The ambitious plans that Universal Pictures had prepared for their newly-minted “Dark Universe” seem to be unraveling. After the critical and box office failure of Tom Cruise’s The Mummy, two producers committed to the future of the shared universe have now left it behind.
Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, who were intended to be the architects of the Dark Universe, have both departed the franchise altogether.
Kurtzman had a production deal with Universal that lapsed in September and is now said to be focusing on television projects like Star Trek: Discovery.
Meanwhile, Morgan is returning to the Fast and the Furious franchise, where he will write a new spin-off movie focused on Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.
The Mummy was meant to be much more than just another big-budget summer blockbuster when it launched earlier this year.
It was intended to be the first of a series of interconnected films starring Universal’s classic horror monsters, following in the footsteps of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In May, the studio revealed the films would go under the moniker Dark Universe, and they released a photo featuring the franchise’s cast.
Mummy stars Cruise, Russell Crowe, and Sofia Boutella were joined by Javier Bardem (Frankenstein’s monster) and Johnny Depp (The Invisible Man).
The next film set to go into production was Bride of Frankenstein, directed by Beauty and Beast’s Bill Condon and co-starring Bardem.
Last month, the studio delayed the film indefinitely, stating they were unhappy with the script by Condon and David Koepp.
Angelina Jolie, who was being pursued to play the lead role in the new film, was never signed and it’s unclear what will happen with the film now.
Universal is said to be exploring options, including possibly making smaller Dark Universe films with up-and-coming filmmakers. Another option could be to bring on a new architect for the franchise and plot a new path forward.