A Warner Bros Cinematic Universe You Never Saw Coming Is In The Works

Remember Scooby-Doo? Remember The Flintstones? How about Yogi Bear? Dexter's Laboratory? The Jetsons? Well, those are just a few of the cartoons that came from Hanna-Barbera Productions, a studio that dominated Western animation for decades in the latter part of the 20th century. And, believe it or not, they all might be becoming part of the first cartoon-based cinematic universe at the hands of Warner Bros.

Cartoon character plushies
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera pose with some of their cartoon characters in 1988. [Image by Douglas Pizac/AP Images]

Cinematic universes have been a huge trend in Hollywood ever since Marvel took off at the theater, and Warner Bros seems to be its biggest proponent. They have the DC comics universe and the Lego universe going at the moment, and they are trying to make the Harry Potter franchise into a cinematic universe too. The Inquisitr recently noted there are even rumblings of a Stephen King cinematic universe being kick-started by this Summer's release of The Dark Tower.

Over a year ago, Screen Rant reported that Warner Bros wants to add a Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe to that list.

The announcement came during a longer discussion about an upcoming Scooby-Doo reboot film tentatively titled "S.C.O.O.B" during which a Warner Bros executive said that the crime-solving dog's return to the screen is "our first shot at unlocking the whole Hanna-Barbera Universe."

That by itself could be taken as ambiguous, but Warner Bros president of creative development and worldwide production Greg Silverman confirmed his studio's intentions much more directly in a statement he gave Deadline back in 2015.

"Like countless fans, I have always loved the Hanna-Barbera cast of characters. As one of their most famous brand ambassadors, Scooby-Doo will take the lead in re-introducing this pantheon of enduringly popular animated stars on a grand scale with an exciting new movie."
Interest in the topic has been renewed now that, according to /Film, the release of "S.C.O.O.B." has been delayed from 2018 to 2020. Even though it's been a while since it was in the news, though, Warner Bros is still going with co-writers Dax Shepard and Matt Lieberman... the latter of whom is in the process of working on The Jetsons Movie.

NBA Game Scooby-Doo
[Image by Casey Rodgers/AP Images for Time Warner Cable Sports]

Word is conflicting on whether Warner Bros' "S.C.O.O.B." will be live-action or animated, which will probably determine whether we get to see a host of our other favorite cartoon characters portrayed by real people or not.

Getting to see Fred Flintstone run into Dexter from Dexter's Lab (which, along with The Flintstones, is another Hanna-Barbera cartoon) might be a fun novelty for some who grew up watching their respective shows, but reports about Warner Bros' prospective Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe across the web are nearly all convinced it is a terrible idea.

"If they're building a shared Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe, I'm afraid they might be going too far," voices Den of Geek writer Mike Cecchini.

"Let's not and say we did," adds Reddit user AudibleNod in a thread about the topic.

On one hand, the huge amount of resistance to the idea is understandable. Lots of people went through childhood watching these characters in their individual Warner Bros shows, and part of what made the viewing so enjoyable was the simple pleasure of stepping into that show's world once a week (or however often the show aired). If Warner Bros allows the worlds the characters occupy to bleed into one another, it will not only add what many may see as an unnecessary layer of complexity that is not in the spirit of the innocent classic cartoons, but it will also detract from the distinct feelings of the individual animated worlds Warner Bros created in the first place.

On the other hand, Warner Bros' decision to give the nostalgia-inducing characters new life might be an incredible revival. If done right, it might be to fans of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons like seeing old friends.

"If they can make movies that appeal to today's kids and respect the nostalgia of the parents (and grandparents) of those kids, then we're in for another great generation of these deservedly long-living characters," comments another user on the Reddit thread.

Of course, Warner Bros has not said explicitly that the impending slew of Hanna-Barbera movies will inter-relate; they could be completely standalone installments. Again, though, Warner Bros has demonstrated a profound obsession with interwoven cinematic universes within the last few years, and it would be quite a surprise if this were not the same case.

Are you in favor of Warner Bros moving forward with the Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe? Which properties in specific would you like to see make the leap to the theater? Speak up in the comments section below.

[Featured Image by Erin Cadigan/iStock]