After failing to kick off the Dark Universe with Dracula Untold and again with The Mummy, it looks like Universal is rethinking its shared monster universe and is for now putting it on hold.
Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan were two writer/producers originally brought on to map out the franchise and oversee its development, but the two have since both dropped out, Kurtzman to work on the new Star Trek: Discovery, and Morgan on the Fast and Furious franchise.
It looks as though the loss of the pair plus the overall lackluster performance of The Mummy is still weighing on Universal.
“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,” said Universal’s president of production Peter Cramer. “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.”
Though The Mummy earned over $400 million, these numbers are still below what Universal was expecting out of their Dark Universe films, especially one with Tom Cruise as the lead actor. Though the idea of keeping these monster films in a shared universe hasn’t been done away with completely, there is definitely some changes that need to be made. One of the biggest criticisms about The Mummy was the way it attempted to shoehorn references to other aspects of the shared universe into it rather than letting the story simply stand on its own. It would definitely be a move in the right direction to follow the plans of The Bride of Frankenstein director, Bill Condon, who has previously stated that he has not been considering the Dark Universe in the making of his film.
“I will tell you this — what I’m doing is 100% making a really good monster movie. It has nothing to do with anything else. Nothing. Zero.”
So all you Universal monsters lovers may have to wait a while for news about whether the Dark Universe is coming back…or whether it’s being shut down for good.