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The Dark Universe Adds Dracula, the Phantom of the Opera, and the Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Dark Universe Adds Dracula, the Phantom of the Opera, and the Hunchback of Notre Dame

Update – 5/6/2017

As if invisible men, wolfpeople, and the varied monsters of Dr. Frankenstein weren’t enough, it was announced on Tuesday that the blossoming Dark Universe cinematic franchise would be adding three additional classic haunters to its roster. In an interview with Fandom, producer Alex Kurtzman announced that Dracula, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the Phantom of the Opera would also be getting in on the action. No word yet on who’ll play either of these shadow-affixed Frenchmen, nor the Romanian night owl, though they’re all expended to get their own reboot features at this time.

We knew this was coming, and it was solidified when Alex Kurtzman first showed a few outlets the first footage of The Mummy late last year, but Monday, Universal made it all very official by announcing a new connected cinematic universe for its classic cabal of monsters. Dubbed the “Dark Universe,” the second film will be Bill Condon’s Bride of Frankenstein in 2019, and it was also announced that Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp will have prominent roles in that movie. More on that in a sweet mome. Legendary composer Danny Elfman has created a new piece of music to go over the Dark Universe motion logo as well.

Dark Universe Logo

The logo and tune will debut with The Mummy on June 9. Kurtzman is spearheading the creation of this universe, along with Fast and Furious franchise writer Chris Morgan, and are committed to “reshaping enduring cinematic characters for today’s audience.” And it seems like they’re already planning to do a lot more than merely remake the original films by bringing in different characters, such as Russell Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll who’ll feature prominently in The Mummy. Part of Monday’s announcement also said that Bardem will portray Frankenstein’s monster–a role made famous by Boris Karloff–and Depp will be the Invisible Man–portrayed in the 1933 film by Claude Rains–in Bride.

Dark Universe cast

Condon is an interesting/sort of profound choice to direct Bride of Frankenstein; he directed and won the Oscar for writing the screenplay for 1998’s Gods and Monsters–a movie about James Whale, the director of Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and The Invisible Man–and one of the lines that’s become a tagline for the Dark Universe already is “Welcome to a New World of Gods and Monsters,” a line from–say it with me!–the original Bride of Frankenstein.

So, it’s all very inside, in kind of a great way. So Universal already has Tom Cruise heading its first franchise film, and by adding Depp–another monster global box office draw–they’re attempting to ensure success. My hope is with Bardem, we get a version of the Creature that’s more like the book and not like the grunting Karloff monster. And for my money, “Dark Universe” is not a great name for this, but with “Monsterverse” already claimed by the Kong/Godzilla movies, there wasn’t too much else they could do.

What do you think about the Dark Universe? What could the Invisible Man have to do with Frankenstein’s monster? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Images: Universal

Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist and the host of the horror documentary series One Good Scare. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Twitter!

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