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'Renfield' isn't meant to launch new Dark Universe, but sequels could feature other classic monsters
"I see more stories in Renfield and his relationship with Rebecca, Dracula, and possibly other monsters out there."
Universal probably isn't itching to revisit the Dark Universe concept anytime soon. The idea of a Marvel-style cinematic mythos interconnected by the studio's iconic library of silver screen monsters (i.e. Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein, Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Creature from the Black Lagoon) fizzled out when 2017's The Mummy reboot failed to live up to financial and critical expectations.
Since then, Universal has utilized its collection of things that go bump in the night for director-driven interpretations of old classics. Leigh Whannell's The Invisible Man was the first project to test this approach and the rewards could not have been more welcome: a 92 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and over $144 million at the global box office (against a meager budget of $7 million, we might add).
Next up on the docket is Chris McKay's Renfield (in theaters everywhere next month), a comedy-action-horror flick centered around the titular individual tasked with providing Count Dracula with a steady supply of innocent victims. In essence, it applies the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead method by shifting the emphasis to a supporting character in Bram Stoker's original novel.
X-Men alum Nicholas Hoult plays the titular protagonist, who decides to quit after a century of toxic behavior from the most famous bloodsucker of them all (a scenery-chewing Nicolas Cage). While McKay has spoken about a potential sequel, he recently affirmed that this movie is not the beginning of a new Dark Universe. If the movie does well, however, the director might be allowed to invite other beasties to the party for a true monster mash.
"We haven't had any conversations about it," he told SFX Magazine. "From the studio's perspective, this is a one-off thing. I figure they don't look at this as some kind of franchise-starter. The thing for me, personally, is I loved the relationship between Renfield and Dracula. I loved the relationship between Renfield and Rebecca [played by Awkwafina]. I love the idea that if Dracula is out there, are there other monsters out there, in a world where Renfield is now empowered to fight off people's monsters? That's not necessarily where the movie goes. I see more stories in Renfield and his relationship with Rebecca, Dracula, and possibly other monsters out there."
Based on a story from Robert Kirkman and written by Ryan Ridley, Renfield sinks its fangs into theaters everywhere Friday, April 14.
Need to satisfy your vampire craving right now? Check out SYFY's Reginald the Vampire, which is set to return later this year for a second season. Or head on over to Peacock, where Vampire Academy is now in session!