The Beatles’ Backstory To Be Explored In Four MCU-Style Movies

22 February 2024 | 1:34 pm | Ellie Robinson

‘Skyfall’ and ‘Spectre’ director Sam Mendes will helm the interconnected series, all chapters of which will release within the same year.

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Forget superheroes – the age of the BCU (Beatles Cinematic Universe) is upon us, with Oscar-sweeping icon Sam Mendes helming a series of interconnected biopics – one following each member of the Fab Four – for an ambitious Hollywood project.

He’ll direct all four of the films under his Neal Street Productions banner, with Sony Pictures onboard to distribute them theatrically. None of the films have official titles, casts or crews as of yet (aside from producers Pippa Harris and Julie Pastor, and executive producer Jeff Jones), but we already know that all four of them will be released in 2027.

Similar to the way other shared universes (like the Marvel Cinematic Universe) work, each instalment of the quadrilogy will have its own story and leading character – in this case, one film will centre on Paul McCartney, one on John Lennon, one on Ringo Starr and one on George Harrison – but each film will intertwine and form part of a broader narrative.

According to Deadline, who broke the news earlier this week, the films will follow each member’s “coming of age when they became global recording and film stars who made young girls swoon and left the quartet often running for their lives from pursuing crowds of fans”.

Notably, this mark the first time The Beatles and their enterprise, Apple Corps, have granted full life story and music rights for a scripted production. McCartney and Starr personally gave their own blessings to the project, as did the estates of the late Lennon and Harrison.

The films were reportedly greenlit by Sony execs Tom Rothman and Elizabeth Gabler. Mendes said of the occasion in a statement shared with Deadline: “We went out to LA just before Christmas to pitch the project, and it’s fair to say we were met with universal enthusiasm. The reason Sony stood out from competing offers was down to Tom and Elizabeth’s passion for the idea and commitment to propelling these films theatrically in an innovative and exciting way.”

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Harris said in her own statement that Sam had the idea for the films “over a year ago”, and noted that it’s “a testament to his creative brilliance and powers of persuasion that Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Sean Lennon and Olivia Harrison responded with such warmth and enthusiasm as soon as he spoke with them”.

Harris went on to say he intends for this project to represent “a uniquely thrilling and epic cinematic experience”, and said of the importance of having The Beatles themselves onboard: “To have The Beatles’ and Apple Corps’ blessing to do this is an immense privilege. From our first meeting with Tom Rothman and Elizabeth Gabler, it was clear that they shared both our passion and ambition for this project, and we can’t think of a more perfect home than Sony Pictures.”

She continued: “What is truly exciting is for Sam to have the freedom to delve into the lives of each of the Beatles, with nothing off limits and no sense of the band wanting him to tell a particular ‘authorised’ version of their rise to success.”

Jones – who is also the CEO of Apple Corps – said in a formal statement: “Apple Corps is delighted to collaborate with Sam, Pippa and Julie to explore each Beatle’s unique story and to bring them together in a suitably captivating and innovative way. Sony Pictures’ enthusiastic support, championing the project’s scope and creative vision from the start, has been invaluable for all of us.”

Rothman added to the sentiment: “I know I speak for our CEO Tony Vinciquerra, who was instrumental in making this happen, and every Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group colleague around the world when I say: ‘yeah, yeah, yeah!’ Theatrical movie events today must be culturally seismic. Sam’s daring, large-scale idea is that and then some.

“Pairing his premiere filmmaking team, with the music and the stories of four young men who changed the world, will rock audiences all over the globe. We are deeply grateful to all parties and look forward ourselves to breaking some rules with Sam’s uniquely artistic vision.”

Mendes is best known for directing 1999’s American Beauty (which won five Academy Awards, six BAFTAs and three Golden Globes), 2019’s 1917 (which won three Academy Awards, seven BAFTAs and two Golden Globes), and the James Bond entries Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015).

Last year saw The Beatles release their final song, Now And Then, with an accompanying music video helmed by The Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson. He’d previously directed the three-part Disney documentary The Beatles: Get Back.