Fans going to see The Mummy this weekend will be treated to a special Easter egg from the 1999 film of the same name. While interconnected cinematic universes are popping up left and right nowadays, perhaps the first ever of note dates back to the 1930s, in the form of the Universal classic monsters. Sure, the initial films concerning Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, etc. weren’t all originally connected, but various crossover projects would eventually establish that all the titular creatures existed within the same world.
Beginning with the newly released Tom Cruise-fronted The Mummy, Universal is trying to reinvent its monster universe for the modern age, christening it the Dark Universe (at least assuming Warner Bros. doesn’t eventually decide to take legal action concerning that name). While critical reviews have been far from kind for the new horror-tinged action/adventure, The Mummy’s financial prospects are much better, possibly looking to give Cruise his highest-grossing global opening weekend ever.
Of course, Alex Kurtzman’s 2017 film is not the first time Universal has attempted to reboot The Mummy franchise for contemporary audiences. The first attempt took place back in 1999, starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. Directed by Stephen Sommers, that film was itself a massive hit, hauling in over $400 million worldwide on a budget of $80 million. Two sequels followed, one in 2001 and the other in 2008. While Universal’s new Mummy has no direct narrative connections to Fraser’s Mummy series, an interesting Easter egg reference has been uncovered that suggests that both stories might actually take place in the same universe.
The reference in question is seen when Cruise’s character Nick Morton and co-lead Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) find themselves in a strange trophy room, which houses a familiar gold gold book. This tome is given a quick close-up shot later, and is revealed to be the book of Amun Ra, which Fraser and Weisz’ characters use to defeat Imhotep in the 1999 Mummy film.
While it seems unlikely that both stories could conceivably take place in the same world — especially with the main characters in Cruise’s film somehow being unaware of such a similar past event — one could argue that since the Fraser film was set in the 1920s and the 2017 film is set in present day that Rick O’Connell and Evie’s battle with Imhotep simply managed to fade into nothing more than myth and legend itself in the nearly 100 years between timelines. Either way, it’s a fun nod to a successful movie that sometimes gets unfairly forgotten.