There are quite a few cinematic universes in development around Hollywood right now, but Universal's shared monster universe may be the most intriguing and perhaps one of the most logical. It will kick off next year with The Mummy reboot, but following closely behind will be the newly rebooted Van Helsing. Like The Mummy, it has been revealed that this new Van Helsing will take place in modern day.
Jon Spaihts, who wrote the new Mummy movie and co-wrote both Prometheus and Doctor Strange, was recently interviewed by Collider. He didn't write the new Van Helsing movie, but is involved in this Universal monster-verse, so he had some insight about the movie and revealed that it will take place in present day as well as a bit about how he hopes the character will fit into the universe. Here is what he had to say.
"[Van Helsing is] a new creation, so it doesn't owe much of a debt to prior films. But it is still a very romantic departure from the character as incepted in Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula, where [he] was a Dutch doctor who figures out a very surprising answer to an odd medical question. This is a monster hunter with encyclopedic knowledge. It's set in the present day and it's just filled with good stuff I'm not allowed to talk about. But I'm very excited about this new incarnation of Van Helsing, and I hope that as the Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe begins to take flight, we'll see him cropping up in other stories, as well."
Van Helsing is being written by Eric Heisserer, who also wrote the horror hit Lights Out as well as the upcoming sci-fi movie, which is a potential Oscar contender, Arrival. He recently confirmed, and Jon Spaihts echoed the same in this recent interview, that Van Helsing will indeed be included in the shared monster-verse. Spaihts also talked a bit about the tone of these movies and what we can expect. Here is what he had to say.
"Even to go back to the original Universal Monster movies with Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff, they were not really terrifying even then. Maybe sensibilities were different and people were easier to scare at the time. But [those classic films were] slow; they're parlor stories for the most part - not terrifying in modern terms. [Now] we've gotten really good at scaring people in movies. So, the nice thing about The Mummy is that it has the swash-buckling action-adventure character of a modern epic action movie, but it's legit terrifying. It will scare you."
Universal is still trying to piece this monster universe together but the constant is that they appear to be going after top-notch talent for every movie. First, they have Tom Cruise leading The Mummy next year, which will also feature an appearance by Dr. Jekyll, who is being played by Russell Crowe. Johnny Depp has also been cast to play the lead in the reboot of The Invisible Man. There are also rumors that Oscar winner Javier Bardem is being eyed for the new Frankenstein movie. That is a pretty impressive stable of talent. There has also been persistent chatter regarding Angelina Jolie being eyed for the Bride of Frankenstein both to star and direct. It was also recently revealed that Luke Evans version of Dracula from Dracula Untold may be coming back to reprise his role in these new connected monster movies.
The Mummy is set for release on June 9, 2017, which will officially kick off this new Universal Monsters universe. At the moment, Universal hasn't announced when Van Helsing will come out, but they do have two Untitled Universal Monster Franchise movies set to come out on April 13th, 2018 and February 15th, 2019. If The Mummy does well, expect Universal to make a lot more official announcements regarding this monster-verse.