The 2003 film Underworld from director Len Wiseman (Die Hard 4) brought horror fans a much-needed supernatural action franchise worth following - complete with a rich mythos by writer Kevin Grevioux, and a kick-ass female lead played by Wiseman's wife, Kate Beckinsale.
Despite a taking a few steps backwards (in terms of quality) with the last two installments - prequel film Rise of the Lycans and semi-reboot Underworld: Awakening - the Underworld franchise is still going strong. Late last year we heard that Underworld 5 was in the works, continuing the story of Underworld 4; then during summer 2015, we got official word on the title, Underworld: Next Generation, along with confirmation that Kate Beckinsale will once again star, and that the franchise would take on its first female director, Anna Foerster (Outlander). Now we have even more character and casting details to share, as Underworld 5 officially starts filming in the Czech Republic.
Underworld: Next Generation will reportedly continue the story of Underworld: Awakening, in which vampire "death dealer" Selene (Beckinsale) woke from a cryogenic sleep to find herself in a future world where the existence of vampires and werewolves had become public knowledge. With humanity hunting both species, it was up to Selene to uncover a clandestine Lycan plot to use her vampire/wolf hybrid daughter Eve's DNA to create "super lycans." In the end, Selene and Eve defeated the Lycan plot - but still had a ways to go in finding Michael, Eve's hybrid father, who escaped cryo-captivity and is now roaming the new world.
As you can see from the official press release below, more than a few familiar faces will return for Next Generation - including Divergent Series star Theo James, and Game of Thrones star Charles Dance:
Principal photography is underway on the latest installment of Screen Gems/Lakeshore Entertainment's blockbuster UNDERWORLD series, which has grossed nearly $500 million worldwide. The ten-week shoot will take place entirely in the Czech capital and areas surrounding.
Theo James (The Divergent Series) returns as Selene's ally David, reprising the role he played in Underworld: Awakening. British actors Tobias Menzies ("Outlander", "Rome") and Lara Pulver ("Sherlock") take on the respective roles of a formidable new Lycan leader and a fiercely ambitious Vampire, and Charles Dance ("Game of Thrones") again plays Vampire elder Thomas. Rounding out the film's stellar international cast are: James Faulkner ("Game of Thrones"), Peter Andersson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), newcomer Clementine Nicholson, Bradley James (A&E's upcoming "Damien") and Daisy Head (the upcoming Fallen).
Anna Foerster is the director of UNDERWORLD 5. Foerster, who previously directed episodes of the television series Criminal Mindsand Outlander, is widely known for her work as cinematographer on epic blockbusters such as Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and White House Down.
The screenplay for UNDERWORLD 5 was penned by Cory Goodman (The Last Witch Hunter, Priest) and based on characters originally created by Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman and Danny McBride. Lakeshore Entertainment's Tom Rosenberg (The Lincoln Lawyer, Million Dollar Baby), Gary Lucchesi (Million Dollar Baby, Underworld), and Richard S. Wright (The Lincoln Lawyer, Underworld) are producing as are David Kern (Underworld: Awakening), along with Len Wiseman (Underworld, Total Recall).
Character details are obviously still scant, but this being an Underworld movie, the storyline is not too hard to piece together (nor is it all that inventive). We've seen plenty of aging franchises take this "Next Generation" approach: Using a new installment to effectively 'hand off' the reigns to a new cast of (younger) actors. J.J. Abrams practically made that approach an industry staple with his 2009 Star Trek reboot, and is poised to do the same with Star Wars: Episode VII this holiday season. The success rate could vary, however; Terminator Genisys tried to pull a similar franchise revitalizing trick this past summer, and the response from the fanbase was less than ideal.
That's all to say: Anna Foerster has a challenge to meet - especially if this is to be Beckinsale's final outing as Selene. Whether or not the new female actors like Clementine Nicholson and/or Daisy Head take over the leading role remains to be seen. But the question is definitely looming.
Underworld 5: Next Generation will hit theaters on October 21, 2016.
Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment