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Ayan Mukerji reveals his plans for web series and films in the Astraverse inspired by the MCU

Mumbai (Maharashtra): Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva was a superhit that everyone saw coming. The film is the first instalment of the Astraverse that filmmaker Ayan Mukerji has carefully weaved for years. A universe based on the powers of weapons that were sent on earth by the gods, this Astraverse provides something new and fresh to the audience. While many compare this mega-plan to the already established Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in the western world, Ayan himself spoke about the inspiration he got from it.

In a recent interview with Hindustan Times, Ayan revealed that although he did not start working on Brahmastra in 2015 with the idea of an entire universe, the Astraverse evolved gradually with the film. He said, “The Astraverse plan came to life as we were bringing Brahmastra Part One to life. I didn’t always have the word Astraverse in mind when we first started on this project. It happened along the way. But about two years ago, when Covid-19 struck, I saw how Marvel does their work in Phase One, Two, Three, etc. I had a programme for Phase One of the Astraverse. It involved some of the content for streaming. There is a certain kind of storytelling, which told over nine episodes at a slightly slower pace, deeper character building, is something that gives joy.”

While he revealed that he has something as similar as MCU in mind, the idea is still not concrete enough. Ayan said, “Since we all consume content on streaming, I do want to divide some stuff for that platform. But there is some stuff which is better geared for the big screen. This is the vision, and I wish I could press a button and make this vision come to life. It would be so great if I could hit every deadline. But Astraverse is a startup company and a large-scale mainstream experiment. The potential is incredible but every single day, I am also learning how to do this thing. The vision is to also do gaming, merchandising, and be part of Metaverse and virtual reality too. But there is a lot of work that needs to happen before saying anything concretely.”

Recalling his meeting with Marvel Studios’ head and MCU creator Kevin Feige, Ayan said, “In May, Disney had sent me to Los Angeles to be a part of some international studio summit and I presented Brahmastra over there. I met Kevin Feige there and it was wonderful.”

“The vision and the aspiration, honestly, is to follow in the footsteps of a filmmaking maverick mind like Kevin Feige. But miles to go before we get there! I accept it with humility. But I hope we meet six years down the road and then you say, we are really getting that Kevin Feige feels in India. And more than the personal achievement, I will feel happy that we managed to achieve something like that in our country,” he added.

The Astraverse is not the only cinematic universe forming in India, there also is YRF’s spy universe with the Tiger series, War series and the upcoming Pathaan being part of the same universe. There also is Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Kaithi and Vikram forming a cinematic universe and the horror-comedy universe of Amar Kaushik with Stree, Roohi and Bhediya.

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