The Avengers, and Shared Fictional Universes

Saw The Avengers over the weekend. I was a little worried it wouldn’t live up to the massive amount of hype, but happily it did.


For anyone who hasn’t been following what Marvel did to build up to The Avengers there’s a great summary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Wikipedia. This kind of cross-pollination of characters across multiple storylines to place them in the same universe hadn’t been done in cinema before, despite being very common in SF and fantasy. (That I’m aware of at least. Correct me in the comments!)

Seeing how well Marvel managed it over the course of the six movies is quite inspiring – I think it would be really enjoyable to write several novels each introducing a great character, and then another bringing them all together. Not needing to spend long on character backstory in the crossover novel would let you jump straight into the action, and also do some really interesting character development building on what the reader already knows about the protagonists. Especially their dark secrets which the other characters aren’t aware of…yet!

Plus, readers love it when old favourites appear in future stories. There’s something about that familiarity with a character you’ve seen before that immediately draws you into a story, or at the very least gives you a satisfying ‘Oh, it’s her again! Cool!’ moment.

And what more could an author want for their readers?

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