The Mummy is set to kick off Universal’s Monster Universe; a cinematic universe a la the MCU, which will revolve around classic monsters from literature and pop culture. Universal has already announced 5 films following The Mummy will be The Invisible Man, Bride of Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Van Helsing and The Wolf Man. This is all very exciting news for fans, and Universal has already begun signing A-list talent to star in the films.
Universal has already cast Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man, Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's monster, and Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll. The actors and characters alike are iconic, and it seems certain that each of these men will be a key part in establishing Universal's Monster Universe. On the other hand, Tom Cruise is listed as playing a character named Nick Morton in The Mummy. If you don’t know who Nick Morton is, that’s because he is a completely new character for the film.
It seems a bit strange that Universal would go through all this trouble to cast A-list actors in pivotal roles, but have Tom Cruise front-and-center in this unknown role. It’s possible that they created a brand-new character specifically for Cruise, but something seems fishy. This might be because Tom Cruise might be secretly playing the most famous monster slayer of all time, #VanHelsing.
What We Know So Far About Tom Cruise In 'The Mummy'
Official synopsis for The Mummy:
"Thought safely entombed in a crypt deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient queen (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her, is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension. From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters."
In the official synopsis above, there is no mention of Tom Cruise anywhere. This seems particularly strange, because Tom Cruise is a huge movie star. Surely his character Nick Morton is pivotal to the story — so why are they keeping his exact role so secret? In the trailer, we see Nick Morton involved in a brutal plane crash, that seemingly kills all the passengers.
Want to read more about the Universal Monsters Universe? Check out:
- Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe: (Almost) One Hundred Years In The Making
- Here's Everything We Know About Universal's Monster Universe So Far
- What Is This Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe Leading Up To?
We then see Nick Morton rise in his body bag, looking quite well. Did Nick Morton survive a plane crash? If he didn't, how did he come back from the dead? We don’t know yet, but there’s something about him that makes him special. There is also the issue of Nick Morton not being the first name Tom Cruise’s character. Before the trailer was released, Universal has Cruise’s character listed as Tyler Colt – which sounds like a comic book gunslinger. Let's be honest: both of these names have 'witness relocation' written all over them. This could be because both names are not who the character really is – similar to Benedict Cumberbatch's character being referred to as 'John Harrison' rather than Kahn leading up to the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Could Nick Morton Secretly Be Van Helsing?
Universal has been very stingy with the details on Nick Morton, and probably for good reason. If he was a new character, they surely would have told us all about him in preparation for his debut – especially since he is kicking off this brand-new universe. With all the secrecy surrounding Cruise’s character, the fact that they changed his name, and that he is played by arguably one the biggest movie stars on the planet, makes it seems likely Nick Morton is someone very important.
Tom Cruise is usually a hero in his movies, and it’s a fair bet that he is a hero in The Mummy as well. But what heroes exist in the #UniversalMonsters Universe? The big name that sticks out in Dracula’s nemesis, Van Helsing. Tom Cruise was supposed to star as Van Helsing in a 2012 reboot of the property, but that plan was “abandoned”, and Tom Cruise signed on to #TheMummy instead.
Universal has already announced a #VanHelsing film for the future, and it would make sense if they introduced him in earlier films – much like Russell Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll in The Mummy. The writer of the upcoming Van Helsing film, Eric Heisserer, had this to say regarding his take on the classic vampire-hunter:
"[He will be] Someone who had no extraordinary powers, just resourcefulness and will and kind of a stubbornness who’s able to tackle some of these bigger problems"
This quote from Heisserer could fall in line with what we've seen from Tom Cruise in The Mummy trailer. If we decide the idea of Cruise being immortal was a misdirect, then Nick Morton could be just an ordinary guy who encounters the supernatural and decides that he is going to stand against it. He could take on the name Van Helsing in the solo film, and this could be his origin story. Tom Cruise would then become the face on the Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe, as the beacon of humanity in a sea of monsters.
When it comes down to it, Nick Morton could become Van Helsing, or he could just be the heir to the Morton Salt fortune – umbrella and all. This is all just speculation, but having The Mummy be a stealth origin story for Van Helsing would be an exciting way to promote the idea of a shared universe. Whatever the case may be, we are still hyped for The Mummy and can’t wait to see how Universal executes their shared universe. The Mummy hits theaters on June 9, 2017.
Sound Off! Do you think Tom Cruise is secretly playing Van Helsing in Universal Monsters Shared Universe? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below.