What if Paul Newman starred in Iron Man (2008) instead of Robert Downey Jr.? Or if Cecil B. DeMille directed Interstellar (2014) instead of Christopher Nolan? Can you imagine 1982's Blade Runner as a 1940s film noir? Or The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) as a silent movie? Graphic designer and former video store employee Peter Stults can. Since 2011, he’s been designing hypothetical movie posters, featuring classic actors in contemporary films. He calls the series of hypothetical posters “What If.”
Stults’ poster designs are fun to look at and beautifully designed, but what’s truly impressive about them is the amount of research and imagination making them requires. Stults isn’t just interested in making funny incongruous movie mash-ups—he’s imagining plausible alternate universe versions of these movies. According to WIRED, Stults asks questions like, “Who’s the James Cameron of the ’40s?” and makes a serious attempt at answering them.
“I also get nit-picky about what is actually possible in terms of time and era,” Stults told WIRED. “Like, doing something where the plot just couldn’t happen outside of its own timeframe, which mainly pertains to ‘based on a true story’ films—doing The Social Network outside of the ’00s just doesn’t work.”
Check out some of our favorite “What If” posters below, and take a look at all of Stults’ wonderful imaginary movie posters on his Behance page.
All images courtesy of Peter Stults.