One of the big yuks about this summer’s Barbenheimer hybrid event was that both Oppenheimer and Barbie were so completely different. One was colorful, the other was monochrome. One was joyous, the other incredibly serious. One had women who actually did stuff in it, the other was Oppenheimer. But with the benefit of hindsight, maybe the films had more in common than we thought. Oppenheimer, after all, was a film about decisions that had horrible consequences; about a huge and impressive feat that plunged the world into a state of overt and constant terror that has lasted for three quarters of a century. In other words: it was about Barbie.

Because, yes, look, Barbie was great. It was funny and smart and made more money than the human mind can imagine. But the consequences of Barbie are terrifying. Last week, the entertainment wing of the toy company Hasbro put out a press release announcing it was “evolving into the company’s next chapter of content creation”. Which, in other words, means that thanks to Barbie we’re all going to get lumped around the head by millions of toy movies until we die.

The key paragraph of the press release reads as follows: “Hasbro Entertainment is actively developing and producing over 30 projects and is focused on priority brands including DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, TRANSFORMERS, GI JOE, NERF, PLAY-DOH, MAGIC: THE GATHERING, PEPPA PIG, MY LITTLE PONY, and more.” Try to think of something more depressing than a film about Play-Doh.

Of course, some of these proposed movies do make a certain amount of sense. Peppa Pig has been a wildly successful television series for many years, and has a wide and deep mythology to build from. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves was one of the nice surprises of this year, a larky little fantasy film that refused to take itself very seriously. My Little Pony has already spawned two films, four specials and 366 episodes of television spread across five distinct properties – so, sure, why not throw some more on the pile?

But Play-Doh. Imagine being the poor fool at Hasbro who had to go and find new intellectual property to turn into movies. Imagine them tearing the store cupboard apart looking for something, anything, that hasn’t already been developed for the screen. Imagine the sinking in their heart when they realized the only thing left was a tub of dough. Imagine how hard they must have talked themselves up before pitching it to their bosses. Imagine the intense fear of ridicule. Imagine the shame. Imagine the utter disbelief when the Hasbro brass heard the pitch and then agreed to make a movie – hell, it’s 2023, so it’s an entire cinematic universe – about some sodding Play-Doh.

But Play-Doh. Imagine being the poor fool at Hasbro who had to go and find new intellectual property to turn into movies.

And Hasbro is just one company. Mattel plans to maximize on Barbie’s popularity by making films based on Hot Wheels, Polly Pocket, Major Matt Mason, Boglins, Matchbox Cars, Uno, American Girl, Bass Fishin’, Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots and the Magic 8 Ball. And don’t forget, before Barbie came along, the highest-grossing film of the year was Super Mario Bros., based on a Nintendo video game. As such, Nintendo is now rumored to be working on movies based on The Legend of Zelda, Luigi’s Mansion and Donkey Kong, as well as a Mario sequel. Mario was made when Nintendo saw how financially successful the Sonic the Hedgehog movies were; something that has made Sega supposedly start development on films based on Streets of Rage, Altered Beast, Crazy Taxi, Shinobi, Virtua Fighter, House of the Dead, Comix Zone and Space Channel 5.

This is just where we are now, isn’t it? Every movie we ever go and see for the rest of our lives is going to either be based on a toy or a game. Forget actual, serious, mid-budget independent film, this is even enough to make you nostalgic for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At least Marvel movies are based on actual comic books that were built on a long tradition of storytelling. Sure, they might all be confusing, ugly, soapy sludges at the moment. Sure, the wheels are coming off faster than anyone can keep up with. Sure, the MCU is very obviously on its last legs. But, faced with an infinite future of films based on some dough in a tub, don’t they start to look like actual masterpieces?

In other words, it’s a horrible future, and it’s all Barbie’s fault. Now she has become death, the destroyer of worlds.

Stuart Heritage is a Kent, U.K.–based Writer at Large for AIR MAIL and the author of Bedtime Stories for Worried Liberals