Something wicked this way comes in the form of Universal's Dark Universe, which pits classic movie villains together in a monster mash of epic proportions. The Mummy. The Bride of Frankenstein. Wolfman. If it oozes, creeps, or crawls, it's bound to appear as Universal threads this freaky franchise together. Not only is Universal bringing some of the horror genre's biggest names together on the big screen, but also some of Hollywood's biggest stars. So, which actors are shuffling and howling into the roles of Universal's classic monsters? Here's a comprehensive list of every casting confirmation, as well as casting rumors for unclaimed roles.
Warning: Spoilers for The Mummy will come on swift wings to whomsoever reads this list.
The Invisible Man
- Johnny Depp (Confirmed)
- Movie: The Invisible Man (2019)
Universal's Invisible Man first 'appeared' onscreen in 1933, thanks to ground-breaking special effects and a creepy script adapted from the H.G. Wells novel of the same name. The film focused on the work of Dr. Jack Griffin, a chemist who discovered a drug that held the secrets of invisibility. However, this ability comes at the cost of his sanity and the bandage-clad, goggle-sporting Dr. Griffin is driven homicidal by his newfound powers.
According to Deadline, Johnny Depp is due to disappear as the Invisible Man, who was last (un)seen in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It's uncertain if Depp will be playing a direct adaptation of the original character or an analogue of Dr. Griffin and his multiple spin-offs, but he's bound to bring his own zany brand of vocal creepiness to the role, whatever form that may take.
Appearing In: Admittedly, the Invisible Man could already have made his debut in The Mummy without us knowing. However, it's most likely that Depp won't debut until The Invisible Man hits theaters.
- Javier Bardem (confirmed)
- Movie: Bride of Frankenstein (2019), Untitled Frankenstein film (TBA)
Frankenstein was the second great Universal Monster to appear in the 1930s, the era when Hollywood horror really started to horrify audiences. The film was based loosely on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, a Gothic novel which introduced audiences to the inimitable creature that's returned from the dead time and time again.
Serial villain Javier Bardem has been confirmed to star as Frankenstein's Monster in Bill Condon's Bride of Frankenstein reboot - the sequel to the Boris Karloff original - in which audiences were introduced to the monster's white-shot and wide-eyed spouse.
The Oscar-winning actor joked about playing the iconic monster with Screen Rant:
"But, yes, I am very interested and also, they know that I have the head size, so they are not going to waste a lot of money in makeup, which is good."
His tongue-in-cheek comment actually touches on a pertinent point. The monster is supposed to be physically imposing, and intimidating at a glance. Who better to play that character than the actor who won an Oscar for his deadpan performance as the terrifying villain Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men?
Appearing In: The Bride of Frankenstein, in which he "demands a mate", though the bride has yet to be cast.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
- Russell Crowe (confirmed)
- Movie: The Mummy (2017)
Dr. Jekyll was imagined by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, who first published the novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in 1886. Universal adapted the story into the tale of an Englishman that discovers a dangerous serum which releases the evil within him, giving birth to his murderous alter ego: Mr. Hyde.
Russell Crowe plays the tormented Dr. Jekyll in the Dark Universe, in which he works for the mysterious agency Prodigium. The organization charges itself with protecting the world from supernatural threats, and is also charged with guarding the recently defeated Princess Ahmanet by the end of The Mummy.
"We recognize, examine, contain, destroy."
-Dr. Jekyll, 'The Mummy'
Russell Crowe polarizes fans, but this dual role is an interesting take on his abilities as both a dramatic and an action-oriented actor.
Appearing In: The Mummy, thus far, with the potential to appear in every subsequent movie that follows. Russell Crowe's Dr. Jekyll and his shady organization are penned to be the connective thread between these relatively disparate movies, so expect to see a lot more from Dr. Jekyll in future installments.
- Sofia Boutella (confirmed)
- Tom Cruise (rumored)
- Movie: The Mummy (2017)
The Mummy staggered out of the tomb on release, failing to clamber to the same heights of Universal's last attempt to breathe fresh life into the character at the domestic box office. The rotten character first appeared onscreen in 1932, but most audiences remember the hugely successful action-comedy reboot starring Brendan Fraser.
In the latest outing, Sofia Boutella played the role of Princess Ahmanet, the gender-swapped Mummy that sold her soul to the Egyptian god Set. When Tom Cruise's Nick Morton disturbs her sarcophagus, he became wrapped up in the undead Princesses's schemes. After taking the power of Set into himself to defeat Princess Ahmanet, Tom Cruise was reborn as a quasi-human-monster, and is possibly set to play a version of the Mummy in future installments of the Dark Universe.
Appearing In: The Mummy - obviously. Princess Ahmanet remains a future threat, perhaps for the inevitable ensemble monster mash that Universal will be hoping to build towards with future standalone movies.
Tom Cruise could feasibly return in any future installments, with the closing lines of the movie suggesting that he'll be pivotal to the future of the franchise.
The Bride of Frankenstein
- Angelina Jolie (rumored)
- Movie: The Bride of Frankenstein (2019)
The Bride of Frankenstein is an iconic role and the original movie is widely considered to be a masterpiece of filmmaking. Much more than the female counterpart of Frankenstein's Monster, the creature has a totally different vibe and energy to the shambling green hulk that Javier Bardem is due to play in the upcoming film.
Alex Kurtzman, director of The Mummy, spoke to Uproxx about potential actors that Universal were hopeful of signing for their Dark Universe. He repeated an often-touted rumor that Angelina Jolie was in the running to play the Bride of Frankenstein, but his comments still only amount to little more than a wish at this stage.
Jolie is reportedly locked in to next reprise her role as Maleficent in a sequel to the hit live-action movie, but the actor's slate remains clear besides that. However, her prestige as a director has grown in recent years, with the Oscar-winner preferring to spend time behind the camera than in front of it. So, whether that shuts down Kurtzman's comments or not still remains to be seen.
- Scarlett Johansson (rumored)
- Movie: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (TBA)
Gill-man was teased in The Mummy when a severed webbed-hand appeared in the laboratory of Prodigium, and script-writer Will Beall has been hooked in to write the script for a reboot of The Creature From The Black Lagoon. The slinking, rubbery creature from a remote part of the Amazon mesmerized audiences in 1954, during the second big spate of Universal Monster movies.
According to Tracking Board, Universal is eyeing Scarlett Johansson in an unknown role, though it's likely to be an update on the iconic role of The Creature From The Black Lagoon's damsel in distress, Julie Adams - presumably with some more guts and CGI.
Depending on how the events of Avengers: Infinity War pan out, Johansson could have some spare time on her hands after her character Black Widow goes head-to-head against Thanos and his Black Order. It's also unlikely that she'll continue her role in the Ghost in the Shell franchise, making her appearance in the upcoming Universal creature feature more likely, if the rumors are to be believed.
The Wolf Man
- Dwayne Johnson (rumored)
- Movie: The Wolf Man (TBA)
Everyone's seen a version of the Wolf Man at some point or another. Universal's first foray into the world of the fuzzy and furious protagonist came in 1941. The Wolf Man, directed by Curt Siodmak, featured Lon Chaney, who would reprise the role multiple times. Most notably, he returned in the 1943 crossover Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, the first monster ensemble movie in a slew of similar efforts.
According to Screen Rant, rumors surrounding Dwayne Johnson's casting as the Wolfman refuse to die, like many of the creatures on this list. A script for The Wolfman reboot was recently drafted by Dave Callaham, with Johnson still (reportedly) attached to play the titular wolf.
Johnson is a busy, busy man, though, and between rumors of running for the presidency and starring in 12 upcoming projects already, he might not have the time to rampage through Universal's beleaguered franchise.
- Channing Tatum (rumored)
- Movie: Untitled Van Helsing film (TBA), Untitled Dracula film (TBA)
- Annabelle Wallis (rumored)
- Movie: The Mummy (rumored), Untitled Dracula film (TBA)
Van Helsing has fascinated readers for over a century, ever since the 1897 Gothic novel 'Dracula'. The character has appeared in multiple novels, comics, and movies ever since, even warranting his own movie featuring Hugh Jackman. The original character was an academically accomplished figure, and a prestigious vampire hunter.
While Dracula is yet to become a known presence in the Dark Universe, rumors suggest that his archenemy is soon to be introduced in the form of Channing Tatum. The Magic Mike and G.I. Joe star has been set to play Gambit for Fox's mutant franchise for years, but the film is currently being reworked after the success of Logan. Whether this means he will be more or less likely to star as Helsing is unclear, but THR have stated that Universal is aiming for Tatum regardless.
An alternative rumor suggests that Van Helsing has already been introduced to the dark old of actors. The Mummy already made a statement by swapping the gender of its titular antagonist, and now there's a growing theory that suggests Universal are prepared to do the same for one of their biggest heroes. The theory in question suggests that Annabelle Wallis's Jenny Halsey is a female version of Van Helsing for the modern era.
The character has already been gender-swapped for TV in the series Van Helsing, but there's nothing to say that the same trick can't be played twice.
That's it so far! Which classic movie monster do you want to see make a return in the Dark Universe? Sound off below.