Imagine a Shared Cinematic Greek Mythology Universe
Franchises are a huge thing these days. Everyone wants one. Marvel did it best, DC is… trying to get the hang of it and Universal, honestly I don’t know what that mess is supposed to be at the end of the day.
Comics offer this kind of thing. And what else offers it would be mythology. I have never seen a good movie about Greek mythology. And there are so many different tales to tale and so many different heroes to introduce.
Now, let me propose to you a 13 movie shared cinematic universe for Greek mythology.
Herakles: Birth of a Hero
Of course, we’d kickstart our shared universe with the
household name of Herakles. Because everyone knows that name, knows that
hero. He can get butts in seats to pique the interest of the people.
But I want more than just the average tale. I want some focus on his backstory too. I mean, holy Hades the fact that he literally has a twin-brother and that Herakles is just a title and not his actual name - born Alcaeus, thank you very much - are so easily forgotten and just ignored. Do it right. Do it rich and detailed.
A simple origin story as the beginning, of Alcaeus, growing up with his big sister Laonome and his twin-brother Iphicles, listening to the heroic tales of his great-grandfather/half-brother Perseus. Dreaming to be like him. Setting out to become the great Herakles.
We cover some of his labors, after all he does have twelve of them and all twelve in one movie is just gonna overcrowd it with plot. So have a slow set-up and let’s go with maybe three or four labors. Because this is a franchise, so we can divide his tales into like a trilogy.
We know there are 12 labors to finish, but this movie ends semi-rounded up. He found one of his various lovers - let’s go with Megara, because she is the most famous and does for a great set-up for the second movie - he seems ready to settle down and be happy.
In the post-credit scene, we see a vicious Hera, watching from above - teasing that she’s not going to stand for his happiness.
Theseus: The daughters of Zeus
Theseus is up next. I also see that one as a trilogy - though, of course, as with the MCU we do not just dash all three of them out one after the other.
First movie in the franchise sees Theseus teaming up with his best friend Pirithous, son of Zeus. They got up to some shit together in the myths, among other, trying to abduct “daughters of Zeus”.
They went to the underworld to abduct Persephone and they also tried to steal Helen of Troy, being fought off by Helen’s brothers Castor and Pollux (cameo back-door introduction of Helen, Castor and Pollux and set-up for the Trojan war movie later down the line).
I think this would be a really fun way to do some world-building, by giving characters that will be important in the future already small cameos. And you get to explore a whole new world in the underworld.
Just a buddy hero movie of two friends getting up to shenanigans.
And, here’s where we get our first little crossover, because when Pirithous and Theseus ventured into the underworld, they got stuck there and then were saved by Herakles who was down there for his twelve labors. So we also have him give a very tiny cameo - really jut one scene, five to ten minutes, he’s not supposed to steal the movie but to establish that yes, these worlds are shared.
Herakles 2: The Labors of Herakles
This movie would be set up in a post-credit scene of Theseus, where after Theseus and Pirithous left the underworld, we see Herakles wrestling the three-headed guard-dog of the underworld. Zerberus, the reason he was in the underworld to begin with.
But that’s his last labor and more of a tease, really.
We start off with the whole driven mad by Hera and killing Megara thing first. And yes, I’m taking liberties with the myths a liiittle here because technically all of Herakles’ labors were given to him by Hera to appease her and to repent for “his” crimes. But as mentioned before, 12 labors in one movie is going to cram it and we do want some action in the first one already.
We cover the other left-over labors he didn’t accomplish in the first movie now. Lots of action, lots of monsters, lots of fighting - and another cameo, because labor number 9 features Herakles going to the Amazons and stealing Queen Hippolyta’s girdle. So we meet the Amazons.
Theseus 2: The Labors of Theseus
Okay, after the origin-esque first Theseus movie, we move on to the one about his more famous heroics - the whole bandit-killing, sow-slaying, wrestling and all that jazz.
The six labors of Theseus.
Throw in Theseus meeting the Amazons too, meaning Hippolyta and her little sister Melanippe get a reoccuring appearance and crossing over between the Herakles and the Theseus franchises. Because the most fun thing about a shared universe is the shared part.
Jason and the Argonauts
Whoop, time for the Avengers/Justice League! Time for the first team-up movie!
Jason assembles a team to go on a long-ass journey to find the Golden Fleece.
Including both Castor and Pollux, as well as Herakles. Among many, many others.
Like the twin sons of Hermes Eurytus and Echion, who I picture as the Weasleys of this universe. Because every good franchise needs two fun brothers.
Then there are Zetes and Calais, the sons of wind-god Boreas.
And Calais’ lover Orpheus, the son of Apollo, who will set up his own stand-alone movie in this.
Also featuring pilot Erginus, son of Poseidon, and
the bronze-smith and son of Hephaestus. Because there’s nothing more fun than a demigod team-up. And yes, I want them to actually use their powers.
And, of course, Jason’s lover the witch Medea (who is also the cousin of Ariadne, so there could be an Easter Egg name-dropping here).
And the most famous female Greek hero - Atalanta.
A wild fun ride follows as they search.
It also serves as a set-up for the Trojan War by re-introducing Castor and Pollux, a set-up for the stand-alone Orpheus movie and the second team-up movie led by Atalanta.
We’d also put a post-credit scene in here to tease Heracles 3, just showing Herakles happy in the arms of a woman.
Orpheus and Eurydice
Keeping it close time-wise, we tie in with the Orpheus stand-alone movie after Jason and the Argonauts.
Orpheus going to the underworld to bring back the love of his life Eurydice after she dies. Him charming Hades and Persephone, who get to make their third appearance after already encountering Herakles and Theseus, with his beautiful voice, but still failing.
Theseus 3: The Labyrinth of the Minotaur
Let’s break the flow a little and bring back Theseus for his third movie - and his most famous story.
Because just because something is the most well-known tale does not mean it has to be the first. That way, we always get stuck with the very same stories being told all the time, because most of the time it never gets past one movie. No. Let’s save Theseus’ most well-known tale to be the third in the franchise - because this is in my head and in my head, the franchise is allowed to expand this far and we do not need to worry about cancellation and such.
Theseus meeting Ariadne and Daedalus and slaying the Minotaur in the labyrinth. You know the story.
Atalanta: Huntress of Artemis
After we previously met Atalanta in Jason and the Argonauts, let’s give the greatest heroine her own stand-alone movie.
After all, she is a famous racer, a great hunter, an Argonaut, a huntress of Artemis and became a minor hunting goddess later on. She’s been busy and her story is worth telling.
In this, I’d like to focus on the huntress-aspect. Maybe include the tale of Artemis and Orion in here and tie that into how Atalanta joined the goddess’ hunt. Have her be trained by Artemis and befriend other huntresses.
Supporting cast would to me include the three daughrers of Boreas - Hekaerge, Loxo and Oupis, as well as Britomartis who’s the daughter of Zeus, and Phylonoe, who is actually not just a huntress but also a sister to Helen, Castor and Pollux.
Achilles: Hero of Sparta
Cue in Castor and Pollux again, after their small Theseus cameo and their supporting roles in Jason and the Argonauts, they are now back for the big story.
We start the story right though.
Eris, pulling a prank on the goddesses on Olympus with the golden apple for “the fairest of them all”. The goddesses pick Paris of Troy and make him chose. After he picks Aphrodite, she promises him the prettiest lady around - Helen of Sparta.
Castor and Pollux alone stand no chance. But they got friends.
Achilles, Patroclus, Odysseus,
Francis Ajax and Phoenix.
The Trojan War ensues and in the end, sets up the Odyssey as our friends part ways and Odysseus claims to look forward to seeing his wife Penelope again.
Odysseus: Long Way Home
Taking place directly after Achilles: Hero of Sparta and featuring Odysseus’ ridiculous journey home. Seriously, that guy should have just asked for directions.
Visiting Circe and meeting Calypso and fighting off sirens. All the fun stuff that then pays off by the heartfelt reunion between two lovers long separated.
Atalanta 2: Hunt for the Calydonian Boar
After her supporting role in Jason and the Argonauts and her stand-alone movie, she’s now back to be the one to lead the second team-up movie.
The hunt for the Calydonian Boar was kind of a real big deal back in the day, you know. Everyone participated, everyone wanted to be the one to kill it.
And I mean everyone.
We see the return of not just Theseus but also his buddy Pirithous.
Atalanta’s fellow Argonauts Eurytus and Echion are going to bring all the fun as the comic-relief tricksters again.
Castor and Pollux are back for this one too!
And hey, even Phoenix from the Trojan war will be here.
Because the thing about those big franchises is that more characters need to cross over. If all those characters exist in the same world, how are they always so strictly separated? No. The characters who dabbled in multiple myths are also going to be recognizable crossover characters in this universe.
And in the end, of course, Atalanta was the one to kill it. That’s why this team-up movie is called Atalanta 2.
Herakles 3: God of Olympus
Because before the universe hits its finale, we need a pay-off for the man who started it all.
Last time we saw him, in a post-credit scene, he was holding his recent lover Deianira and being happy. Which, again, Hera does not like.
Deianira accidentally kinda kills him with the poisoned blood of Nessus.
He has to fight. Again. Has to prove himself. Again.
But at the end of this, there is an actual happy ending waiting for him as he is granted godhood and falls in love with the goddess Hebe to live happily ever after on Olympus.
Chiron: Trainer of Heroes
The third and maybe strongest of the team-up movies. The grand finale of the series, you could say. Also the only original idea I’m pitching here; all others are just the myths as they happened, put into a chronological order that would make for a cool movie-verse in my eyes.
The best place for this to start is Chiron.
Because the thing is, Chiron trained and raised most heroes.
Herakles, Theseus, Jason, Achilles, Patroclus, Phoenix, Ajax.
Let’s say the trainer of heroes got into a little trouble and his wife Chariclo - daughter of Apollo and mountain-nymph and also the one who did the whole raising of the heroes while Chiron only did the training because honestly everyone keeps forgetting that this centaur gets babies dumped in his lap and not teens and that it requires more than just hand-to-hand and sword training and that he had a wife who did all of that - assembles a team of the above named heroes to save their trainer, featuring cute flashbacks to them as kids during training.