With the Resident Evil series pushing forward with yet another sequel after the success of their recent 3D outing, and Tomb Raider about to be rebooted, there’s one thing missing from the female-led action genre: Vampires.

While Underworld franchise fan-favorite Kate Beckinsale wasn’t written into the trilogy conclusion/prequel, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, her story is far from over and she’s making a return to her most popular role to date. In Underworld 4: New Dawn however, Selene (Beckinsale) is jumping over a decade into the future (and into the third dimen$ion) for the start of an entirely new trilogy.

While filming has begun and some casting additions are still to be made (Michael Ealy just signed on), we don’t yet know if Scott Speedman’s character, the Lycan hybrid, will return for Underworld 4. The franchise to date has done a remarkable job of keeping to its continuity and characters so I wouldn’t expect writer John Hlavin to write him off completely without a legitimate explanation and/or some flashbacks.

Earlier this week, a few photos from the Vancouver set of Underworld 4 hit the net, depicting Kate Beckinsale’s stunt double jumping out of a building in her traditional Underworld duds, but today the first image of the franchise star in costume as Selene has released as well.

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The black latex/leather is the same traditional costume sported by Beckinsale in the first two Underworld films, but in this particular scene, she’s also rocking a lighter colored trench coat. What’s more notable is that she hasn’t aged a bit in the last 8 years since the franchise began. If Underworld is to continue, it’s at least going the right direction with it’s most important character. And with most of the key Underworld characters dead from the trilogy, the franchise can start anew.

Swedish directors Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein are directing Beckinsale in her franchise return. The film is to release in 3D and the studio’s hope is that it’ll kickstart a new franchise. The Underworld 4: New Dawn synopsis explains how the franchise can continue even further with the addition of one new character close to Selene:

After being held in a coma-like state for fifteen years, vampire Selene learns that she has a fourteen-year-old vampire/Lycan hybrid daughter, Nissa, and when she finds her they must stop BioCom from creating super Lycans that will kill them all.

If Resident Evil can keep doing do it with a bad-ass female lead, why can’t Underworld?

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Underworld 4: New Dawn hits theaters January 20, 2012.

Source: TooFab