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Is Universal’s Dark Universe rising from its monstrous slumber?

Contributed by
May 18, 2018

Despite its lurchy start, the idea of a cinematic universe that assembles Universal Pictures’ historic stable of monstrous baddies for future crossover films hasn’t exactly died — but it’s certainly lain dormant since last year’s tepidly received release of The Mummy.

That’s why our curiosity’s piqued by an Instagram post from artist Robert Vargas, who apparently had a recent meeting with the Dark Universe team and came away stoked about what its future holds. Vargas didn’t drop any specific information when he shot out a series of photos last week showing him hanging out at the studio, but he did hint that something or other is in the works and asked followers to “stay tuned.”

“Great meeting this morning with the amazing #DarkUniverse team,” Vargas wrote. “Looking forward to contributing to the Universal Pictures legacy with my work. Monster things in the works ;) Stay tuned!”

Universal’s plan to bring its archetypal collection of villains from Hollywood’s past — think Dracula, the Bride of Frankenstein (and her husband), the Wolfman, the Invisible Man, and more — under one umbrella never really got off the ground after The Mummy couldn’t unwrap the idea for U.S. viewers, despite its A-list cast.

(Disclosure: SYFY WIRE and Universal Studios are both owned by NBCUniversal.)

Critics had no interest in preserving The Mummy’s reputation, and the film more or less broke even at the box office. With so little return on its resource-heavy investment, Universal shelved plans late last year to follow through with Bride of Frankenstein, a movie that reportedly would have starred Javier Bardem as the big lug and sought to cast Angelina Jolie in the title role.

With Vargas cryptically enthusing that there are “[m]onster things in the works,” it at least looks as though Universal isn’t giving up on the Dark Universe — even if it may not appear in the form we were first expecting. For fans who couldn't embrace The Mummy's inauspicious Dark Universe kickoff, that might be a good thing. But we'll just have to wait to see what kind of retooling, if any, Universal may have in store.