We're now less than two months from the release of The Mummy, the Tom Cruise-starring supernatural adventure flick set to kick off a planned shared universe for the Universal Monsters of old. It's been nearly three years since the plan a was announced, and while we do know that a number of films are developing, only The Mummy has been produced thus far, and nothing in development officially has a director yet.
What the project has in spades right now, though, is writers, thanks to a writers' room set up by Alex Kurtzman (who directed The Mummy) and Chris Morgan (The Fate of the Furious). Everyone from Ed Solomon (Men In Black) to Jon Spaihts (Doctor Strange) to Eric Heisserer (Arrival) is a part of that group, working on the various monster characters, and while we know that more than half a dozen writers have been working on these scripts for a while now, none of the other films have release dates yet?
Why? Is it just a matter of getting all of the connective tissue of the shared universe right? According to Morgan, that's not really the issue.
"We kind of designed them all to be kind of standalone sorts of franchises that have kind of similar things between them," he told Collider. "And as the scripts came in, then we started putting them in a, ‘Well this would be a good order. We reveal this here’ so now it really comes down to, again, it’s a studio decision on which film is coming out next. Just with all the films we’re working on, Bride of Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Wolfman, Invisible Man, and on and on and on, it's a real embarrassment of riches in terms of awesome, fun characters."
So, it sounds like the writers are waiting for the studio to determine the direction the universe takes next, which makes sense, because Tom Cruise is on the marquee, but executives are still likely a little uncertain about The Mummy's performance at this stage. It would seems there's a bit of a holding pattern going on, and given how things turned out with Dracula Untold, that's understandable.
Of course, what might be even more interesting about Morgan's remarks is watching these films and eventually figuring out where the connective tissue lies in each of them.We know Russell Crowe's showing up as Dr. Henry Jekyll, but where do we go from there? Will the houses of Dracula and Frankenstein know each other from back in the day? Will Jekyll have some kind of hand in the creation of the Invisible Man. We have no idea, but the way this universe comes together will certainly be different from a superhero universe, and if these films can sustain themselves, it should be fun to watch.
The Mummy hits theaters on June 9.