There are few things that bring a bigger smile to my face than the Magic Mike Cinematic Universe (yes, I’m coining this terminology right now, let’s call it the MMCU for short). You might be asking yourself, “But, Alejandra, aren’t there only two movies? Is that even enough to support a whole cinematic universe?” Well, dear reader, allow me to introduce you to some great news: there’s a third addition to the MMCU forthcoming — hello, Magic Mike’s Last Dance. Information on this is scant, save for some whispered ideas around the web and hints sprinkled like crumbs across this fabulous oral history recently published by The Ringer. If you, too, are eager to follow the adventures of the himbos in the MMCU, come along with me as I take these wisps of information and wildly speculate about the possibilities.
Theory 1: Mike and the Boys Take Their Show to An Established Stage — Broadway, Anyone?
In the aforementioned oral history, there’s one tidbit that’s been spinning in my mind: crazy dance numbers. Choreographer Alison Fauk has, apparently, created some truly astounding-sounding numbers. Costume designer Christopher Peterson says in the oral history, “There are no thongs in the third film. There are 12 dance numbers—one sequence where men are dancing as swans down Carnaby Street—and its narrative is constructed around the Magic Mike Live show.” This quote opens up worlds of potential, particularly glitzy ones. The MMCU has always been about showbiz – the seedy underbelly of it, the glamor and thrill of it – why not keep that narrative going on the great white way this time around? Or, by the looks of that quote, maybe even the West End?
Theory 2: The Boys Give Us An Old-School Musical Spectacular
While it’s a shame there aren’t any thongs in the new addition to the MMCU, there is something else eye-catching to look forward to — outrageous dance sequences. Aside from the quote above, in a February 2022 interview with The New York Times, Channing Tatum hinted that the next chapter in the MMCU would be an ambitious one. “We’re trying to do a fish-out-of-water story where it’s a reverse-role ‘Pretty Woman’ story that ends up with a lot of dancing in it,” he said.
Lots of dancing is nothing new for the MMCU (see every routine in Magic Mike XXL for instance). And yet, thinking about the boys and some new friends dancing it up a la the Old White Way is irresistible. Musicals can fit into the mood of glitz, glamor, and (let’s be honest) camp the MMCU has built up over the years, and why not add everyone’s himbo heroes into the musical mix? Add in the reverse Pretty Woman plot and it could be incredible, if done well. Otherwise, there might be a treacly version of “Pony” we’ll have to deal with at the end of it all and I don’t know if I’m ready to support that. Here’s hoping for the best!
Theory 3: Magic Mike’s Last Dance — Upcoming Feminist Classic? #HimboForShe
All the visions of insane dance numbers and men in swan costumes dancing through the streets of London are enticing for sure. However, there was more regarding the reverse Pretty Woman dynamic Tatum has talked about. It all seems more intentionally centered around women, instead of the more happily accidental way the first two movies fell into catering to female desire. “We went out and actually made it with women. It was an education. What we made is today my favorite thing that we’ve made in our careers,” Tatum said in an Indiewire piece from earlier this year. Indeed, in the same piece it’s mentioned that the main plot would be centered around a female character who’s “stuck at a horrible strip show like a Chippendales” when she’s finally taken out of it by Mike himself.
Leave it to the MMCU to keep the feminism in their universe simple and contained. While an MMCU love story is nothing consequential in the wake of the awful realities of our world (SCOTUS kindly fuck off), it leaves room for something we can all use: a simple distraction from the burning hellscape of our daily existence. If I can escape for 2.5 hours or so and have something to look forward to in some small way because of Tatum and co.’s cinematic excesses, no matter how shallow, I’ll take it.
There have been multiple hints and mentions of what Magic Mike’s Last Dance is going to be — and they all sound like a great time!! Left in the capable hands of the MMCU team, it looks like it’s going to be ambitious if nothing else. Honestly, with this movie reaching for the moon, it’s bound to land amongst the stars (or at the very least in my heart), and I’ll take those odds any day. I guess we’ll have to see how it all goes down whenever the next chapter in the MMCU unfolds.