Tomorrow, Universal will begin the international theatrical rollout for Dracula Untold, an origin story that reveals the events and choices that set human Vlad Tepes (Luke Evans) on a path to becoming the infamous vampire known as Count Dracula. As such, rumors have been circulating about whether or not the film will be part of Universal's reboot of its Shared Monsters Universe. According to producer Alissa Phillips (see above), it's currently intended to be part of the relaunch.
Certain members of the Screen Rant staff have seen Dracula Untold (look for our review when it arrive in the U.S. next week) and can confirm that the film does indeed feature material that appears to be setup for a fresh Shared Monsters Universe - something that early reviews for the movie have likewise alluded to.
Phillips, when interviewed by HeyUGuys, confirmed that Dracula Untold is designed to be part of the Universal Monsters Universe relaunch that has Alex Kurtzman (writer of Star Trek and Transformers) and Chris Morgan (writer on recent Fast and the Furious series) onboard serving as its creative architects. Potential sequels were something the Dracula Untold production team had in mind from the start, but Phillips says the monsters universe ties were a more recent addition.
"['Dracula Untold' is] part of the monster launch, the revamp, yeah. I was really excited to be a part of that. When we started out, we weren't, but then we found out that they were gonna do it. Working with Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, who are very much a part of creating 'The Mummy' [reboot] and the other ones, it's been fun to be a part of that."
Badass Digest has been informed by its sources that Dracula Untold reshoots were conducted to allow the film to better fit the new Monsters universe, and Phillip's comments above lend more credibility to those claims. Mind you, that shouldn't have required too much tweaking of director Gary Shore's Dracula origins film, since it primarily takes place in the 15th century. By comparison, the next Monsters installment - The Mummy - is set in the present-day, and most of the upcoming Monster films (such as the one that Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley is writing) ought to take place well after Dracula Untold.
Early reviews for Dracula Untold have been pretty weak, but both Evans and Games of Thrones star Charles Dance - as the creature that gives Dracula his powers - have earned top marks for their performances in the film. That is good news too since, without giving way too much, those are the characters in Dracula Untold that are most likely to have an impact on the future of the relaunched Shared Monsters Universe.
We could end up with a situation where one (or both) of those characters end up functioning as connective tissue for the Universal Monsters World. That includes them showing up in other monsters' films - like how certain players in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Nick Fury, Loki, and so on) are continually woven in and out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - serving as allies and/or antagonists for other protagonists, as is needed.
In short: this shouldn't be the last we see of Evans' Dracula (and, possibly, Dance's character), even if Dracula Untold ends up doing weaker-than-expected box office business - and thus, becomes a one-off in the Universal Monsters Universe, much as The Incredible Hulk currently is to the MCU. As always, we'll keep you up to speed on the situation.
Dracula Untold opens in U.S. theaters on October 10th, 2014. The Mummy arrives in theaters on June 24th, 2016.