After the success of The Invisible Man in 2020, Universal Pictures is finally gearing up to produce revivals of its classic monster movies. The studio’s roster of iconic creatures, including Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and Bride, Werewolf, Mummy, Invisible Man, and Creature from the Black Lagoon (among others), are some of the most popular horror characters. most recognizable in pop culture history. . Every resurrected monster movie has the potential to be a hit, so here are all the upcoming Dark Universe monster movies.
In 2017, Universal launched its most ambitious attempt to revive its monster franchise with announced plans for the Dark Universe. This shared continuity was to feature reboots of nearly every Universal monster and kick off with The Mummy in 2017. Unfortunately, the film’s overwhelmingly negative reception forced Universal to reconsider those plans, and the entire cinematic universe was put on hold.
In the years since The Mummy failed, Universal found success by abandoning the shared universe formula for its Dark Universe movies and bringing in directors/writers with unique visions for the characters. So far, this approach has resulted in the critical and financial victory of Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man, co-produced by Blumhouse on a budget. Universal was confident enough to announce several other planned monster reboots, including a new version of The Wolfman and an Invisible Man spin-off. However, this change in direction also left a slew of other films heralded as either up in the air or outright canceled. Here’s a look at every Universal Monster movie in development and the Dark Universe movies that won’t see the light of day anytime soon.
The Invisible Woman
Following the runaway success of the monster movie The Invisible Man (2020), Universal quickly approached the film’s star, Elizabeth Moss (who played Cecilia “Cee” Kass), to appear in a follow-up. Moss chose to tackle a new take on The Invisible Woman, a comedic spin-off of the original The Invisible Man (1933) produced by Universal in 1940. The new sequel to the Invisible Man reboot will likely have little to do with the original. No release date has been announced. Moss gave a brief update in 2022 (via Comicbook.com) that shed some light on when fans can expect The Invisible Woman. “None of us intend to just smash another thing and throw it away and see what happens. We really want it to be as good, if not better, than the first. Did I actually answer the question at all? It’s not in the rear view mirror. What ? Moss said of the Invisible Man sequel. While that sounds noncommittal, a follow-up comment suggests there might be something more tangible that Moss isn’t free to reveal. In the same interview, she added, “Like I have Jason Blum on one shoulder and Universal on the other, and I’m like, ‘Please don’t be mad at me.’ »
Dracula (Chloe Zhao)
In addition to Kusama’s version for Blumhouse, Universal is also planning a drastically different version of Dracula by acclaimed Eternals director and screenwriter Chloe Zhao. Zhao’s unusual and unique take on Dracula has been described as an “original, futuristic, sci-fi western” that will tackle the concept of vampires as the “other” in society. As 2022’s Prey has proven, there’s certainly a market for throwing sci-fi horror elements into historical settings. There hasn’t been any major new news about Chloe Zhao’s Dracula since 2021, and as of now, the film has no cast, release date, or plot details beyond that. premise.
The latest Universal Monster movie to generate buzz is the in-development horror-comedy Renfield. Based on a pitch by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), directed by Chris McKay (The Tomorrow War), and recently confirmed to star Nicholas Hoult in the title role, this comedy spinoff of Dracula will focus on the adventures of Dracula’s long-suffering servant. (the Renfield holder). Renfield falls in love and decides to leave Dracula’s service, with no doubt hilarious results. Awkwafina will play Rebecca Quincy, Renfield’s romantic interest, who is a traffic cop. To top it off, Count Dracula is played by none other than Nicolas “I am a vampire! Cage himself. Renfield was slated for an April 2023 release.
When it comes to iconic universal creatures, none can compare to Frankenstein’s legendary monster. The animated corpse has been the subject of countless movies for over 100 years, but Universal’s latest plan for the monster involves bringing in esteemed horror director James Wan. Famous these days for starting the Conjuring franchise and helming Aquaman, Wan’s Frankenstein pitch involves a group of teenagers who discover the famous monster being built in their next door neighbor’s basement. As with other monster revivals announced by Universal, no release date has been set for this adaptation of Frankenstein.
Bride of Frankenstein
There are several projects in development that are new takes on the iconic Bride of Frankenstein, including a film set starring Scarlett Johansson. However, Universal’s new version is entirely separate from Johansson’s project and has been in development for years. Originally planned as a Dark Universe movie directed by Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters), David Koepp’s script miraculously survived the demise of the failing shared universe, and after several rewrites it was greenlit for production. There is no release date. Koepp has said in interviews that his approach was inspired by The Invisible Man and called the current storyline a “twisted little act”. (via EW)
Originally slated to appear as a Dark Universe movie (and rumored to star Dwayne Johnson), Universal’s latest attempt to reboot the Wolfman is progressing at Blumhouse. While little is known about the project’s timeline, the biggest confirmed news is that it will star (and be based on a story by) Ryan Gosling. Horror master Derek Cianfrance will helm the film, which will focus on a TV presenter covering a series of grisly murders he himself commits when the moon is full. Gosling gave a brief update on The Wolfman in 2022, particularly on his excitement to work with Cianfrance again on the remake of The Wolfman after Blue Valentine in 2010. “I would do anything with Derek, but the idea of doing something like that sounds really exciting. Gosling said (via Collider), “It’s new for both of us, but in a way, I feel like it’s kind of the movie we’ve done many times before, but under a literal form. We’ve always kind of done the metaphorical version of it, and it’s kind of like the opportunity to really, just do the literal version of what we hacked. »
One of the most epic monster reboots in development is Dark Army, an ambitious crossover film that will feature a wide array of iconic creatures from Universal’s pantheon. Writer/director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters 2016) called the story one of his all-time favorites, and despite studio budget concerns, Feig promised to see the film through to completion. An update Feig gave in 2022 (via Collider), however, didn’t look promising. “He’s the one driving me crazy. Feig said, “The problem with it is that some people read it and think it’s too expensive. I’ve never seen it that way, but that’s what I hear. I’m still working on it and trying to get it to that sweet spot, but it’s difficult. »
Universal’s plans for classic monsters aren’t limited to live-action horror films. The studio is also planning an animated musical film based on a pitch by music video director Matt Stawski. Although little is known about the film, it will likely be loosely based on the classic song.
Not to be confused with the cult classic Howie Mandel movie of the same name, Little Monsters will be another animated take on classic Universal monsters. Directed by Toy Story 4’s Josh Cooley, plot, potential cast and release date are unknown.
Canceled Universal Monster Movies
The cancellation of the Dark Universe saw a number of announced Universal Monster movies bite the proverbial dust. The Mummy was originally meant to be followed by a Frankenstein movie starring Javier Bardem and an Invisible Man remake starring Johnny Depp. New versions of Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman, Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Van Helsing have also been announced as part of the shared universe. All original plans for these films were canceled when the plug was pulled on the Dark Universe.
There have been plenty of other recent casualties in Universal’s ongoing efforts to reboot its monsters. Karyn Kusama’s Dracula movie Mina Harker was scrapped due to differences between the studio and the director. The long-rumored Dracula Untold 2 will likely never make it to production, and the success of Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water has effectively shelved any new take on the iconic Gill-Man. On the subject of del Toro, one of the most ambitious of these lost monster films is undoubtedly the award-winning director’s epic version of Frankenstein. The film was to be del Toro’s love letter to his favorite movie monster and would have starred Doug Jones in heavy makeup inspired by Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein artwork. Like so many other planned Universal Monster movies, it has been shelved and will likely never be made.