The Dark Universe franchise is expected to kick into gear next week with the arrival of The Mummy, but the groundwork for the rest of the cinematic universe is still being mapped. Universal Studios is confidently stepping up their game, with A-list casting announcements coming regularly.
What is known now is that Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Russel Crowe, Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem are established in their roles (Bardem will lead the Frankenstein film while Depp will portray Dr. Griffin, the Invisible Man) but according to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal are still hoping to snatch a few more top notch actors along the way.
Top picks are currently Dwayne Johnson as The Wolf Man and Angelina Jolie to portray The Bride of Frankenstein, who’s director has been confirmed as Bill Condon with David Koepp writing the script.
The Hollywood Reporter goes on to indicate that the Dark Universe may also be larger than anticipated, potentially attempting a new budget strategy that will allow for significantly lower-cost films to be included in the setting. Jason Blum of Blumhouse Studios (a Universal-owned property responsible for The Purge, Paranormal Activity and Get Out) has expressed interest in joining the fray with lower budget offerings that will still be considered a part of the wider Dark Universe. Other cinematic universes have attempted peripheral sub-franchises to help branch out the central blockbuster feature films, but up until now these have been TV shows rather than full cinematic releases.
It remains to be seen what Blumhouse Studios has planned, whether lesser known film monsters like The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Phantom of the Opera or The Hunchback of Notre Dame will be given the modern treatment or if even more recent or original characters will be added.
Dozens of films from the Universal era of monsters and horror are ripe for the picking, no doubt providing Universe material for decades to come.
On the topic of the groundwork behind the Dark Universe, Warner Bros. Entertainment are thought to be considering legal action against the Universal uber-project as a part of their planned DC Extended Universe which was to include an entry of the same title. This proposed film would focus on the popular Justice League Dark comic characters who handle the powerful supernatural threats that face the world, however it has not entered pre-production as of yet.
It remains to be seen if the legal action continues or if Warner Bros. will decide that a re-titling of their film idea will sufficiently settle the issue.