In a move that literally nobody saw coming, United Artists has paired up with the Carsey-Werner Company to create what spokesman Rex D’Hart calls the “Cannellverse” in which numerous properties created by the late Stephen J. Cannell will be rebooted for cinematic release and exist in a shared “universe”.
“Marvel Studios showed everyone how it’s done,” said D’Hart. “Who would normally take Thor seriously, right? But not only did Marvel take that Shakespearean castoff and make him cool, they did it with a bunch of other superheroes, too. Amazing!”
Indeed, in the wake of Marvel Studios’ success other production companies and studios followed suit. Time-Warner is currently stumbling aimlessly around trying to create a coherent series of movies based on DC Comics, Legendary wants to bring Godzilla and King Kong back together and Universal (seemingly high on cocaine, considering things so far) is, after giving each a new origin, bringing The Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolfman together in a modern-day reboot of what will probably look a lot like The Monster Squad.
“A shared universe will let us create storylines that, until now, only existed on fan’s harddrives or on Reddit,” explained D’Hart. “Just imagine Hardcastle and McCormick tangling with Bosco ‘B.A.’ Baracus! The possibilities are endless!”
While the rights to some properties are tangled or owned by someone who didn’t want to participate, United Artists still had the majority of Cannell’s creations at their disposal. Negotiations with the Carsey-Werner Company were quick and easy and before the first meeting was over, a rough outline of the “Cannellverse” began to take shape. Initially, five films are planned; Hardcastle and McCormick, Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, Silk Stalkings and The A-Team. The fifth film, which will conclude what they are calling ‘Season One’ as a nod to the televisions roots that the properties all share, will be called The Greatest American Heroes. Although not written in stone, plans call for the series of movies to have the umbrella title The Rockford Files (for example, The Rockford Files: Hardcastle and McCormick).
“Will other characters show up? That is, and I think what people REALLY want to know is, will [Sting]Ray be showing up and to that, all I can say is this: YES!” shouted D’Hart to nobody in particular. “Although, and this is a total bummer, we weren’t able to get the rights to Booker or 21 Jump Street because of Jonah Hill. Apparently Hill has grown tired of playing the fat sidekick to everyone in all of his films but is under some type of delusional misconception that he’s Channing Tatum’s equal. Yeah, I know – right? So, thanks to him, those two shows are off the table.”
United Artists wants to fast track the films and begin releasing two per year starting in 2018, with Silk Stalkings and Tenspeed and Brown Shoe. Josh (Chronicle, Fantastic Four) Trank has been tapped to direct Silk Stalkings, however no casting decisions or directors for the other features have been announced at this time.