Are We On The Verge Of A Space Opera Resurgence?

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

The superhero boom is certainly showing no signs of stopping or even slowing. But could space opera be the next genre to take over our screens?

In response to this post, on all the reasons to be optimistic about the coming onslaught of DC superhero movies coming out in the next six years, a discussion began about whether the time was also ripe for space opera to take off again:


So, I saw GoG this weekend and wondered to myself if Marvel is in fact trying to slowly edge into space opera as a sort of life raft once the superhero bonanza blows over. Think about it. There's no reason they couldn't start making all their properties more cosmic, thus shedding all the boring urban landscapes and real world visuals superhero films have started to become mired by. If Intersetallar and the next Star Wars is successful (which come on. It will be) are we going to see the re-emergence of Space Opera?

We got a whole wave of these films immediately following Star Wars in the 80's, but the technology and imagination just wasn't there yet. Studios ended up making nothing but second rate copy cats. But Guardians of the Galaxy reminded me of how we now have decades of material in comics and literature to mine and translate to the big screen.


Or whether what we were actually seeing was just another sign of how fundamentally healthy and entrenched the superhero genre is — so much so that it can easily support another genre or two within itself:


I think it was more along the lines of them showing how far the "superhero genre" really stretches. It's an elastic genre where, unlike the early 00's comic book movies or the 90's batman movies, or even the 80's superman movies, it's not a genre that's strictly confined to being a superhero story. Marvel, in order to prevent the potential fatigue of superheroes, essentially said "let's make a [insert genre] story with a plot about this thing and then stick [insert superhero] into it and see how that impacts the story".

Cap 2 essentially took a 70's political thriller, threw in Captain America and SHIELD and HYDRA and showed how that escalates the stakes and the story.

Thor has been 2 fantasy stories (1 where a fantasy character ends up on earth and another where the earthling ends up in the fantasy land) with a superhero.

GotG was a space opera that mixed fantasy elements with cybernetic assassins, freakish aliens and a human with a severe case of arrested development & cool toys as the superheroes.

They're showing how much of a chameleon the genre really is and that it's evolved beyond the typical superhero plot and as a result, insulating the genre from audience fatigue. It's like a throw-back to the 80's (and early 90's) movie formula of mixing & matching genres where you had the Goonies or stuff like Big Trouble in Little China and Kindergarten Cop and Lethal Weapon and shit. Except this time, they're sticking a superhero in instead of a guy that just has guns or a ragtag group of aliens instead of pesky kids.


What do you think? Will the next decade or so be as memorable for space opera as it is for superhero movies? And just what kinds of interactions are we going to see (or would you like to see) between space operas, superhero flicks, and other genres?

Give us your thoughts, and your best big screen predictions, in the comments now.