The world of classic cinematic monsters is getting a 21st century makeover. With Universal Studios owning the rights to a slew of vintage horror movies — The Mummy, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, Bride Of Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Creature From The Black Lagoon — we can expect an entire monster universe to take shape within the next ten years. Variety reported:
"Characters from the monster universe films are expected to crop up in each other’s installments before culminating in an 'Avengers'-style tie-in film."
The brain trust behind the new universe is headed up by producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan (The Fast And The Furious franchise). Kurtzman will be directing The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise, which will kick off the whole thing. According to an interview he gave to Collider, it's going really well so far:
"The monster universe is coming together very very quickly, we’re very excited. There will be announcements soon. We have actually started doing a lot of design work, we’re getting scripts in, everything is feeling really really good, so I don’t want to curse it by saying too much to you, but it’s going well."
The new films are rumored to be a fusion of genres: action/adventure and horror. Understandably, there was some backlash from fans at the thought of moving away from the horror roots of the original films, but Kurtzman assures us that there will still be plenty of horror:
Yeah, I think it’s a fair response and it’s actually not — I think there was some lost in translation quality to the way it was received, because I promise you there will be horror in these movies. It is our life goal to make a horror movie. The tricky part is actually how you combine horror with either adventure or suspense or action and be true to all the genres together. In some way, 'Mummy,' dating all the way back to the Karloff movie, was the first to do that. It was the first to combine horror with — I wouldn’t say action, but certainly a lot of suspense. So it’s more about how you blend the different elements and stay true to each one, but there will definitely be horror in the monster movies…We will hopefully serve it up good and plenty.
So what movies are going to be in the Universal Monster Universe? Here's the complete list so far:
Release Date: June 9, 2017
Alex Kurtzman himself will be directing the first official film of the Monster Universe, starring Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis. Cruise plays Tyler Colt, a Navy Seal on a mission in the Iraqi desert to locate a group of terrorists believed to be hiding in a bunker. When he and his team find the terrorists, they turn out to be grave robbers — and they all turn out to be dead. The bunker turns out to be an ancient tomb, and Colt and his team fall under a mysterious spell. They begin to turn on one another, and Tyler is the only one to make it into the depths of the tomb. There, he finds a black iron sarcophagus covered in Egyptian symbols. The forces that possess the tomb influence Tyler to open the sarcophagus.
Check out set photos and more casting info for The Mummy remake here.
Untiled Wolf Man Film
Release Date: March 30, 2018
Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners) is hard at work on the script for this remake of the 1941. According to Deadline, Universal is hoping Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson can clear his schedule to make time to star, but we'll see if that actually pans out.
Release Date: February 15, 2019
Aside from the release date, we know basically nothing about this untitled film. Could it be the Avenger-style tie-in film, featuring all the Universal monsters?
Untitled Van Helsing Film
There's still no release date for the solo film, centered around the vampire hunter from 1931 Dracula, or any other information about the cast and crew.
Untitled Creature From The Black Lagoon Film
According to Tracking Board, Universal is leaning toward offering the lead role to Scarlett Johansson, but nothing's been confirmed yet.
Untitled Bride Of Frankenstein Film
Like most of the other films, plot details about the the Bride Of Frankenstein remake are being kept close to the vest, but Variety tells us that the film will be set in the present day. David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible) is already working on the script, and rumor has it that Universal wants to offer both the director's chair and the starring role to Angelina Jolie.
Untitled Invisible Man Film
The Hollywood Reporter announced that Johnny Depp is slated to star in the Invisible Man reboot. Ed Solomon is currently working on the script, but no word yet on release date or other cast and crew information.
Released: October 10, 2014
While Dracula Untold may have hit theaters before news of the monster universe was made public, the final scene of the film — which shows the title character (Luke Evans) in the modern world — might pave the way for tying the film in with the others.