Universal Officially Announces ‘Dark Universe’ of Connected Monster Movies
Last year, Universal Pictures slated Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) for their Invisible Man remake, which would follow Tom Cruise’s The Mummy (in theaters next month) as part of their interconnected Monster Universe — which we now know has been branded the “Dark Universe.” Like Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe, the films will belong to the same franchise and operate in a shared universe, allowing for crossovers.
Universal also released a new image, featuring (left to right) Russell Crowe (Dr. Jekyll, appearing in The Mummy), Javier Bardem (Frankenstein’s Monster), Tom Cruise (Nick Morton, The Mummy), Johnny Depp (the Invisible Man) and Sofia Boutella (Ahmanet, The Mummy). Crowe’s Jekyll will serve as the franchise’s “Nick Fury” (as played by Samuel L. Jackson in the Marvel films), who will link the films together as his organization — Prodigium, introduced next month in The Mummy — seeks out the world’s monsters.
Bill Condon (Beauty and the Beast) has been tapped to helm Bride of Frankenstein, from screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Spider-Man), coming alive on February 14th, 2019. It will be the “story of a very modern woman in a very classic tale,” said Universal chairman Donna Langley.
Dracula Untold, the 2014 Dracula origin story that starred Luke Evans as the iconic bloodsucker, was originally set to be the start of Universal’s Monster Universe until box office failure caused the studio to leave it behind. In 2010, Cruise was interested in resurrecting Van Helsing — the 2004 flop (also from Universal) that starred Hugh Jackman as the legendary monster hunter, forced to hunt down Dracula, the Wolfman, and Frankenstein’s Monster. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci were attached to that project, with Kurtzman eventually directing The Mummy and becoming a producer on Universal’s Dark Universe.
As evidenced by trailers for The Mummy, Cruise’s Nick Morton mysteriously survives a plane crash. While the supernatural phenomena around his return to life will be explored in The Mummy, maybe it’s possible Cruise will end up playing Van Helsing after all — even if in name only, as in he becomes the one who will combat the Monsters once the connective threads between the films have come together and begin crossing over. Sign us up.
The Mummy opens June 9th.