Expanded Universe Tracker
While many believe the new era of media and entertainment is marked by direct-to-consumer strategies and streaming services (not incorrect), this era is equally marked by the expansion of high quality intellectual property (IP) and brands.
The increased utilization of existing IP is driven by a few key factors. First, studios increasingly leverage existing IP for new shows and movies in an attempt to reduce the risk of a flop. This can be seen in the proliferation of reboots in recent years. Everything from Lethal Weapon to Roseanne has seen attempted reboots.
But perhaps more interesting and important as we look ahead is the reality that media companies simply need more content to fill the libraries in this new direct-to-consumer, streaming era. While Disney will still pursue the billion-dollar box office via Star Wars and Marvel brands, even Disney is increasingly turning its eye toward its future streaming offerings.
WHAT IS AN EXPANDED UNIVERSE?
The phrase expanded universe – also referred to as an extended universe – refers to the expansion of a media franchise, such as a television series or series of movies, into new movies, shows and creative works.
This can take many forms. The “spin-off” is one of the most common formats, and it often takes a character from an existing series and creates a new series or movie based around that character. That said, spin-offs can sometimes simply be prequels or completely new sets of characters that exist in a different part of the world (or time) of a given franchise. If set close enough to an original series, there are often connecting characters to bridge the two series.
Typically new series or movies in an expanded universe are considered to be canon (part of the official story) for the respective media franchise.
EXPANDED UNIVERSE TRACKING
We’re truly in the era of the “expanded universe” content. If a show is a hit, you can bet the owner of such IP is already strategizing on how to spin off the content into follow-up movies and shows. On this page, we will track the “expanded universe” of major shows, characters, fictional worlds and IP. The expanded universe piece of content strategy is an increasingly important part of the business models of the major media companies. As such, we will devote the entire page to track these developments in real time.
JUMP TO THESE POPULAR BRANDS:
- Game of Thrones
- Lord of the Rings
- Star Wars
- Walking Dead
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Game of Thrones Universe
Game of Thrones is a fantasy drama series created for HBO by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss based off a series of fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin. 73 episodes aired over eight seasons of the hit show on HBO between 2011 and 2019. Game of Thrones was nominated and won a number of awards including several Emmy’s and Golden Globes and more.
Latest Spin-Off News
- Multiple spin-offs are being planned based around the Game of Thrones world and events.
- The first spin-off will be a prequel that takes place anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 years before the events of Game of Thrones. The Long Night (when White Walkers first invade Westeros) will likely be one of the events taking place in this show.
- As of May 2019, the series has begun filming. It also has a working title of Bloodmoon.
Harry Potter Universe
Harry Potter is a series of novels written by British author J.K. Rowling about a world in which people are generally in two camps: wizards or non-wizards (muggles). The books were immensely popular, followed by extraordinarily successful films.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (2016)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
- Fantastic Beasts: Untitled (2021)
- Fantastic Beasts: Untitled (2023)
- Fantastic Beasts: Untitled (2025)
The Lord of the Rings Universe
The Lord of the Rings is a series of fantasy novels written by English author J.R.R. Tolkien. The main trilogy includes titles such as The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. The Hobbit is also the prequel to the trilogy. The series was adapted into a film series by Peter Jackson.
- The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
- The Hobbit: The Sesolation of Smaug (2013)
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
- Amazon acquired the rights for an additional Lord of the Rings series in 2017 for a reported $250 million. The move came in response to the incredible success of HBO’s Game of Thrones. The bold move will likely cost upwards of a billion dollars once production and all other costs are factored in. Jeff Bezos is banking that this legendary series and world will drive major buzz and ultimately more subscribers to Amazon Prime.
- It’s reported that the upcoming series will be at least five seasons and is anticipated to begin airing in 2021 on Amazon Prime.
- Some reports have said that the series will involve a younger Aragorn (the character played by Viggo Mortensen), but further announcements that the series will take place in the “Second Age” have cast doubt on the young Aragorn idea.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a series of superhero movies based off iconic Marvel comic characters such as Iron Man, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and more. The MCU movies, now owned and distrbuted by Disney, have been some of the most successful movies of the box office in the 2010s. MCU content will also play a big role in the upcoming Disney+ streaming service.
- Iron Man (2008)
- The Incredible Hulk (2008)
- Iron Man 2 (2010)
- Thor (2011)
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- The Avengers (2012)
- Iron Man 3 (2013)
- Thor: The Dark World (2013)
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
- Ant-Man (2015)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)
- Doctor Strange (2016)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
- Black Panther (2018)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
- Captain Marvel (2019)
- Avengers: Endgame (2019)
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
- Black Widow (TBD)
- Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., 7 seasons, ABC (2013-)
- Marvel’s Agent Carter, 2 seasons, ABC (2015-2016)
- Marvel’s Inhumans, 1 season, ABC (2017)
- Marvel’s Daredevil, 3 seasons, Netflix (2015-2018)
- Marvel’s Jessica Jones, 3 seasons, Netflix (2015-2019)
- Marvel’s Luke Cage, 2 seasons, Netflix (2016-2018)
- Marvel’s Iron Fist, 2 seasons, Netflix (2017-2018)
- Marvel’s The Defenders, 1 season, Netflix (2017)
- Marvel’s The Punisher, 2 seasons, Netflix (2017-2019)
- Marvel’s Runaways, 3 seasons, Hulu (2017-)
Future Plans and Other News
- Disney plans a number of series for its forthcoming Disney+ service based on characters from the MCU movies. These include The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki and a series based around Hawkeye.
- Additionally, Disney is developing a couple Marvel-based series for Hulu. Reportedly these will be Ghost Rider and Helstrom.
The Snowpiercer Universe
Snowpiercer is a movie released in 2013, based off a French graphic novel, in which the remainder of humanity lives in a post-apocalyptic world, aboard a world-spanning train that never stops. Different classes of people are restricted to certain parts of the train.
- Snowpiercer (2013)
- WarnerMedia is developing a series for both TBS and its forthcoming streaming service that takes place seven years after the events of the movie. A minimum of two seasons of the show will occur, and the series will include Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs among others.
Star Wars Universe
Star Wars is a space-adventure series created by George Lucas beginning with the original Star Wars film in 1977. The world of Star Wars is one of the most beloved and valuable pieces of intellectual property which has been utilized in movies, animated series, theme parks, countless merchandise and more. Disney acquired LucasFilm, and the Star Wars intellectual property, in 2012 for $4 billion. Star Wars is a major component of Disney’s existing and future film strategy, streaming service and theme park attractions.
- Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
- Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
- Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
- Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
- Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
- Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
- Untitled Film (2022)
- Untitled Film (2024)
- Untitled Film (2026)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars, 7 seasons, Cartoon Network/Netflix/Disney+, (2008-)
- Star Wars: Rebels, 4 seasons, Disney XD, (2014-2018)
- Star Wars: Resistence, 2 seasons, Disney Channel, (2018-)
- The Mandalorian, Disney+ (2019-)
Future Plans and Other News
- The Mandalorian will be one of the first original shows on Disney’s new Disney+ service. It is being created by Jon Favreau. It will take place a few years after Return of the Jedi and star Pedro Pascal.
- Reports are that Disney is also developing a series for Disney+ around the Cassian Andor character from Rogue One. Production is set to begin in 2019.
The Walking Dead Universe
The Walking Dead is a post-apocalyptic, horror television series based on a set of comic books that achieved immense popularity on AMC. The popularity of the series led to multiple spin-offs and amazing longevity of the original series (which is still on the air).
- The Walking Dead, 9 seasons (2010-2019)
- Fear The Walking Dead, 5 seasons (2015-2019)
- Season 10 of The Walking Dead will begin airing in late 2019. Reports are that there will also be at least two more seasons after season 10.
- With Andrew Lincoln departing as the Rick Grimes character in The Walking Dead in season 9, AMC has announced a series of upcoming movies that will star Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes and explore the future of the character. These movies are beginning production in 2019. These movies will be set in The Walking Dead universe, but will reportedly not be based on any source material from the comics.
- In 2019, AMC also announced a third television series in the Walking Dead universe centered around two young female characters. The new show will premiere in 2020 on AMC.