Universal Pictures' Dark Universe franchise has taken yet another serious step backwards, as screenwriter Ed Solomon confirms that he is no longer working on The Invisible Man movie reboot. The film was tentatively slated to arrive in 2020 and star Johnny Depp, but comments from Solomon suggest that the whole concept is being radically rethought.
Genre fans were suitably excited when Universal announced the concept of the monster-sharing Dark Universe, which would introduce reboots of its stable of creatures and characters. This was to have been kick-started by Tom Cruise's The Mummy, and lead into updated versions of Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and The Wolf Man. However, the critical panning of The Mummy and underwhelming box-office led the studio to put a brake on its planned schedule. The problems were further compounded by the departure of the Dark Universe 'showrunners' Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, who moved on to other projects. Although no official announcement has been made by Universal and the Dark Universe still exists in concept, most of the film community have already presumed that the franchise is dead.
Johnny Depp was first announced as the lead for the planned reboot of The Invisible Man in 2016. Prolific screenwriter Solomon, who also scribed the screenplays for the Now You See Me and Bill & Ted films, had been attempting to write a update of the story that was faithful to the spirit of H.G. Wells novel. However while speaking to Digital Spy, the writer revealed that he has left the project, saying:
"At the end of the day, I think Universal and I had a different idea of what the movie was gonna be. We began thinking that our notions would meld, and I should've listened more closely to what they really were wanting...I think Universal has had to come to a kind of reckoning of, 'What are we doing with the Dark Universe?' and, 'What is our real intention with it?', and I think they're reconfiguring it now, which I think is probably good...So I'm not working on it."
With the reception given to The Mummy and the other recent departures, Solomon's comments are no great surprise. It does leave a massive question mark still hanging over the Dark Universe though, and where it goes from here. It sounds like Universal may still be trying to get to get the franchise off the ground. Interesting, recent rumors suggest that Brian Condon's version of Bride of Frankenstein may still be alive, with Javier Bardem attached to play Frankenstein's monster. However, even if the film does happen, it is rumored to be distancing itself from the Dark Universe logo.
As far as the rest of the planned reboots go, it looks like The Invisible Man certainly has been at least delayed for the moment. Further information for other projects like The Wolf Man and The Creature from the Black Lagoon is also conspicuous in its absence. But if Universal are actively 'reconfiguring' the planned franchise, we can probably expect some kind of update in the coming months.
More news on The Invisible Man and the other monster movies as we get it.
Source: Digital Spy