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Why Roland Emmerich Doesn't Want To Do A Marvel Movie

Avengers Endgame poster
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Naturally, not every movie that reaches theaters in the year 2022 comes from Marvel Studios. But it’s not that far of a stretch to point out that most filmmakers operating on massive budgets have to link their property to an existing IP, usually a comic book by Marvel or DC. Studios play it very safe nowadays, and prefer to invest in familiar stories so they know a certain percentage of the possible audience is guaranteed to show up. But when Moonfall director Roland Emmerich sat down with CinemaBlend’s official podcast, ReelBlend, to discuss his movies and his career, he explained to us why those movies will never interest him. Emmerich said: 

I always see myself as a filmmaker who wants to create new stories. I can not use the format (for) much of Marvel and DC Comics because I didn’t grow up with them. Then you have no relationship to it. And then when you would all of a sudden say, ‘Oh, I’m not doing a Marvel movie,’ everybody says, ‘Why not (do) a Marvel movie?!’ You know what I mean? And that’s why I’m not doing it, because… I think I could make them much, much cheaper. (laughs) Most of the time, they’re using relatively young directors.

It’s impressive that Roland Emmerich, over the bulk of his career, has avoided having to connect to recognizable brands and IP in order to get his visions financially backed. And when he has broken down and accepted a gig tied to a franchise like Godzilla, you can tell his heart isn’t in it, and it usually doesn’t work. 

Moonfall is the most recent example of a studio (in this case, Lionsgate) investing in an original idea BECAUSE that idea comes from Roland Emmerich. His name has become synonymous with bigger-budget science-fiction, so he alone is the brand.  

But even being Roland Emmerich doesn’t open as many doors as it used to. The director goes on to tell ReelBlend: 

It becomes harder and harder, honest to God. It’s like I’m fighting… I think Chris Nolan, too, but it’s like I’m fighting a very, very losing battle. It’s a losing battle. At one point, when I did Independence Day, originality was asked for. Then came a moment when everything was coexisting. Big brands like Marvel and Star Wars and DC Comics was one thing, but there was still enough original movies. Now it’s only Marvel movies. It’s just incredible when you think about that.

In order for filmmakers like Roland Emmerich – and Emmerich, himself – to keep producing original content, audiences need to show up and support non-franchise blockbusters such as Moonfall. Hollywood is an industry that reacts to audience desires, so scan this list of upcoming movies to see how much originality we can get behind. And on the flip side of the equation, check out all of the upcoming Marvel Movies hitting theaters in 2022 and beyond. 

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.