With seemingly every series from the last century being rebooted or expanded, it’s no surprise that the most popular franchise of all time, The World Wars, is coming back. At least that’s the word on fan networks like CNN and MSNBC. But since it’s taken decades to get the funding and a cast in place for this long-awaited threequel, some people are too young to remember the original installments, The Great War and World War II. To catch everyone up, here’s a quick recap of what you need to know before the launch of the inevitable final chapter…
The Great War
Bang! The exciting inciting incident is the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. But it’s a misdirect, and the Archduke ends up being a minor character no one mentions for the rest of the war. Think of it as putting Drew Barrymore’s face on the Scream poster, even though she gets killed off in the first scene.
From there, we explore the foundational mythology stuff you’d find in any origin story. Empires organize into good guys (Allies) and bad guys (Central Powers) locked in a race for technological advantage amid a weapons build-up unprecedented in the history of man. Propaganda, trenches, rations, etc. That set piece at Gallipoli! There’s some rich atmospherics with poisonous, devastating, inhumane mustard gas but the cameras of the time don’t really do it justice. Thankfully, last summer’s Wonder Woman went in-universe with TGW and nailed the look.
The arc of TGW is a little unsatisfying, and the story never answers basic audience questions like, “why did any of this have to happen?” Still, despite being pitched as a standalone, it was so profitable that just a generation later production started on…
World War II
The beloved sequel takes everything that was awesome about TGW — bloody battles, rousing speeches, world-order-upending chaos that threatens to rend the fabric of civilization — and dials it up to eleven.
The Allies are back! Our hero is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a charismatic but physically disabled intellectual à la Professor X (with a bisexual wife — diversity!), and Winston Churchill, Spock to Roosevelt’s Kirk. The villains are the Axis Of Evil, led by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, both super easy to cosplay if you’ve got a mustache and shoulder pads.
No villain in modern storytelling is as well-developed as Hitler. He’s a writer, a painter, and a vegetarian who turns around and engineers a genocide the gravity, cruelty and depravity of which defy understanding to this day. It’s literally hell on Earth for its victims, and even the survivors never fully recover from the trauma of their living nightmare. Loki could never!
Hitler’s objective is the total extermination of Jews, which many found a tad derivative since they were already one of the most persecuted groups in history. What those haters failed to appreciate was that Hitler’s massacre wasn’t a knockoff but an homage, a Whedon-esque tribute to the classic oppression tropes the Christian Eurocentric West grew up loving.
We won’t spoil what secret weapon America uses to win the war, but let’s just say this secret weapon brought down a rain of hellfire on hundreds of thousands of human souls, wiping out entire cities full of innocent people in Japan and forever altering humankind’s relationship to technology and instilling in an entire generation a gnawing doubt about the existence of a merciful God, for how could He allow this?
Which brings us to…
POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Everything We Know So Far About World War III
(expected date of release: late 2018)
Obviously, this intel isn’t confirmed, but early reports indicate that the new entry will draw on existing tensions and ideological differences between empires. So, it’s a direct sequel, not a reboot.
The hero will still be America, but not the virile, handsome America that made so many young immigrants swoon. Now, America is old and grizzled and falling apart, like Wolverine in Logan, but without the six-pack abs. In a surprising bit of character development, Germany is actually a voice of reason. But the biggest shocker is the bad guy: classic wacky sidekick, North Korea, is in talks to play the main adversary! Russia is also circling, and they’d both be using the secret weapon from the climax of WWII.
We don’t know which population of Americans will be incarcerated en masse this time around. Korean-Americans? Muslims? Mexicans? The Japanese again? After the way The Last Jedi expanded the rules of the Star Wars universe, anything is possible!
(As for the idea of giving women major roles, it was apparently nixed before the project got past the development stage. Women causing a third “World War” just wasn’t believable.)
Anti-fandom trolls may argue that there won’t be a new World War because of that WWII post-credits scene establishing the United Nations specifically to prevent large-scale international conflict… but the exact same thing happened in the post-credits scene of TGW with The League Of Nations, and then WWII just pretended it didn’t happen, proving yet again that intergovernmental peacekeeping coalitions are NEVER canon.
So, do the super-powers-that-be have what it takes to make the World Wars saga into a trilogy? We can’t wait to find out. The countdown has begun!