It appears Universal's Dark Universe might not be dead as dead as it seemed. Universal has attempted twice now to reboot its classic monster movie universe; first with Dracula Untold in 2014 and then Tom Cruise's The Mummy in 2017. Neither film was a complete bomb at the box office, but they both performed below expectations financially and failed to impress audiences as a whole. Universal even launched an entire trailer for the Dark Universe ahead of The Mummy's release and included the logo with the film's opening titles.
Following the disappoint turnout for The Mummy, Universal scrapped plans to jump right into production on a Bride of Frankenstein movie for the Dark Universe. The franchise then lost its chief architects, Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, followed by would-be Invisible Man screenwriter Ed Solomon. Solomon said Universal was "reconfiguring" the franchise at the time of his official departure from the Dark Universe, but the lack of updates since then had led many to presume that the brand was finally dead in the water.
Now, somewhat out of the blue, the Dark Universe is showing new signs of life. Last week, L.A. artist Robert Vargas posted a photo to his Instagram account (h/t Bloody Disgusting) from his meeting with "the amazing #DarkUniverse team," which includes Universal studio executive Holly Goline. He further teased "Monster things in the works", but held off on elaborating on what, exactly, that means.
Great meeting this morning with the amazing #DarkUniverse team. Thank you #Universal Exec, Holly Goline and Crash for the hospitality. Looking forward to contributing to the Universal Pictures legacy with my work. Monster things in the works ;) Stay tuned! #Amazing people #RobertVargas #RobertVargasArt #CantStopWontStop #LA #Artist #LAmurals
The implication here is Universal is still actively revamping its plans for the Dark Universe, like Solomon indicated they were earlier this year. Universal isn't the only major studio reevaluating its shared universe ambitions at the moment, either. Warner Bros. is currently deciding where to take its DC cinematic universe after Wonder Woman 2 hits theaters in 2019, and even Lucasfilm has refrained from officially locking down its Star Wars movie release slate beyond Episode 9 next year.
There are certainly elements of The Mummy that worked and could be carried over into the revised Dark Universe. It's also possible Universal wants a clean slate and intends to leave that film behind, like it did when Dracula Untold failed to kick-off its first attempt at a rebooted monster universe. Either way, there are still plenty of fans of Universal's iconic creatures out there that would like to see them restored to their former glory on the big screen. Here's to hoping it eventually happens, whether as part of the Dark Universe or another franchise altogether.
We will continue to keep you update on the Dark Universe's status as more details come to light.