Kurt Russell wanted to do a shared universe 80s action hero crossover years ago

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As you may have heard, unless Sylvester Stallone has a change of his veiny heart, chances are that the Expendables franchise has blown up its last bad guy. It was a great idea though, having Stallone team up with other icons of 1980s action cinema like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and many others to bulge biceps as they drop cheesy one-liners. And it’s an idea that fellow old-school action man Kurt Russell had many years ago – only his was an even better one.

So what’s better than having Russell, Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis together in a movie? Having Snake Plissken, Rambo, the Terminator and John McClane together, that’s what! Yes, Russell actually had the idea for a shared cinematic universe way before Marvel came along and turned it into the latest big Hollywood trend.

The Escape From New York star made this revelation while chatting to Fox 5 in Washington DC (via CinemaBlend) as part of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 press tour, and according to him studios just weren’t buying it back then.

Years ago I did think that it would be– and nobody would listen to me–I thought it’d be great to sort of take a bunch of the characters, guys like Bruce Willis and Stallone and Schwarzenegger and whatever. They all had one best character that I thought would be interesting in the action-y world. I thought it’d be fun to put those guys together. That would’ve been a realistic version of what Marvel did but it was like talking to a wall. It was a little ahead of its time, I guess.

Ahead of its time is right. While there had previously been attempts to have shared cinematic universes for ages (some would say that Universal’s monster movies of the 1930s were the first), most of these failed to really have any major impact. It was only when Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark walked into that bar at the end of 2008’s The Incredible Hulk that the idea really got kicked into high gear.

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Of course what Marvel has accomplished is a far more structured and cohesive universe than we’ve ever seen. Timelines and story arcs are planned long in advance and characters are introduced in organic ways (and they all have to fight stuff falling out of portals in the sky for some reason). How or why would Rambo and Snake Plissken ever even team up? Outside of the massive headache of trying to figure out how characters from so many disparate genres and worlds can meet up, there’s also the problem that these guys are not exactly team players.

I thought it would be really cool. And let them be the characters that they are. My thing about that was, if I was going to be Snake in that, I’m going to have to produce the movie. The only thing Snake’s gonna do is walk in, look at ’em and then leave.

And I guess that is my weekend plan sorted as I come up the creative fan-fiction necessary to have all these guys actually end up together to have to fight… Skeletor? Yeah, Skeletor is a good fit for this craziness.

Last Updated: April 26, 2017

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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