Universal had big plans for its Dark Universe franchise. They hired Tom Cruise to headline an adventure-horror take on The Mummy. They gathered together a crew of A-listers to star in new versions of The Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. They figured out a way to tie these proposed films together, treating the classic Universal Monsters as superheroes in their very own version of the MCU's shared universe. Then they released The Mummy, and all those plans went up in flames.
Indeed, the Dark Universe franchise - the version Universal was gunning for, anyway - is most sincerely dead, but that doesn't mean the studio is no longer interested in putting those iconic monsters back up on the big screen. As it turns out, they've just been rethinking their strategy:
“Upgrade director Leigh Whannell has signed on to direct an Invisible Man movie. The movie reunites him with Jason Blum, who is set to produce the Universal Pictures movie through his Blumhouse Productions banner.
The move is part of a fresh strategy for the Universal monsters properties, bringing creative directors with distinctive visions to the classic characters."
That's right, monster fans - Universal is back on their bullshit, and this time they're coming at it from an angle that makes sense. According to Variety, they've tabled the "shared universe nonsense", hired Leigh Whannell to direct a new version of The Invisible Man, and they've brought in Blumhouse to produce. One hates to Monday morning quarterback Universal on this thing, but really: this is what they should've done in the first place.
Says Peter Cramer, Universal's president of production:
“Throughout cinematic history, Universal’s classic monsters have been reinvented through the prism of each new filmmaker who brought these characters to life. We are excited to take a more individualized approach for their return to screen, shepherded by creators who have stories they are passionate to tell with them.”
By the way, you might recall that Johnny Depp was once onboard to headline the Dark Universe's new take on The Invisible Man. Variety says that's no longer the case, but also indicates Universal hasn't ruled out the possibility of Depp appearing in some other, future monster movie. Sure, Jan.
We're excited to see how this one turns out. With a reasonable budget, Whannell at the helm, and Blumhouse shepherding this thing through production, the new Invisible Man stands a very good chance of being a wicked little movie. Stay tuned for further updates as they roll in.