Shared universes can be a tough sell nowadays, especially now since they can be perceived as derivative. However, if a studio puts the right creative minds together, these shared universes can be very successful.
Universal Pictures will take their first steps into launching their own starting with a reboot of The Mummy. And they are confident enough in their monsters filled universe that they have announced that the series of films reviving the studio’s classic characters for a new generation will be known as their “Dark Universe.” More on the story below.
Universe put out a press release early this morning to confirm the news. Attached to it was a video that details the legacy of each of the respective monsters that will be featured in the Dark Universe – you’ll also hear the Dark Universe theme as composed by Danny Elfman. From The Mummy, The Wolfman, and Bride of Frankenstein to the Creature From The Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man, and Dracula, these films will be interconnected by a mysterious multi-national organization known as Prodigium.
Led by the enigmatic and brilliant Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), 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.
The studio also announced that Bride Of Frankenstein will be the next chapter of the Dark Universe franchise after The Mummy. Directed by Bill Condon (2017’s Beauty and the Beast), the film has yet to find a lead actress to play the iconic role of the monster who would be Frankenstein’s bride. The script is written by David Koepp. Frankenstein will be played by Javier Bardem.
Meanwhile, the press release confirms the previous report that Johnny Depp will be playing The Invisible Man. Though details on that film have yet to be revealed.
What’s interesting about this is the photo that they’ve released (seen below). The Mummy director Alex Kurtzman said that these monster movies will not be like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but individual stories connected by a common thread. However, the photo and the press release suggest otherwise. While it is not clear if Mummy stars Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella could reprise their roles in a monster-filled ensemble, the photo seems to indicate that there is a small possibility of that happening.
But the one thing that seems to connect all of it together is Dr. Jekyll and his Prodigium. Rather than build and recruit beings with extraordinary powers, the organization will be hunting the monsters on their own, and use the protagonists of respective films as a vessel to move the story along.
It should be fun to see where this universe goes. While the press release only mentions a few titles, Depp and Bardem playing the Invisible Man and Frankenstein, respectively, sounds very intriguing. And of course, depending on its success, the studio could announce even more titles. So the studio is probably playing it safe by limiting the number of titles on the press release but also letting some of those unannounced projects develop.
Of course, we’ll keep you posted on anything regarding the Dark Universe should they come up.
The Mummy opens in theaters on June 9, 2017. The Bride Of Frankenstein hits theaters in February of 2019.