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A Full Look At Universal’s Monster Ambitions

Universal has long been our go-to studio for monster movies. Most major monster characters from Frankenstein to Dracula belong to Universal, at least in terms of cinematic rights. Now we’re about to see those characters return with the full power of modern cinema and a “connected universe” behind them. But which characters and movies will we actually be seeing?

Here’s a look at the purported schedule, with the note that only the first film’s title is official at this point.

The Mummy (2017)

We haven’t seen this franchise in action since “The Mummy: The Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor” (which we actually reviewed). So naturally, this one will be a full reboot. Despite the fact that some other Universal monsters are more firmly established, “The Mummy” will be working with some of the most relevant and familiar material. Brendan Fraser’s late-’90s and 2000s films were pretty poorly received, but a ton of people saw them. The last version of “The Mummy” spawned sequels, video games, and even spinoffs like the memorably awful-but-fun “The Scorpion King.” This time around Tom Cruise will star in a project designed to launch a “cinematic universe” to rival those of Marvel and DC.

The Invisible Man (2018)

This story and character by H.G. Wells are a little more obscure to modern audiences given that there hasn’t been a meaningful film adaptation since 1933. There is actually a game based on the character circulating on the internet right now. Described as a chance to join the mad scientist (who turns himself invisible in this story) as he evades police, it’s a different spin on what’s otherwise a traditional online slot reel. Incidentally, it’s also about the only modern take on this character that most people are familiar with! It’s looks as though “The Invisible Man” will be up second for Universal, with an expected release date in 2018 and Johnny Depp already lined up to star as the titular character.

Dracula (2019?)

There’s some uncertainty surrounding Dracula. We know that there’s a sort of mystery movie being planned for 2019, and it’s assumed that Dracula will be a part of this monster universe. However, it’s also believed that 2014’s “Dracula Untold” was intended to be a sort of soft launch for Universal’s franchises. That film didn’t do particularly well with critics, and another write-up about this monster series speculated that it might be jettisoned from the canon. That could mean a fairly hasty Dracula reboot in 2019.

Wolf Man

Like The Invisible Man, the Wolf Man has been absent from screens for a while, even though Benicio del Toro made an attempt at an adaptation a few years ago. This time around there are rumors that Aaron Guzikowski could be hired to pen the script. Best known for his well-regarded script for 2013’s “Prisoners,” Guzikowski would be a nice get for Universal. He’d also almost undoubtedly start a wave of speculation about Hugh Jackman taking on the role, given that Jackman is the right type and also starred in “Prisoners.”

Van Helsing

Speaking of Jackman, we can all recall his “Van Helsing” film as another relatively recent example of Universal’s monster-related franchises. That 2004 movie (which got a decent reception), coupled with a 2010 video game referred to by IGN as a damn solid game, makes this title perhaps the most familiar to modern audiences aside from “The Mummy.” But we have no idea how the reboot will wind up looking at this stage.

The Creature From The Black Lagoon

“Creature From The Black Lagoon” last graced the big screen in 1954, and the story and character have almost completely disappeared since then. At this early stage, this one is a total wild card.

The Bride Of Frankenstein

Finally, there’s the obligatory Frankenstein movie. We all get the gist here, with arguably modern history’s most famous monster. The interesting thing will be seeing how Universal makes this film different from countless other interpretations that have come before it.

[Written by Miles Rogers]

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