The Mummy has been released and the Dark Universe is here. A new 21st century take on the beloved Universal Monsters from the 1930s and ’40s, this is something fans have either anticipated or feared, but as it’s here, we explore what it will transform into next.
Bride of Frankenstein
February 14, 2019
The next and only officially slated Dark Universe movie is a remake of the crown jewel in Universal Monsters canon: Bride of Frankenstein. The original was released in 1935 and still remains as one of the few truly breathtaking examples of a horror sequel that builds on what came before and makes its own wonderful achievement.
David Koepp, who contributed to the script for The Mummy and also wrote 2016’s Inferno, apparently turned in a script for the film in 2016 that was well received by the studio. But much more promising is that Bill Condon has signed onto the project. Condon is most well known these days for blockbusters like 2017’s box office-enchanted Beauty and the Beast and the fourth and fifth Twilight pictures. But he won an Oscar for his screenplay to Gods and Monsters, a movie he wrote and directed about James Whale. And Whale, of course, was an early Hollywood auteur that directed and really masterminded the original Bride of Frankenstein.
The lead role has yet to be cast, but it is no secret in the industry that Universal has long been pursuing Angelina Jolie for the role. Javier Bardem, meanwhile, has been perfectly cast in the picture as Frankenstein’s Monster. Given the pedigree of the original, Bardem, and even likely Condon’s affection for that material, we suspect this movie will occur no matter the reception to The Mummy.
The Invisible Man
Not much is currently known about The Invisible Man remake other than it stars Johnny Depp. Despite weathering recent controversies, Depp is still a star with solid clout in Hollywood and has always had an affinity for classic horror, which the 1933 James Whale film, The Invisible Man, was one of the earliest forerunners for.
The Invisible Man of the 21st century will also like all Dark Universe movies be produced by Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, and is being written by Ed Solomon (Now You See Me, Charlie’s Angels). The picture is also ostensibly based on H.G. Wells’ 1897. Yet, that novel, as well as the ’33 film that starred Claude Rains as the eponymous translucent face, made the Invisible Man a rather dangerous and insane scientist. One wonders that if this is the beginning of a new franchise for Depp, whether it will be possible to keep that homicidal mania here?
The Wolfman was already remade in 2010 to mixed results (personally, we believe a better script and a more sympathetic lead actor as Talbot could’ve made the otherwise gorgeous-looking movie a success). But this redo of The Wolfman promises to be more of the action-variety and intriguingly had Aaron Guzikowski, the screenwriter of 2013’s chilling Prisoners, attached to write the project as of 2014.
Dracula Untold 2?
The door is still open for Luke Evans’ Vlad Tepes, aka Dracula, to be the count of the shared Universal Monsters universe. When we talked with Evans in October 2016, he definitely seemed eager about donning the fangs again and saying that discussions are continuing about connecting the two potential franchises. However, it is still currently up in the air.
While this seemed unlikely, given that the brand name is now associated with a popular new TV series, Universal remains committed to developing its own Van Helsing reboot; one that presumably would have nothing to do with the Hugh Jackman movie. Indeed, Universal tapped Wrath of the Titans screenwriter Dan Mazeau to rewrite the script by The Mummy writer Jon Spaihts (Passengers) and Eric Heisserer (Arrival) and is reportedly pursuing Channing Tatum to play the vampire hunter himself.
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
While there has been no announcement at all about a new Jekyll and Hyde movie, nor did Universal Pictures ever produce a major Jekyll and Hyde movie (although, we can certainly recommend MGM and Victor Fleming’s Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde from 1941!), one does not simply cast Russell Crowe as Henry Jekyll and not use him further. Also, it should be noted that FX’s Noah Hawley (Fargo, Legion) has been working on an untitled Universal Monster movie, and the idea of good-and-evil Victorian duality appealing to Hawley would make a lot of sense…
The Phantom of the Opera
Not much is known other than Universal Pictures revealed in June 2017 that they are planning on resuscitating this brand. However, we imagine it’ll be closer to the horrific portrayals in their Lon Chaney Sr. silent classic from 1925 or the Claude Rains-led technicolor operetta in 1943 than it will be to the now more well known Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
The Creature from the Black Lagoon
While not created during the original Universal Monsters’ golden age–and honestly just a tad sillier than the rest–the Creature is sitll an iconic beastie who has generations of fans. And like the Phantom, he has been tapped for an undated remake. Guillermo del Toro memorably attempted to remake this story some years ago, and who knows, perhaps he’s still interested?
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Before it was a disappointing Disney movie, and well after it was a work of great literature, it was also a movie of salacious horror. A great one too. Lon Chaney Sr. added Quasimodo to his repertoire of masks as the “Man of a Thousand Faces.” And it was a great silent horror movie in 1928. Universal also is planning to exhume this one too.