The Dark Universe is America’s first shared universe. A shared universe is a set of creative works; in this case movies, that are able to stand alone but tell an entire story. Think Marvel movies or The Conjure-verse (The Conjuring movies, Annabelle movies, The Nun, and The Crooked Man) or the not exactly confirmed Pixar theory. My personal fave is the Buffyverse. If you’re into ~conspiracies~, some people believe Cabin in the Wood and Firefly are also a part of the Buffyverse…a Whedonverse if you will. But, we’re not talking about that today.
The dark universe consists of the iconic monsters from Universal. The main guys are Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, and the Wolfman. But there’s also the Invisible Man, Van Helsing (who isn’t a monster), and the bride of Frankenstein. Universal was always the home of America’s original monsters. There are other iconic monsters, like the creature from the Black Lagoon and the Phantom of the Opera but they’re not *really* part of the shared universe.
The original Dark Universe ended in the 1960s. Last year, Universal attempted to reboot the Dark Universe with The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise. For some reason, Dracula Untold and The Wolfman were ignored. Luke Evans says he wants to play Dracula again., And I hope he gets the chance. While I did not particularly like Dracula Untold, I thought Luke Evans was a good Dracula. I do hope he gets the chance. As we all know the mummy was critically planned, but did quite well at the global box office. The opening was the biggest global debut of Tom Cruise’s career.
I was a little wary of this new dark universe. I was not very impressed with Russell Crowe’s take on Dr. Jekyll. He definitely got the Hyde part down but I expected someone more….. Handsome? I guess Penny Dreadful has clearly spoiled me. Sam Witler is so handsome! When I read the novella, I always imagine him as “silver fox handsome”, like a Richard Gere type of man. I don’t think Russell Crowe is ugly by any stretch of the imagination, and he is around the appropriate age to play Dr. Jekyll. But I didn’t like it. I was hoping Dr. Jekyll would get his own movie, however I think it’s a bit pointless now.
In addition to The Mummy, there were plans for the Bride of Frankenstein with Angelina Jolie as the bride, and Javier Bardem as the monster. However, Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan have abandoned the dark universe. Kurtzman is focused on producing Star Trek: Discovery and Morgan is writing a sequel for the Fast and the Furious franchise. It looks like the Dark Universe has been put on the back burner for now, some are even considering it done with all together. I’m not one of them. I think good things take time and I prefer to see a movie at Universal is proud of, instead of something they just crapped out. They say “never give up on your dreams”. Well, I’m never giving up on my nightmares. I don’t mind waiting for the best movies possible. I hope you don’t mind either. Rome wasn’t built in a day!