Recently news broke that Universal was planning to reboot their prized assortment of classic monsters — including Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, The Bride, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon — into a shared universe of films, much as they did with the same characters back in the forties. This time it’s under the guiding hand of writer/producer Chris Morgan. Now it appears that the first movie to roll out in this new “Monsterverse” is going to be yet another reboot of The Mummy, and, according to The Wrap, it’s going to be directed by Alex Kurtzman. Universal has set a release date of April 22nd, 2016.
Alex Kurtzman was, until recently, part of a very successful writing partnership with screenwriter Roberto Orci. Together they wrote such movies as the first two Transformers, Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The reboot of The Mummy will be Kurtzman’s first major studio gig flying solo without Orci (who will be going on to direct Star Trek 3), although unlike Orci, he’s already directed a smaller feature film, last year’s People Like Us. Just about nothing is known about this new iteration of the Mummy; the last Mummy series was highly successful for Universal, and spawned two sequels and a spin-off movie. Considering it’s only been six years since the last Mummy movie, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Universal might want to consider making this one as different as possible.
Also unknown is just how much other recent Universal Monster reboots will be incorporated into this new shared universe — The Wolfman was rebooted just four years ago, and Universal is rebooting Dracula this fall in Dracula: Untold. Are they going to be a part of this new monster universe, or is Universal planning on starting again so soon? (And in the case of Dracula, starting again before this new version has even come out. Welcome to a world where movies are rebooted before they’ve even been released.) While Universal doesn’t own the monster characters themselves, since they’re all public domain, they DO own the classic make-up looks as designed by Jack Pierce back in the golden age of Hollywood. Those designs are so iconic that they’re still being used in Halloween decorations to this day, no matter how many other iterations those characters have had since then. I’d say take advantage of that, Universal.
This post has been updated to reflect the correct release date of April 22, 2014.