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Executive Producer Chris Morgan Talks The Universal Monsters Universe!

Universal Monsters Universe

Executive producer and creative architect, Chris Morgan, talks “The Mummy” and upcoming Universal Monsters Universe films.

For fans of the classic Universal Monsters, it’s an exciting time right now as The Mummy is about ready to return to the big screen in two months, along with ushering in a “new world of gods and monsters” that will reintroduce the classic monsters to modern day audiences. However, other than The Mummy, scripts being developed for other monsters such as Creature from the Black Lagoon, and mystery release date announcements, there really isn’t that much else that has been added to what we already know. While promoting The Fate of the Furious, which he has produced and written, Chris Morgan elaborated more on the current status of the Universal Monsters Universe films that will release post The Mummy.

Beyond [The Mummy], we’re just developing… we’re kind of locking in on all of the scripts. Right now, it’s Bride of Frankenstein and Creature from the Black Lagoon and the Invisible Man, Van Helsing and The Wolfman. Those things kind of go a pace, and Universal will… we’re in talks to kind of figure out what the next film to come out will be.

So according to Chris Morgan, who is sharing creative architect of the UMU duties with Alex Kurtzman, has acknowledged that we will be getting films of

  • Bride of Frankenstein
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon
  • Invisible Man
  • Van Helsing
  • The Wolfman

While the structure of the Universal Monsters Universe films has yet to be specified, having five to six films in development keeps to the formula that Marvel Studios started with their Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Warner Bros. has tinkered with with their DC Extended Universe. With that said, Universal Pictures were the first studio to develop a connected universe with their original Universal Monsters films. The original pictures united Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolfman, Dracula, and even the Invisible Man together.

Outside of this, I’d like to point out that Warner Bros. released Man of Steel in 2013 and the follow up, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, didn’t release until three years after. Batman v Superman would quickly be followed by Suicide SquadWonder Woman (out this June), and Justice League (out in November). While Universal has set release dates for two undisclosed Universal Monsters films on April 13, 2018 and February 15, 2019, it is looking more likely that scheduling will have to be readjusted. Unless a Universal Monsters films has been filming covertly like 10 Cloverfield Lane or even the much speculated Cloverfield film God Particle, I would say we will most likely not see a Universal Monsters film release on April 13, 2018. However, February 15, 2019 is still possible. And, let’s not forget how many times Universal changed the release date for The Mummy (principal photography began April 2016). With films only being developed and scripts still being locked in, it would not be unlikely to potentially see a DC Extended Universe scheduling happen with The Mummy releasing June 9th, but not seeing a direct follow up for a year or more. Re-igniting the Universal Monsters library has been a priority for Universal’s Donna Langley and they will surely see to it that a firm universe has been developed to avoid any mistakes and critical/fan issues with their universe/brand.

I’m just kind of, right now, we are producing and overseeing — Alex Kurtzman and I, our company has kind of joined together to oversee all of these films. So we’re really just working with the writers, breaking the stories, [figuring out] ‘What is that first story that we’re going to tell about the Wolfman?’ It’s kind of critical to step in with the right foot, and to give people enough of an homage to the original, to make them complicated and dark characters, but to also kind of address our sentiments and a modern context, and let people feel like they’re seeing something fresh. So it’s kind of the joy of being able to talk monsters all day.

The “joy of being able to talk monsters all day” is something I could truly relate to and it’s Chris Morgan and Alex Kurtzman’s vision of developing real monster movies that pay homage to the originals while remaining inventive that seems so exciting and promising. I’ve been no stranger about my love of SHOWTIME’s Penny Dreadful and their development of a world in which the likes of Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Bride co-exist in Victorian England. From everything I know about The Mummy and some of the details in regards to the Universal Monsters Universe of films being developed, this is a very exciting time if you’re a fan and I would not be managing, writing, and talking “monsters all day” with you if I didn’t believe in it.

(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)

About the author

Steven Biscotti

Mild mannered reporter, Steven Biscotti, has an avid interest in all things comic books, movies, and music (especially pertaining to Coldplay.) He stands 5'7" tall and prides himself on being the same height as Tom Cruise. Steven's favorite monster movie? "The Mummy (1999)."

Readers Comments (11)

  1. All I have to say is even though I honestly believe Invisible Man and Wolfman are next, I hope I’m wrong and we get Van Helsing. Please be Van Helsing, all I want is another Van Helsing and creature with two sequels. Is that too much to ask?

    Reply
  2. Yes! For Creature from the Black Lagoon, Invisible Man, Van Helsing, and The Wolfman I fully expect these to be epic tentpole pictures!

    The Mummy is going to hit it out of the park! I love the cinematic universe kickstarters of Iron Man, Man of Steel, and Godzilla, but I think The Mummy has the potential blow those out of the water!

    Reply
    • That’s only if it gets good reviews and word of mouth because I mostly see backlash.

      Reply
      • Backlash now, praise later. Universal wants this to be just as successful as we all do. They’re currently banking on establishing or re-establishing the Universal Monsters brand. And, with every Universal Monsters film there comes an opportunity for a different and unique film.

        Reply
    • Cinematic universe kickstarters are always the best. The excitement of knowing what’s to come and all the hype that follows is always very special. And then five to ten years later and looking back on how it all unfolded? Just as fun. I do agree with you that “The Mummy” is going to hit it out of the park. It is a ‘Mummy’ movie and a Tom Cruise movie. Other than releasing the week right after “Wonder Woman,” it should do very well.

      I, too, am very excited to see what follows. Which Universal Monsters film are you looking forward to besides “The Mummy”? Are which one are you hoping to see developed first?

      Reply
      • Personally, I don’t think releasing one week after Wonder Woman will be too much of an issue. Wonder Woman may have a $100+ million domestic opening weekend, but probably will have a second weekend drop of over 50%. Certainly there is overlap between audiences for Wonder Woman and The Mummy, but Universal is being smart by advertising horror. Considering that horror has been very good to Universal this year, this gives them a way to make sure they have the most unique blockbuster movie releasing in June. I am hoping for a $100+ million opening for The Mummy as well, but that might be asking too much. I would hope the minimum opening range will be $60 million to $75 million. And I expect The Mummy to have a less than 50% drop in its second weekend due to positive word of mouth when audiences get to see the film.

        I’m very hyped for Creature from the Black Lagoon, but I don’t want that to be the second movie – because that can almost be a “safe bet” for this universe the way that Aquaman or The Batman are for DC (movies that are expected to be well received by the box office and critics). I would personally like to see The Invisible Man as the second film in the monsters universe.

        Reply
        • That’s a really smart and informed way to look at “The Mummy” opening a week after “Wonder Woman”. I, too, expect there to be a very strong word of mouth for the movie and I believe people are going to be pleasantly surprised by just how good it is.

          Thanks for sharing your comments on the future Universal Monsters films you’d like to see. “Creature” is a safe bet, isn’t it? So many people are looking forward to that one. As for myself, I’m really excited for “Bride of Frankenstein.”

          Reply
          • Right now, Bride of Frankenstein is my least anticipated of the monster movies. From what little we know about it, this project seems the least “tentpole” of them. That’s not to say this can’t be an excellent film, but I see this as being a mid budget movie for the moment. The projects I most anticipate are tentpoles. And we already know that Creature is being planned as such!

  3. What about dracula

    Reply
    • Hi Kacie. As of right now there are no set plans to develop a standalone “Dracula” movie, but that’s not to say that the character isn’t a priority for Universal right now. While it has not been reported yet, I would venture that there will be nods to Dracula throughout the Universal Monsters films and an exciting acknowledgement that he’s definitely there. Wink wink. Thanks for the question!

      Reply
      • For me you know I’m waiting on Creature From The Black Lagoon and Van Helsing. I am not too concerned for Dracpac at the moment because we know he’s out there.

        Reply

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