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The Universal Monsters have been one of the biggest parts of Universal’s history, as well as cinema history, and had seen a great run from 1931-1959, in which characters like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Invisible Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and many more graced cinema screens for many years, terrifying audiences, and in some instances, making them laugh. The creatures were very popular, but eventually, the audiences quit coming, and the monsters began to fade away, only to return on-and-off over the years, in various forms of remakes and reboots. But nothing ever seemed to touch what had come before, with the remakes and reboots sinking more often than swimming, and in a way, hurting what had come before. But now, Universal is looking to rectify the situation, and bring their classic monsters back in a big way.
For a little while now, it’s been rumored that Universal Studios was looking at bringing the Classic Universal Monsters with a franchise sprawling universe akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Those rumors really started to heat up when Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci stepped up to write the currently in development reboot of The Mummy, as well as a reboot of Van Helsing, starring Tom Cruise. At the time, Orci had this to say about the projects:
There’s an interesting thing that could happen at Universal where they have this amazing library of their old monsters and these kinds of heroes, and the idea of trying to create a universe. [We’re doing] Van Helsing, and we’re also producing The Mummy for them. We’re kind of imagining updating these kinds of things. You don’t want to just make remakes when you’re doing a thing, unless it’s worthy of being a remake, but when you have an idea for something that can actually be made different and yet be true to what it was. We just had a notion of how to make it modern and have a slightly different tone. It’s not going to be just a remake.
Now, the folks over at Deadline are reporting that this idea is moving forward, but it won’t be under Kurtzman and Orci. The new cinematic universe will be developed under Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, the latter of which has been working with Universal Studios for some time now on their biggest, and most popular franchise, The Fast and the Furious. He’s done a great job of world building with that series, especially as it’s continued to grow and become more involved and intricate over the last four films, so bringing him into to shepherd this new Monsters Cinematic Universe is actually a really great idea. Not only that, he has a great relationship with Universal already, which bodes well for them moving forward.
The new franchise is looking to begin with the 2016 reboot of The Mummy, which is currently looking for a director. Kurtzman and Morgan are said to be overseeing all the projects, and will be very hands on in the productions, as well as marketing and promotions, making sure all the films, and their new vision, comes to life well. It hasn’t been decided whether Kurtzman or Morgan will be working on the scripts of any of the films, but they are going to beginning taking meetings over the next few weeks to try and get people onboard to help bring the films to fruition.
This is a great move for Universal, and it wouldn’t be the first time the Universal Monsters have met on screen before. Over the classic era period, many of the monsters would come together on in off in films such as Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. In an age where Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm are prospering at creating living, breathing universes on film with the Marvel and Star Wars properties, this seems like a great idea for Universal to return to, because their Classic Universal Monsters have a lot to offer, and a lot of potential to mine. The idea of seeing many of these characters back on the big screen is exciting in-and-of itself, but to have them together in one universe, crossing over into each others films, that’s an even more exciting prospect than I could have ever hoped for.
I for one can’t wait to see what Universal Studios does with all their Classic horror characters that I grew up, and I can’t wait to see them back on the big screen. The Universal Monsters are a staple of film history, and bringing them together is a smart move that could benefit in spades. Are you excited about the idea of Kurtzman and Morgan bringing the Universal Monsters together in a bigger cinematic universe? Let your thoughts in the comments below!