Channing Tatum could be the latest star to join Universal's Dark Universe, with the studio setting their sights on him to star in Van Helsing. The Dark Universe has only just begun with The Mummy launching worldwide at the beginning of the summer. Thanks to the stardom of Tom Cruise and his international appeal, the movie is on its way to crossing $400 million globally despite a critical panning. Some of the disinterest in The Mummy was due to the quick world-building it was tasked to incorporate.
Universal has already lined up its next Dark Universe film, Bride of Frankenstein, with a director and a 2019 release date, but also has several other DU projects in some stage of development. As illustrated by the official Dark Universe cast photo that was released prior to The Mummy, Universal is betting big on the actors selling these films. If they have it their way, Tatum will be the next one to join their ranks, too.
THR has revealed that Universal is currently polishing a script for an Abraham Van Helsing movie and that the studio is aiming for Tatum to headline the film. This is the first time Tatum's name has been mentioned in connection to the Dark Universe and the phrasing used in this report does not indicate that Tatum is already onboard or even that he's been contacted about the role already. However, with Gambit still in development and no word yet on if/when another Jump Street movie will happen, Tatum could look towards this universe for his next franchise.
Should Tatum sign up to play the famed monster hunter and main antagonist to Dracula, he could be the latest piece of the puzzle that ultimately connects the Dark Universe. With all of the franchise's major stars being the monsters themselves, Tatum could come in as the big bad, in a sense, and eventually go on the hunt for all of the monsters. But, with a solo movie being lined up, audiences will have the chance of seeing him in a potentially heroic light to start.
The addition of Tatum to the Dark Universe would have him join the likes of Cruise, Russell Crowe (Dr. Jekyll), Javier Bardem (Frankenstein), and Johnny Depp (The Invisible Man). Universal also continues to court Angelina Jolie to play Bride of Frankenstein and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson to play The Wolf Man, while Alex Kurtzman is hoping for Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and/or Charlize Theron to join in some capacity.
Van Helsing is currently being re-written by Dan Mazeau (Wrath of the Titans), based on a previous draft by Jon Spaihts (Doctor Strange) and Eric Heisserer (Arrival). Like The Mummy, Van Helsing will have a modern day setting - one that will be as scary as possible. As it sounds like Universal is waiting for the script to be finished before offering the role to Tatum, fans will have to simply wait and see whether or not this actually happens.
Van Helsing is currently in development and does not have a release date.
- Bride of Frankenstein release date: Oct 18, 2018