When Iron Man stormed into theaters in 2008, no one knew what a colossal beast the Marvel Cinematic Universe would eventually become. As a result of Marvel’s success, shared universes are now all the rage, and the newest film to launch a major franchise is June’s reboot of The Mummy.
The new Tom Cruise version of the classic story is not just a restart after the Brendan Fraser Mummy trilogy that ended nine years ago. It’s intended to set up an entirely new universe of interconnected films starring Universal’s classic movie monsters.
2014’s Dracula Untold was originally supposed to be the starting point for the new universe, but after that film was panned by critics and audiences alike, Universal started over once again.
Russell Crowe is poised to be the connecting thread between The Mummy and future Universal Monster Universe films. His role of Dr. Henry Jekyll not only sets up a potential new Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde film, but Crowe is slated to continue the role in future movies, a la Samuel L. Jackson in the early Marvel films.
Writer/producer Chris Morgan says the Universal films will be darker and will tackle more human issues than the superhero universes currently held by Marvel and DC.
There’s also no plan in place to create an Avengers-style meet-up movie. Instead, each film will essentially stand on its own while also featuring subtle connections to one another.
In fact, producers and the studio have yet to even decide which film to make after The Mummy. It’s possible they’re taking a wait-and-see approach after the failure to Dracula Untold, but they do have multiple other Universal Monster films in varying degrees of pre-production.
Johnny Depp has already signed on to play the title role in The Invisible Man and his Pirates of the Caribbean 5 co-star Javier Bardem is said to be in talks for the new version of Frankenstein. Van Helsing, The Wolf Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Bride of Frankenstein are also in the works.
The Mummy arrives in theaters worldwide on June 9, 2017.