While Disney revels in the one-two punch of Marvel and Star Wars, Warner Bros. builds a DC Comics-verse, and Fox tightens its grip on the X-Men, Universal Pictures is busy reviving its lineup of classic movie monsters and forming them into a shared universe of its own. We've known about the plan for a while, but now we're getting new insights from the Monster Brain Trust (which is not Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster and the Mummy sitting around figuring out equations, though that would be awesome).
Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek) and Chris Morgan (Furious 7) are the writers Universal has placed at the helm of the effort, and they're heading up a 10-person writers' room that will produce a series of films beginning with a new Mummy movie that will start production next year. In a new piece detailing the project at Variety, Universal Pictures head Donna Langley confirmed that the plan for a shared universe, in which the characters "interact with each other across movies," is still in place, while Morgan noted that the writers are taking a grounded approach to reviving the creatures.
“This is not a heightened world,” Morgan says. “We’re exploring issues of family identity and questions of, ‘Where do I belong in the world?’ ”
Each writer working on the project has been assigned a single monster to focus on (though the interview doesn't specify which writer got which character), and the entire room will work together to determine how they all fit into the universe. To draw inspiration, Kurtzman and Morgan watched both the classic Universal films and the Hammer horror films in an effort to create a new mythos.
“We’re creating a mythology, so we’re looking at this canon and thinking, ‘What are the rules?’ ” Kurtzman said. “What can we break and what are the ones that are untouchable?”
Sadly, Kurtzman didn't go on to share any of the rules they're breaking are keeping, but his remarks do add intrigue to a project that more than a few fans of the classic films (myself included) are a bit uncertain about. How will the new monsters look? Will they be scary or lean heavily on Van Helsing-style adventure? How exactly will the interconnectedness function? We don't know, but here's hoping the level of thought being put into this effort will be enough to get it right.