I know what you're thinking - there aren't enough vampire movies being made these days. Truth be told, not only has our culture's current obsession with undead bloodsuckers led to the development of dozens of new properties (hoping to cash in on the craze) - it's also reinvigorated established vampire franchises.
Case in point: Underworld 4.
The ending to the second film, Underworld: Evolution, didn't seem to leave many doors open for subsequent entries and, coupled with Kate Beckinsale's waning interest in the series, they decided to go the prequel route with 2009's Rise of the Lycans - a film that focused on a different vampire/lycan romance and detailed the origins of their feud.
Even with so few narrative options left, I wasn't at all surprised to hear that Underworld 4 was on the way. Even before it was officially confirmed that Kate Beckinsale would return as Selene, some speculated this new film might act as a passing of the torch to a younger heroine. When it was revealed that this entry would act as the first chapter in a new trilogy, and that they were casting an actress to play Selene's daughter, that approach seemed all the more likely.
Thanks to Bloody Disgusting, we now have some concrete information on Underworld 4's plot and what role Selene will play in the proceedings. They got their hands on the film's synopsis and, if you're like me, you might find the premise somewhat familiar:
"After being held in a coma-like state for fifteen years, vampire Selene learns that she has a fourteen-year-old vampire/Lycan hybrid daughter, Nissa, and when she finds her they must stop BioCom from creating super Lycans that will kill them all."
Anyone else getting a Blade II vibe from this? That film also involved a new mutation of the central antagonist. It's not much to go on, but this does suggest that Selene will still very much be a lead in the film - and it's hard to imagine a fourteen year-old taking over the franchise. Perhaps there's a significant passage of time between this entry and the seemingly inevitable Underworld 5?
BD also revealed the working title of the film - Underworld: New Dawn. Personally, I don't think it's any sillier than the titles of the previous entries and from a marketing standpoint it's pretty obvious what they were going for - a way to signify the start of a new story arc and something similar enough to Twilight: Breaking Dawn to pique the interest of that fan base.
I'll be honest - I'm not a huge fan of this series. I found the first film tolerable, the second unwatchable, and the third just plain boring. However, even though I think the Underworld franchise is a collection of moments and visuals stolen from better films, I still understand its appeal - the vampires vs. werewolves concept is an undeniably cool one and each film has had its fair share of visual panache.
With Swedish directors Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein taking over directorial duties, perhaps Underworld 4 will be able to retain the elements that made the previous films so popular while also breaking some new ground. We'll find out when the film is released in early 2012.
Source: Bloody Disgusting.