotional commitment” to stories and characters. It might take a little thinking to get to that point.