A slew of news surrounding Universal Studio's shared monster universe has been making its way around the internet with recent set photos from The Mummy to rumors of bringing on Javier Bardem as Frankenstein. In addition, Universal has already begun rounding up some of Hollywood's most talented actors such as Russell Crowe and Johnny Depp to portray its classic monsters. In light of all of this, a more practical question arises: Do we really need a shared monster universe?
The Superhero Phenomenon
Shared cinematic universes have become a hot commodity in the superhero genre as of late. When Iron Man hit theaters in 2008, it forever changed the landscape of blockbuster films and the superhero genre by kicking off the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). After a series of standalone films, The Avengers was finally released in 2012 and displayed how impactful a shared universe was for audiences who were able to watch their favorite characters together on screen for the first time. DC and Warner Brothers have followed suit with the DC Cinematic Extended Universe (DCEU) and we now live in a post Batman v Superman world which showcased three of comics most iconic characters on screen while we now await an even larger team up in Justice League.
While Universal Studios is now looking to follow the same mold as Marvel and DC by creating its own shared cinematic universe, will audiences be as receptive to a combined world of monsters as they were with their beloved superheroes? This is harder to answer directly but what can easily be said for the characters associated with Universal's monster world is that they are definitely some of the most iconic figures in storytelling regardless of format.
I am referring to characters such as Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jekyl/Mr.Hyde and many others that people all over the world recognize from folklore, classic books, and films. While these characters may not be as popular in the current state of the Hollywood blockbuster, there is no denying that people recognize them and their original films which have been solidified as classics in the horror genre. It would probably be fair to say that classic monster characters at the very least, are just as iconic as our current variety of comic book superheroes.
The Bottom Line: A Golden Opportunity
To return to our original question, do we really need a shared monster universe? The answer is no, we do not need a shared monster universe any more than we needed an MCU or DCEU. But the fact remains that to deny any potential in such an endeavor would be short-sighted and could deny fans the opportunity to experience another great cinematic project. We now live in an era where we are able to watch our favorite characters come together into a single film because of the shared universe concept. This idea was thought to be almost impossible even just 15 years ago. At the same time, it did not seem like a concept people were pushing for, at least with respect to the general movie-going public.
Ultimately what seems to have happened at least with the MCU and DCEU is that we have been given these great shared cinematic universes we had no idea we wanted in the first place. This may ultimately be the case with Universal's shared monster universe which is, whether we initially like it or not, off to the races with The Mummy set for a June, 2017 release. The only thing that seems to be missing is a catchy acronym. So to end our discussion and get a better gauge of the wider fan community's thoughts, I pose the question to you. How do you feel about Universal's upcoming shared monster universe? Voice your opinion in the poll below!