Ayan Mukerji wants to follow in Kevin Feige's footsteps with Brahmastra's Astraverse, reveals plans for web series

Published on Oct 04, 2022 06:43 AM IST

Brahmastra director Ayan Mukerji reveals that he has a phase-wise plan for Astraverse similar to MCU and it may include streaming content as well.

Ayan Mukerji directing Ranbir Kapoor on the sets of Brahmastra Part One.
Ayan Mukerji directing Ranbir Kapoor on the sets of Brahmastra Part One.

Brahmastra Part One- Shiva, Ayan Mukerji’s ambitious fantasy epic, has not just launched a new trilogy, but also laid the foundation stone of a new cinematic universe. Ayan calls his new universe the Astraverse, after the celestial weapons introduced in the film. In a recent interaction with Hindustan Times, the filmmaker opened up about the future of Astraverse and Marvel’s influence on it. Also read: Ayan Mukerji says he initially planned to reveal Dev's face in Brahmastra Part 1

Astraverse is not India’s first cinematic universe. Director Amar Kaushik is building his horror-comedy universe with Stree, Roohi, and Bhediya. Similarly, down south, Lokesh Kanagaraj has brought characters from his films Kaithi and Vikram together for Lokiverse. Astraverse should follow suit soon. Ayan Mukerji reveals that Astraverse was not on his radar when he began work on Brahmastra back in 2015. But over time, the trilogy evolved into a larger universe. “The Astraverse plan came to life as we were bringing Brahmastra Part One to life. I didn’t always have this 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,” he says.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, with nearly two dozen films and a handful of web series, is the best example of a multi-platform cinematic universe in the world. And Ayan says he has something similar in mind but the idea isn’t concrete yet. “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,” he shares.

Naturally, with his idea of a grand cinematic universe, he has been compared to Marvel Studios’ boss and MCU creator Kevin Feige. Ayan reveals he actually met the producer earlier this year. “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,” says the director.

He talks about the comparisons from fans and admits he wants to follow in his footsteps but adds that it’s too soon to compare. Ayan says, “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 in six years down the road and then you say, we are really getting that Kevin Feige feel in India. And more than the personal achievement, I will feel happy that we managed to achieve something like that in our country.”

The next installment of the Astraverse--Brahmastra Part Two-Dev--is slated for a 2025 release. Ayan says that more spinoffs and shows will be planned in time, and he will reveal all, when the time is right. Till, the audience and fans wait.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Abhimanyu Mathur is an entertainment journalist with Hindustan Times. He writes about cinema, TV, and OTT, churning out interviews, reviews, and good old news stories.

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