Those who had high hopes for Universal's Dark Universe may not be totally out of luck, despite the fact that it seemed like the the studio's plans for a monster movie cinematic universe were all but dead. Indeed, some newly surfaced evidence online suggests that the Dark Universe may be on a path to resurrection following the disastrous release of The Mummy last year. Though, we must admit, this isn't exactly a lot to go on.
This bit of Dark Universe hope comes from artist Robert Vargas who recently made quite the interesting post to his Instagram account. Apparently, Vargas had a meeting with some of the folks at Universal who are in charge of what's left of the Dark Universe, whatever that may be. In any case, they may have Vargas do some artwork for them related to "monster things." Here's what Vargas had to say in his post.
"Great meeting this morning with the amazing #DarkUniverse team. Thank you #Universal Exec, Holly Goline and Crash for the hospitality. Looking forward to contributing to the Universal Pictures legacy with my work. Monster things in the works ;) Stay tuned!"
So what does this mean exactly? It's difficult to say, but at the very least it seems like Universal isn't totally ready to abandon this shared universe they had in mind. Screenwriter Ed Solomon, who was at least at one point going to write the Invisible Man movie that would star Johnny Depp as the titular character, indicated shortly after The Mummy crashed and burned at the box office that the studio was reconfiguring their plans for the franchise moving forward. Perhaps they now have done some of the necessary retooling and are ready to get some movies in production.
Twice now, first with 2014's Dracula Untold and with last year's The Mummy, the studio has tried to get this monster universe off the ground. But ahead of the release of the Tom Cruise-led flick last year, they got serious and branded it as Dark Universe, with several movies planned. Russell Crowe's Dr. Henry Jekyll was meant to provide some connective tissue and it appeared as though they were confident in what they had. Unfortunately, the movie scarcely made $80 million domestically, even though it did manage to cross the $400 million mark worldwide. Most importantly, The Mummy was loathed by critics, earning just a 13 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Not exactly the perfect start to a cinematic universe.
Bill Condon was set to start production on his Bride of Frankenstein remake this year for release in February 2019 before Universal hit the pause button. That project may not be totally dead, but everything in regards to the Dark Universe has been halted while the studio figures out how to handle it moving forward. In the meantime, key producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan bailed out. Who knows what has been going on behind closed doors, but it seems like we probably haven't seen the last of this universe. Just don't be surprised if they try and distance themselves from the Tom Cruise disaster as much as possible. You can check out Robert Vargas' Instagram post for yourself below.