Kurt Russell Pitched Action Movie Icon Shared Universe in the 80s

Escape from New York Kurt Russell John Carpenter Snake Plissken

According to Kurt Russell, he originally pitched a shared movie universe of action heroes in the 1980s. Of course, shared universes are arguably the hottest trend in Hollywood right now, a pattern popularized thanks to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which sees latest installment Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (featuring Russell himself) out next week. DC and Warner Bros. naturally followed suit with their DC Expanded Universe and moving away from superhero fare, Universal Studios has begun work on a classic movie monster shared universe.

One concept that hasn't yet come to fruition is the idea of a movie universe consisting of iconic action heroes such as the Terminator and Rambo. Perhaps the closest fans have come to such a jaunt is the The Expendables franchise, which united a host of famous action actors of both past and present (mainly the past to be honest), although the characters they played were entirely new, rather than classic figures from their other movies.

However, during promotional rounds for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Kurt Russell -- playing Ego the Living Planet in the movie -- says that he originally pitched that exact idea in the 1980s but the project couldn't get off the ground. Speaking to Fox 5 DC, Russell states:

"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 in the action-ary 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."

Russell would've played Snake Plissken from Escape From New York in the feature, although reckons he wouldn't have got much screen time due to his character's dislike for teaming up with others, joking:

"The only problem was [I was] going to have to produce the movie because the only thing Snake's going to do is walk in and look at them and leave."

Although certainly a tantalizing prospect, a team-up movie featuring The Terminator, Rambo, Plissken, etc. would've been an absolute nightmare to write considering the vastly different worlds and movies each character originates from. At least with the MCU, the comic books have already established a rough, shared narrative for the characters to follow and even Universal's shared monster universe can manipulate backstories in order to make everything fit as needed. Squeezing Arnie's Terminator into Die Hard, however, seems a stretch too far.

With that said, it's difficult to deny that Russell's project would've been a rollercoaster of mindless action and non-stop thrills. Furthermore, it would likely have been better than some of the sequels those characters have featured in. The Terminator franchise has struggled ever since the classic second movie and Die Hard has also seen diminishing critical returns, while Russell finds himself in arguably the biggest movie of the year so far, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Next: Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Sylvester Stallone’s Character Explained

Source: Fox 5 DC

Key Release Dates
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) release date: May 05, 2017
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017
  • Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
  • Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
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