With yesterday's reveal of the full trailer for The Mummy, more focus than ever has been placed on Universal's classic monsters cinematic universe. We've heard a lot about what could be part of it going forward, such as the Invisible Man with Johnny Depp, a Wolf Man movie, Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's Monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and more to go along with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Russell Crowe plays Jekyll in The Mummy to help set that whole thing up. One monster that won't be a part of it is Luke Evans' Vlad the Impaler, who was seen in Dracula Untold, the movie that was supposed to launch Universal's franchise if things had gone according to plan.
Collider caught up with The Mummy director Alex Kurtzman and when asked if Dracula Untold was still considered part of the universe's canon, he replied simply "No". Apparently the journalist interviewing him was quite pleased with that answer, but personally I would have preferred they stick to the original plan. The movie, which was basically a Dracula origin story using elements of Vlad the Impaler's true history, was a box office success even if the reviews weren't so good. So what happens if reviews of The Mummy aren't good, which is more likely than not? Do they start over yet again?
So for now it's mummy action that kicks everything off, and Kurtzman is quick to remind us that Universal basically created the idea of cinematic universes. So take THAT Marvel...
"The thing people forget is that the Universal Monsters were the first mash-up; they were the first universe built. It started with, I think, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and that was the first time that they put them together and then from there they started cross-pollinating all the monsters. But that was only because Frankenstein had succeeded so many times as a film, and had spawned its own sequels, and Wolf Man had done the same, that Universal was at a point where they said, “God, we don’t know what to do with these characters anymore. Why don’t we put them together?” and then new stories emerged.
So I can’t tell you how much I believe that in order for you to enjoy The Mummy, you have to have a satisfying mummy experience. If we are then in that context able to set up a larger world? Great! But the setup of that larger world and whatever characters Tom may meet over the course of the mummy movie have to be part of the mummy movie. It cannot take you out of that."
As for the inclusion of Crowe as Dr. Jekyll, Kurtzman says the character is there basically to be a connecting thread between the movies. Of course, he will eventually come to be more than that because of his alter ego...
"In looking to figure out how to place The Mummy in a larger context and setting up this organization that has actually been dealing with monsters for longer than any of us have been around, it became clear that we needed somebody to be the voice of that organization. The next thought was like, “Well, it could be Joe Mcgillicuddy, or we could actually go into another character that makes sense organically.” It was a real point of conversation with Tom. If we’re going to bring in Henry Jekyll, how is bringing Henry Jekyll into the mummy story not a detractor from the mummy story? How does Henry Jekyll become part of this story in an organic way? And part of what Tom’s character, Nick, learns about the mummy and about the history of the mummy comes through Jekyll’s very deep understanding of monsters and how monsters have existing quietly in this world for eons."
All of this depends on the success of The Mummy, which opens June 9th 2017 and co-stars