The Mummy will serve as the starting point for Universal’s relaunch of its monster film universe, with Alex Kurtzman (co-writer of Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness) and Fast & Furious writer/producer Chris Morgan working together as the architects for the studio’s rebooted monster cinematic universe. Kurtzman is also directing this new Mummy series installment based on a screenplay by Jon Spaihts (co-writer of Prometheus and the upcoming Doctor Strange); and most recently, Tom Cruise reportedly entered negations to play the (non-mummy) lead in the film.
Reports are now in, stating that Cruise has closed his deal to headline Universal’s Mummy film reboot as (supposedly) an ex-Navy SEAL, with Kingsman: The Secret Service‘s Sofia Boutella onboard to play the eponymous monster. Production on the project is still expected to begin early this spring, though Universal has now shifted The Mummy‘s release date – clearly, in response to moves that other studios have made with the release dates for their own 2017 tentpoles.
Variety is reporting that Universal has moved The Mummy from March 24th, 2017 to June 9th of that same year, now that Cruise is “officially” signed on. The move comes on the heels of Disney/Lucasfilm having moved Star Wars: Episode VIII away from late May to December of the same year (with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales now in Episode VIII‘s former spot); in addition, Paramount has dropped the Terminator: Genisys sequel from its official release docket, which has likewise reduced the competition that The Mummy will face in early June 2017. The Divergent Series: Ascendent and World War Z 2 are currently scheduled to arrive on the same date as The Mummy – but since the WWZ sequel only just lost its director (at the time of writing this) odds are it will ultimately be delayed from its current date.
Cruise has been focused of late on further building his established action franchises, having recently gone into production on the sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and made plans to film Mission: Impossible 6 with his frequent collaborator, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie this summer. While Cruise and Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman had once made tentative plans to start production on the space/heist thriller Luna Park in the first quarter of 2016, Liman ended up signing on to direct Gambit this spring instead – in the process, creating an opening in Cruise’s schedule that he decided to fill with The Mummy instead.
Although The Mummy has franchise potential of its own, Universal appears to be more interested in creating the potential for future crossover films between the various monster franchises (The Mummy, The Wolf Man, etc.) rather than traditional sequels. It’s not clear if that leaves room for Cruise’s regular human character to play a significant role in the larger cinematic universe – or if he’s signed on for The Mummy with the intent of it being a one-off, to fill his schedule before he reprises his role as IMF agent Ethan Hunt once again. Nevertheless, Cruise signing on for Kurtzman’s monster film make the project a proper high-profile release that can compete with the other heavy-hitters of Summer 2017.
The Mummy opens in U.S. theaters on June 9th, 2017, followed by a currently-untitled Monster Movie (rumored to be The Wolf Man) on March 20th, 2018.