Universal’s Monster Universe, not-so-lovingly called the Dark Universe, has lots its captains and is on hold.
They had a plan. They really did. Universal didn’t have any comic book properties, and they didn’t want to risk spending a lot of money on adapting a risky book property or something, but they did want a cinematic universe. They saw the success of Marvel and DC (kind of) and they wanted some of that so they looked around their old franchises and decided that they’d take their classic monster movies and turn them into their own comic book universe.
It was… uninspired. Almost no one was excited for it despite a host of massive actorscoming on board, a massive advertising campaign that no one paid attention to, and a plethora of desperation. Instead the series sputtered into life with a tacked on ending to Dracula Untold, which was eventually wiped from continuity (even though it was the only continuity at the time) in favor of kicking everything off with Tom Cruise’s The Mummy.
We all know how that went domestically, and while it pulled big numbers in overseas that can be more attributed to Cruise still being able to do that outside of the US than excitement for the film itself. The truth is The Mummy didn’t generate any love for the Monster Universe itself. In fact it probably turned more people against it considering how shoddily put together it all was, and how unappealing the very idea seemed.
All this led to a recent report from THR that Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, the guys captaining the ship over there, have left the project to work on other things that don’t involve them being embarrassed. With that the Dark Universe is basically rudderless, and has little direction with no plan other than to lick their wounds and try to figure out a way forward.
“We’ve learned many lessons throughout the creative process on Dark Universe so far, and we are viewing these titles as filmmaker-driven vehicles, each with their own distinct vision,” Universal president of production Peter Cramer told THR. “We are not rushing to meet a release date and will move forward with these films when we feel they are the best versions of themselves.”
What’s that mean? One option is to head forward by giving the monsters to high profile directors who will do one-off films that don’t connect. Basically scrubbing any idea of a shared universe and instead making movies that actually stand on the merits of the character, not the actors attached. I vote this way, as turning these monsters into action stars was never very appealing in the first place. Maybe get a competent director and put together an actually scary Mummy movie. Another option is to reboot yet again (barf).
A third option is to higher Brendan Frasier to come in and save this thing. You all know you want it.