What is the ‘Jason Universe’? Good Question.

We don’t really know either, but we know what not to expect, and we can speculate on the rest.

On May 16th, 2024, IGN exclusively announced the impending arrival of something called “Jason Universe.” The announcement was accompanied by an image of a familiar hockey mask, and the numbers 1 and 3 are in the stylized title, making it JASON UN1V3RSE. So, fans will be getting something related to Jason Voorhees and Friday the 13th, right? Yes, but what exactly? The answer to that question is vague, but let’s take a look anyway.

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A New Era for Jason, but Technically Not for Friday the 13th

Jason walks the streets of New York City in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Jason has been away for far too long.

Jason Universe is touted as a “new era” for Friday the 13th. But right away, it should be clarified that technically it can’t be called “Friday the 13th,” which is why “Jason” and references to the number 13 are used instead. That’s because Jason Universe is a project coming to us from Victor Miller, Marc Toberoff, and Horror, Inc., the same partners working together on the still-upcoming Crystal Lake TV series. More than a year ago we did an in-depth look at Crystal Lake and the excruciating legal struggles is took for that show to come to life (a show which is in the news again this year thanks to Bryan Fuller stepping away from the project).

Long story short, Miller, Toberoff, and Horror, Inc. have the rights to many elements seen throughout the Friday the 13th film franchise, but they can’t use the “Friday the 13th” title (even though Jason Universe does explicitly mention “Friday the 13th” in its social media profiles). It also appears they can’t make any movies based on the property because, as Bryan Fuller is quoted as saying, the rights to making new movies are “super, super messy.” So if we’re not getting new movies in the Jason Universe, what are we going to get.

What Not to Expect

Jason standing in the rain in Freddy vs. Jason (2003).
Jason Universe is not a cinematic universe. At least, not that we know of.

The word “universe” carries a lot of baggage in the entertainment business these days. It’s a buzzword that is quickly met with apprehension and the rolling of eyes by many people. Seeing “universe” attached to any franchise immediately brings to mind the shared universes of the MCU and the DCEU/DCU, as well as failed attempts at cinematic universes like Universal Pictures’ Dark Universe. The idea has also been floated that Halloween might venture into universal storytelling across TV and film, but that’s not what’s happening with Friday the 13th.

So, as mentioned above, don’t expect any new movies. And at least for now, don’t expect any other live-action projects based on Jason Voorhees and Friday the 13th other than the Crystal Lake series coming, at some point in the future, to Peacock. News about Jason Universe is nebulous at best right now, which might be a tactic to generate anticipation, or it might be because they’re still finalizing plans on what exactly they’re going to start with (or both). They still might surprise us with an announcement of a new TV project or something similar, but with the tumultuous path to the Crystal Lake series, it can be assumed any other traditional live-action projects are a long way away.

Jason Universe Activates in 2024

Uber Jason stands amnog sparks in Jason X (2001).
Seeing the phrase “Jason Universe” might bring to mind Uber Jason from Jason X. Will we see this Jason somewhere in the Universe?

Rather than a shared cinematic universe, Jason Universe is a series of “activations” that will “span a wide range of platforms from entertainment, games, immersive experiences, merchandise and more.” What is an “activation”? It’s a marketing buzzword that is used to describe “the art of driving consumer action through brand interaction and experiences.” What does that mean? To us, that’s corporate-speak stating that Jason Universe is going to attempt to generate renewed interest in Jason and the idea of the Friday the 13th franchise through merchandise and modern social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. The cynical take is that this is a way to try to generate buzz for the eventual release of Crystal Lake, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Games are also mentioned, which could be good. Friday the 13th: The Game was enjoyed by many players, but it is no longer available for purchase, and its playable future is uncertain after the end of 2024. Horror, Inc. was involved with the game, so it would be great if they could work with the game’s developers to remove any copyright-infringing content so that it can be brought back to life. Or even better, a completely new narrative-driven game with Jason would be amazing. And maybe even something done in VR to meet the “immersive experiences” portion of the Jason Universe promises? That could be fun.

It would also be exciting to see the return of something like the Camp Crystal Lake series of young-adult novels. The original four books in the series were published in the 1990s, and they fetch quite a price online, so if it’s possible to republish those it would be fantastic. But also, new books done in a retro paperback style would also be great. More comic books would always be welcome too. And really, any renewed interest in Friday the 13th has the potential to be good. For fans, this Jason Universe could be a good thing. We remain cautiously optimistic.

Where to Stay Informed About JASON UN1V3RSE

Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.
While we wait for more Jason, a complete re-watch of the Friday the 13th movies isn’t a bad idea.

This is all pure speculation though. The announcement of Jason Universe is just planting a seed. Fans of Friday the 13th have been starved for more from the franchise for years, mostly thanks to the prolonged legal battles keeping Jason Voorhees locked away for years. The last movie was the Friday the 13th remake released in 2009, and it’s been about that long since we’ve seen Jason in other forms like comic books. The most recent video game was good, but many fans just want to see Jason in live-action again. Despite the off-putting corporate verbiage of the announcement, hopefully Jason Universe leads to something substantial for fans of the franchise. It’s been a long time.

To stay up-to-date with Jason Universe, you can follow them on their social media profiles, all of which are linked on their official web site: jasonuniverse.com

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.