With the vampire genre as strong and infused with pop culture as its ever been, it’s no surprise that Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment are working to bring back the Underworld franchise. All three movies to date, including the prequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans which didn’t feature Beckinsale, have proven profitable on relatively lower budgets and earned a strong niche for their unique style and perspective on vampire/werewolf lore.

After an extended period of rumors and fan wishes, Kate Beckinsale is confirmed to return in Underworld 4, a movie which is hoped to spawn a second full Underworld trilogy. Now comes news that Swedish directors Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein have signed on to direct.

Heat Vision has the exclusive on on the franchise’s newest directors, who take over for Len Wiseman, the man behind the first two films starring Beckinsale, and Patrick Tatopoulos who took over for the Martin Sheen-centric prequel, Rise of the Lycans. With Swedish horror success stories like Let the Right One In earning praise and popularity in North America and an American remake, it’s easy to understand why Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein’s work on the Julianne Moore starring horror-thriller Shelter helped earn them the Underworld gig.

They’ll be working off the script by John Hlavin (The Shield) with revisions made by J. Michael Straczynski ( Babylon 5, Ninja Assassin). Production is set to begin in Vancouver next March with a likely early 2012 release – the last two installments opened in January.

Will franchise regulars such as Bill Nighy make an appearance in the 3D Underworld 4?

We don’t yet know what story Underworld 4 will begin to tell or if other familiar faces will be making a return. Assuming it takes place post-Underworld: Evolution, it would make sense for Scott Speedman to return in some capacity while most other franchise characters (played by Bill Nighy, Martin Sheen, etc.) had met their doom at that point. But who or what will Selene, the vampire huntress, be combating this time around (in 3D)?

What do you want to see in Underworld 4?

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Source: THR