Universal is not hanging back on being part of the shared universe phenomenon in Hollywood. A few years ago, the studio announced its intention to revive its classic monsters universe, comprised of films like Dracula, The Mummy, Bride Of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. Now, Universal is gearing up to kick off the new version with this year's The Mummy, starring #TomCruise and #SofiaBoutella.
As with any major franchise in the making, fans have been cautious about it actually becoming a reality, especially with the sheer scale each project would most likely have. Fortunately, it's time to stop wondering and worrying about the future of Universal's Monster Universe. It's time to get hyped because today Universal announced that...
A 'Dark Universe' Is Coming
The studio released an exciting teaser for the franchise, now officially called #DarkUniverse. The teaser is comprised of clips from Universal's classic monster movies, accompanied by #DannyElfman's new score. Check it out:
At the very end of the teaser, we get to see the franchise's official logo. That animation, alongside Elfamn's fanfare, will be playing before every single film set in that universe, starting with #TheMummy. Of exciting new venture, Chairman of Universal, Donna Langley said:
“We take enormous pride in the creativity and passion that has inspired the reimagining of Universal’s iconic monsters and promise audiences we will expand this series strategically. The enterprise masterfully developed by Chris [Morgan] and Alex [Kurtzman] will allow each subsequent chapter the right time to find the perfect cast, filmmakers and vision to fulfill it. As we launch Dark Universe with Danny’s provocative theme before 'The Mummy' and collaborate with a brilliant filmmaker like Bill to weave the story of a very modern woman in a very classic tale, we feel confident we’re off to a tremendous start.”
Kurtzman and Morgan joined the excitement with their statement:
“When Universal approached us with the idea of reimagining these classic characters, we recognized the responsibility of respecting their legacy while bringing them into new and modern adventures. The studio and our fellow creative collaborators have championed and challenged us as we’ve begun to spin the web of Dark Universe. It’s our hope these movies will engross longtime fans and spark the imaginations of brand-new ones.”
Worry not, that's not all the monster fun we got today...
Get Ready For A Whole Lot Of Monsters
The studio also announced its impressive cast for the franchise with the picture you see above. Aside from Cruise's Nick, Boutella's Mummy and #RussellCrowe's Dr. Henry Jekyll, #JavierBardem has confirmed to be playing Frankenstein's Monster and #JohnnyDepp will be playing the Invisible Man.
How will all these people... err, monsters eventually come together, you ask? Well, we got this interesting piece revealing the connective tissue between all the upcoming films: The organization known as Prodigium, which will be introduced in The Mummy, run by Crowe's character:
"At its organizing principle, 'Dark Universe' films are connected by a mysterious multi-national organization known as Prodigium. Led by the enigmatic and brilliant Dr. Henry Jekyll, Prodigium’s mission is to track, study and—when necessary—destroy evil embodied in the form of monsters in our world. Working outside the aegis of any government, and with practices concealed by millennia of secrecy, Prodigium protects the public from knowledge of the evil that exists just beyond the thin membrane of civilized society…and will go to any length to contain it."
Hmmm, so a S.H.I.E.L.D. for super-powered creatures? Sign me up, please.
What's The Next Step In The Franchise?
Surprisingly, neither Depp's Invisible Man nor Javier Bardem's Frankenstein's Monster will be next in receiving the solo movie treatment. Instead, #BrideOfFrankenstein will be the next Dark Universe chapter, directed by Bill Condon (Beauty and the Beast). Of the project, Condon said:
“I’m very excited to bring a new 'Bride of Frankenstein' to life on screen, particularly since James Whale’s original creation is still so potent. The Bride of Frankenstein remains the most iconic female monster in film history, and that’s a testament to Whale’s masterpiece-which endures as one of the greatest movies ever made.”
The film will be released on February 14, 2019. According to the report, a casting announcement for the titular character will be announced soon.
Aside from that, there was no information on when we should expect new installments. While that may be a bit disappointing, it's smart, as Universal is probably waiting to see how these two upcoming films are received before setting release dates for more projects.
It's really exciting to see a new spin on the shared universe approach to things. There's still very little we know about what the future holds for this franchise, so many questions remain: Will all these movies eventually come together for an Avengers-style crossover? Or will they remain largely separate but have some heavy pieces of connective tissue? These two are exciting possibilities, so I can't wait to see what Universal has for us horror fans in the future.
The first entry in Universal's Dark Universe, The Mummy, hits theaters on June 9, 2017.
What do you think about Universal finally moving forward with Dark Universe? Which movie monster are you most excited to see on the big screen once again? Let me know in the comments!