The shared universe model has become increasingly popular in Hollywood over the last few years, thanks in part to Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the realm of superheroes, Warner Bros’ has their DC Comics Extended Universe while Fox continues their X-Men franchise and Sony is looking to launch a Spider-Verse. But, shared universes aren’t exclusive to comic book fare. In 2015, Universal announced plans for a Monsters Universe based on classic Hollywood baddies, and the studio’s first official entry debuts this year with the Tom Cruise-starrer, The Mummy.
Universal’s Monsters Universe additionally includes films following The Invisible Man, The Wolf Man, Van Helsing, the Bride of Frankenstein, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. While Universal is ramping up its marketing push for The Mummy before it hits theaters this spring, the other films in the Monsters Universe are in various stages of pre-production. Now, one of the monster-focused movies takes another step forward.
Deadline is reporting Universal has tapped Will Beall to pen the script for the studio’s reboot of Creature from the Black Lagoon, based on the classic 1954 horror film. According to their report, Beall won the job based on an idea he pitched the studio; previous reports had Jeff Pinkner (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) working on the reboot script. For his part, Beall is coming off writing Warner Bros’ Aquaman, and executive producing CBS’s Training Day TV series.
As of now, Universal has set two Monster Universe release dates, one in April 2018 and a second in February 2019, though it’s unclear which of their in-development films will take those slots. Creature from the Black Lagoon is the last of Universal’s currently announced monster movies to receive a screenwriter. Passenger’s Jon Spaihts and Eric Heisserer (Arrival) worked on Van Helsing, though it’s getting a rewrite from Dan Mazeau (Wrath of the Titans); Expendables‘ Dave Callaham is scripting The Wolf Man; Men in Black’s Ed Solomon is on The Invisible Man; and Jurassic Park’s David Koepp is writing Bride of Frankenstein.
Most of Universal’s planned Monster Universe movies are still in the scripting stage of pre-production and very few have announced cast members or stars, though it was reported early last year that The Invisible Man cast Johnny Depp in the lead role. Of course, there are rumors of which stars Universal is eyeing for certain starring roles, like Dwayne Johnson for The Wolf Man and Scarlett Johansson for Creature from the Black Lagoon.
That said, it remains to be seen which of Universal’s Monster Universe films take the 2018 and 2019 dates – or if the studio decides to delay those releases. But, since Creature from the Black Lagoon has only now found its screenwriter in Beall, it’s unlikely this particular reboot will be ready in time for the spring 2018 release date. It’s possible Universal will make their Monster Universe plans clearer following the release of The Mummy, but until then it remains to be seen how this particular shared universe will shake out.