Last word we heard on the Underworld front, writer John Hlavin had been tapped to pen the script for Underworld 4. The film was confirmed as a sequel to Underworld: Evolution, that would be shot in 3D (naturally) and would likely kick off a new Underworld trilogy.

But there was still one big question facing Underworld fans: would actress Kate Beckinsale be returning to the franchise? 

This question is important for two reasons:

  1. Despite what you think of her as an actress, Beckinsale is the star of this franchise.
  2. Seeing Kate Beckinsale in tight leather (or less),  in 3D, just might be the most important event in cinematic history.

Now, rumors about Beckinsale’s involvement in Underworld 4 have been abound for months now. Back in August, our friends over at Bloody-Disgusting reported hearing whispers that Beckinsale would in fact be back – as predicted by our own Rob Keyes.

Since that time, we’ve been waiting to hear official confirmation that Beckinsale will be back for Underworld 4, but nothing has come of it. Today, however, Bloody-Disgusting posted that they have confirmed Beckinsale’s return to the franchise, via a post on Variety (by way of Dubai). After doing some digging Bloody Disgusting added some specifics, which basically paint the picture of Beckinsale being obligated to return for another film unless she can wiggle her way out of it (pause for a happy visual).

In a separate Variety article (about rebates, no less), there is mention that Beckinsale’s husband, director Len Wiseman – the man who helmed the first two Underworld films – will be directing Underworld 4. If that is true, it becomes an even shorter stretch of imagination to assume that his wife (Beckinsale) will join him.

I’m going to go ahead and back our own Rob Keyes and our friend Brad Miska over at Bloody Disgusting and predict that we’ll soon hear official confirmation of Kate Beckinsale’s return to Underworld (for at least this next film). There still is a strong possibility that if she returns, it will be in some kind of “pass the torch” capacity so that a new lead can take over the franchise. At least that’s what I’m predicting.

Underworld 4 (in 3D!) is slated for a January 21, 2011 release, so expect official casting confirmations to come soon.

Sources: Bloody Disgusting & Variety