Welp, the writing's been on the wall for a while, but this morning it's been made all but official: according to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal's fledgling Dark Universe franchise appears to be most sincerely dead. Bill Condon's Bride Of Frankenstein has flatlined, Johnny Depp's The Invisible Man has vanished into thin air, and the threat of a wildly misguided Creature From The Black Lagoon remake has mercifully sunk back into the swamp.
THR says Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, the would-be architects of the Dark Universe, have both moved on to bigger and hopefully less-disastrous things (Kurtzman's executive producing CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery, while Morgan's writing The Rock's Fast And Furious spin-off; sorry, Tyrese).
Also, this is happening:
"Emblematic of Dark Universe's problems is the tony office building on the Universal lot that was revamped at considerable expense for the new venture. After being decked out in monster regalia, it now sits mostly empty."
Interesting side note in all this: THR says Universal's currently considering other options, none of which sound like they'll involve turning the classic Universal Monsters into an Avengers-style team of badasses. One option involves making one-off Uni Monsters films that have no connection to one another. Another involves bringing in uber-producer Jason Blum. Still another option involves finding someone else who could overhaul the entire Dark Universe concept, but we're not holding our breath.
Look, we've picked on the Dark Universe quite a bit around here, and with good reason - the whole thing was a profoundly bad idea - but if we're being completely honest with ourselves and our readers, we have to admit this news leaves us feeling a little sad. The Dark Universe had the potential to be one of the most ill-advised franchise experiments in Hollywood history, and we were legitimately curious to see how far off the rails the whole thing might go before someone pulled the plug.
The end has come even sooner than expected, which makes today a day of mourning in House BMD. Pour one out for what might've been in the comments below.