The MCU Is Rubbing off on Other Directors: A New Film Universe May Be on the Horizon Following ‘Gretel & Hansel’

With franchise films taking the box office by storm, it should come as no surprise that directors — looking to hop on the gravy train — are attracted to film universes that put out installments all falling under a single umbrella. From the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to the DC Extended Universe, the Sony Spider-Verse, and more, film universes with interconnected characters and narratives (some more than others) tend to draw audiences to the theater…over and over again. 

Marvel Studios MCU
Marvel Studios’ ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Screening | Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Avengers: Infinity War

All you have to do is look at Avengers: Endgame, and its multiple box office records, to get a feel for the success inherent to such widespread movie landscapes. And, one director, whose movie premiered January 31, may be looking to establish a universe. Taking notes from the studio behind Iron Man and Captain America, Gretel and Hansel director Oz Perkins may be looking to establish quite the grim universe (pun intended). 

Inside ‘Gretel & Hansel’ and the potential for a film universe like the MCU

Gretel & Hansel is a fantasy horror — a twist on the original fairy tale following Hansel and Gretel into the woods, as they stumble upon a house belonging to an evil witch. Taking the fairy tale and adapting it for modern, horror-loving audiences, the film is an intelligent film with a cult-like feel, relying on the creation of an eerie atmosphere over cheap scares. And, if the movie does well enough at the box office, the director may try to spin the film into a franchise.

According to We Got This Covered (WGTC), citing The Boo Crew Podcast interview with director Oz Perkins, the film may lay the foundation for further exploration — using Gretel as an origin point. Perkins stated:

Without saying too much…my idea for it was to create our own fairy tale world, our own fairy tale universe. The idea is that Gretel could certainly go forth from this movie and get into more trouble.

WGTC / The Boo Crew Podcast

If Perkins has his way, a Brothers Grimm franchise may join the likes of the MCU. However, can such a franchise compete in a competitive universe landscape? What movies would come forth?

What could come after ‘Gretel & Hansel?’

If any of the characters from this movie move on into another narrative, they could cross paths with other fairy tale characters in a manner similar to Once Upon a Time. And, after one character comes another, and so on and so forth, until multiple standalone installments and fairy tale mash-ups exist. 

From Rumpelstiltskin to The Pied Piper of Hamelin and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, there are several fairy tales to work with, all part of Grimm’s fairy tales. In terms of expansion, this universe, if successful, would have several possible narratives to explore. And, if the universe sticks to its dark undertones, the original narratives could become the perfect blend of familiar and unfamiliar — which usually draws people in, as enough knowledge exists to pique curiosity, yet enough novelty remains to avoid boredom.