Universal Building New Slate of Connected Monster FilmsNews Samuel Zimmerman
Previously rumored as the upcoming DRACULA UNTOLD began production and a new MUMMY film started developing, the earnest focus by Universal to revive their legacy of Monsters into a series of interconnected films is being reported as official by Deadline today.
The endeavor will be shepherded and designed by writers and producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, and is aimed to truly begin with the April 22, 2016 release of THE MUMMY (UNTOLD is sounding like an outlier). That reboot is expected to launch a slate of monster films that exist in their own universe, similar to the mashups of old (FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN, HOUSE OF DRACULA) and what ultimately served as a kind of template and influence on the likes of what Marvel is currently doing.
While a revitalization of Monster films and beloved creatures is at heart exciting, it’s still just the earliest point in such an endeavor, and all of the participants remain to be determined. Kurtzman is a current in-demand blockbuster writer, who recently broke off from longtime partner Roberto Orci, but you know their work from the likes of FRINGE, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN movies and STAR TREK). His inclusion realistically doesn’t inspire as much confidence as Morgan, whose written the last four FAST & FURIOUS films (as well as the James Wan-directed upcoming 7) and helped energize that series into the sincere, very fun and now interconnected one it is.
There’s no indication either will be specifically writing or directing, as the publication reports the two are to begin enlisting the talent that will help realize this large, macabre vision. Who it will include also remains to be seen. The Mummy is definite. Is it likely Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Bride, The Wolf Man, Gill Man, The Invisible Man and Van Helsing are all in, too?
Finally, with series like PENNY DREADFUL already aiming to incorporate characters such as these into one narrative, will their designs be in line with the Jack Pierce makeups of the classic Universal Films. Are they the “Universal Monsters,” if not?