Years before the Twilight films made a bundle on the back of a tumultuous interspecies romance involving an attractive vampire, the Underworld series made a box-office splash by combining another pair of star-crossed supernatural lovers -- in this case a vampire (Kate Beckinsale) and a werewolf (Scott Speedman) -- with fast-paced Matrix-style acrobatic gunplay. Underworld was a huge hit with moviegoers, pulling down a hefty profit and spawning three sequels that all met with varying levels of financial success. Despite the fact that franchise producer Len Wiseman is currently developing a TV show based on the property, that hasn't stopped Screen Gems from cranking out another theatrical installment.
Once again starring Beckinsale as "death dealer" Selene, Underworld 5 has now officially been titled Underworld: Blood Wars. The film had been publicly referred to by the name Underworld: Next Generation as recently as last fall, but considering how common that subtitle is in the history of movies, it's probably advisable that the studio and filmmakers ultimately chose to go with something more attention grabbing and intense sounding.
In a move some might see as overdue, Underworld: Blood Wars will mark the first instance of a female filmmaker taking the helm of an entry in this primarily female-fronted franchise, in the form of first-time feature director Anna Foerster. Foerster has a respectable amount of experience directing TV episodes, so she'll be able draw upon that experience while helming this feature film.
At this point, the actual plot of Underworld: Blood Wars -- outside of the story being a direct follow-up to 2012's Underworld: Awakening -- still remains mostly under wraps, although the previous title of Next Generation would lead one to logically surmise that this film might indeed end up being Beckinsale's last hurrah as Selene, presuming she passes the torch to a new badass hero(ine). That said, exactly who that would end up being is anybody's guess right now.
On the casting front, several names are confirmed to return from the previous movie, including Theo James and Charles Dance. One Underworld vet who definitely won't be coming back is Speedman, who has once again declined to reprise the role of Selene's love and engineered werewolf/vampire hybrid Michael Corvin.
With the original Underworld film now 13 years old and over 4 years set to pass between the release of Awakening and the debut of Blood Wars, one wonders whether the franchise still has enough momentum to pull off another round of box-office bloodsucking. If successful, Blood Wars could represent either a fitting final chapter to the Underworld saga or a springboard to even more additions to the universe. If not, it's possible rigor mortis will begin to set in on the series.
Underworld: Blood Wars hits U.S. theaters on October 14, 2016.
Source: Screen Gems