Universal Monsters Universe takes a look at Universal’s upcoming The Mummy relaunch and explores everything we know so far about the project.
The Mummy has always been my favorite of the Universal Monsters Universe of films. Back in 1999 when Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy released, I saw it for my birthday with a bunch of friends and family and it was a proper event. And then in 2001, I did the same thing. After the release of 2008’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, it seemed as if that was it for one of Universal’s most entertaining properties. There was some talk about relaunching the film series, but it seemed as if we were going to get Van Helsing first. (The reboot, not the Hugh Jackman one.) After that seemed to fade away and talk started to resurface in regards to The Mummy, it really wasn’t until Tom Cruise’s name was attached that many people started paying attention. Here we are, in 2016, just a little over a year away from The Mummy and I couldn’t be more excited. So what exactly do we know about the upcoming film?
Variety reported in April 2012 that Jon Spaihts of Prometheus was tapped by Universal to write The Mummy reboot, which would be produced by Sean Daniel. “I see it as the sort of opportunity I had with ‘Prometheus’: to go back to a franchise’s roots in dark, scary source material and simultaneously open it up to an epic scale we haven’t seen before,” Spaihts said.
At this time, Universal’s plan was to launch their Universal Monsters Universe with The Mummy and Van Helsing. Set in the present day, Universal’s shared universe of cinematic films would update the original monster movies by setting them in present day. According to an interview on MovieWeb, The Mummy was set to be “horror. It’s epic. It’s more of a modern day version of what would happen if we came across a mummy in our world today,” said the then previously attached director Len Wiseman.
As the film would progress with reports that Michael Crichton’s novels would serve as inspiration for the science elements of the story, director Len Wiseman of Underworld fame would eventually leave the project due to scheduling conflicts. This news was reported July of 2013, seven months after the announcement of Wiseman being hired as director. Andy Muschietti, the director of the surprise hit horror film Mama (for Universal) was then tapped as a replacement to Len Wiseman. This came at a time when there were internal shakeups at Universal and saw The Mummy‘s tone possibly shift from more action/adventure/horror to something more positively scary. With Muschietti in place, Universal confidently set an April 22, 2016 release for The Mummy with no cast list yet in place.
Unfortunately, Muschietti would leave the project due to “creative differences” and possibly because his film was set on being more stand-alone and focused on itself as opposed to the much larger, world building film Universal was set on making. With announcements centered around Alex Kurtzman developing a Universal Monsters Universe and being attached to the series since the beginning, it only made sense that Kurtzman was announced as director on July 30, 2014 by The Hollywood Reporter.
“Over the course of developing The Mummy, Alex has demonstrated such clarity and passion about this character and mythology,” said co-president of production Jeff Kirschenbaum. “He knows why The Mummy has fascinated us for so long and how to bring that into an inventive, incredible new adventure. It became obvious that he is the perfect choice to be not only one of the narrative engineers of this new vision but its director as well.”
With only one film under his belt, People Like Us, Universal now had firm plans in place to see The Mummy‘s tomb unearthed on April 22, 2016. The film was then pushed back to June 2016, and then to March 24, 2017. As we all know, The Mummy‘s current and seemingly final date is June 9, 2017.
Reported first and exclusively by Variety reporter, Justin Kroll, it had been revealed that Tom Cruise is in talks for The Mummy. Sofia Boutella, the 33 year old Algerian dancer/model/actress “is in talks to play the titular role in Universal’s The Mummy, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.” This was all finally confirmed on January 21, 2016 by Variety.
Superhero Movie News reported back in 2014 that they had read an early draft of the script. It’s not known if that script is still related to the planned 2017 reboot, but it is worth giving a read:
The story follows Navy Seal Tyler Colt and his mission in the Iraqi desert to find a group of terrorists hiding out in a bunker. To him and his teams surprise the terrorists within the bunker turn out be nothing more then some grave robbers who have all magically died. Upon entering the bunker Tyler and his team also succumb to some mystical forces out of their control. They soon realize the bunker they have infiltrated is actually a centuries old tomb. Mayhem erupts as all the Navy seal members start turning on one another and are captivated by the forces within the tomb. Tyler is the only one to make it all the way deep within the tomb alive to find an Black Iron Sarcophagus. It’s marked with Egyptian symbols like the Ankh and Eye of Horus. Here Tyler is entranced by the forces to open up and release what is inside. But after placing his hand onto the sarcophagus he is immediately stabbed in the palm with a star shaped symbol. From then on his mind is cursed with visions of Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria…..The Mummy.
It’s worth taking note that the original story, most likely by Jon Spaihts, set The Mummy in Iraq, and while it does incorporate Egyptian symbols, The Mummy is from Assyria. While plot details are still vague, it’s plausible that the location of Malta will double for a Middle East locale, maybe Assyria, but certain that the gender of The Mummy won’t be that of a male. The story refers to The Mummy as Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria. With Sofia Boutella cast as The Mummy, it’ll be interesting to see if she’ll be playing a variation of this character or an entirely different Mummy.
As of right now, not much else is known regarding June 9, 2017’s The Mummy except Tom Cruise isn’t expected to produce, but he will play a major part in development; Universal’s executive VP of production Jon Mone and VP of development Jay Polidoro will oversee the project for the studio.
With characters from the Universal Monsters Universe expected to appear in each other’s installments before culminating in an “Avengers”-style film. we know that would definitely include Sofia Boutella, but would that include Tom Cruise? Is he still even playing Navy Seal Tyler Colt? Or could he be playing someone else? A mystery for another day!
That’s all we have on The Mummy and everything we know so far. Stay tuned to Universal Monsters Universe for the latest news and speculation and if you have thoughts, ideas, or anything to say, feel free to leave a comment below! Just click on “Leave a reply” at the top of the page or click on the article and write away at the very bottom.
(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)