Cinematic universes are the big thing in Hollywood now. No longer is a standalone franchise good enough. The holy grail is to be able to connect several franchises and have them crossover with one another, which is a concept that really started with the MCU. There are a lot of these movie universes in development, but Universal may have one of the most sensical and intriguing ones with their shared Universal Monsters. We know that The Mummy will kick this off over the summer, but there are still a lot of questions. Lucky for us, writer Chris Morgan has offered a pretty significant update on where they are at with it.
Chris Morgan, who is one of the architects of the classic Universal monsters shared movie universe, along with Alex Kurtzman, recently spoke with Collider about it. He revealed that all of these movies are designed as standalone movies and franchises primarily, but they will have similarities between them and it will allow for some more seemingly natural crossover. Here is what he had to say.
“We kind of designed them all to be kind of standalone sorts of franchises that have kind of similar things between them. And as the scripts came in, then we started putting them in a, ‘Well this would be a good order. We reveal this here’ so now it really comes down to, again, it’s a studio decision on which film is coming out next. Just with all the films we’re working on, Bride of Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Wolfman, Invisible Man, and on and on and on, it’s a real embarrassment of riches in terms of awesome, fun characters. I always say it this way: I’m in my office right now and I’ve got a Werewolf head mounted on the wall. It’s pretty good to come into your office and, that’s what you’re working with, you’re working with monsters that are 80, almost 100 years old. There’s a real legacy, a real respect, the fact that this studio, I don’t think, would have lasted if it wasn’t for the monsters, it really built up.”
The Mummy, which stars Tom Cruise, is going to kick this whole thing off and even in the trailers, it is clear that this movie is trying to open up a larger world. Russell Crowe is playing Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and it looks as though he may be playing some sort of Nick Fury-esque character who will help bring this monster universe together. Chris Morgan also revealed that what will make this monster universe different from superhero universes like the MCU and Warner Bros.’ DCEU is that these monsters are flawed. They aren’t “perfect.” Here is how he puts it.
“We live in a world of superhero movies now, and by the way, I love them and I see them all and I have a great time, but I can’t identify with them as closely as I want to because I know I’ll never be perfect like that. Whereas the monster movies are saying that everybody has darkness in them, everyone has secrets and things they are ashamed of and don’t want to say or something that feels monstrous and dangerous about them. We’re just kind of embracing that and saying, ‘That’s ok.'”
There are still a lot of variables, but we know that Johnny Depp is attached to play The Invisible Man, Javier Bardem is rumored to be in contention for the new Frankenstein movie and Angelina Jolie has long been attached to The Bride of Frankenstein. But the people involved are saying the right things, we’ll have to say if they can deliver. A lot will rest on the shoulders of Tom Cruise and director Alex Kurtzman when The Mummy hits theaters on June 9, 2017.