The Dark Universe franchise is dead; long live the Dark Universe franchise.
Amid news that Universal Pictures is mounting a Renfield movie with Dexter Fletcher (Rocketman) at the helm, we now have word that James Wan, he of The Conjuring series, will produce a new Frankenstein film for the studio.
Variety has the scoop, confirming that Wan, a veteran of the modern horror genre, will produce via his Atomic Monster banner, though there’s nary a mention of casting or which direction Frankenstein will take. All we know is that Javier Bardem was once attached to the title role of Mary Shelley’s legendary creation, but that was back in 2017, when Dark Universe was still being touted as a cinematic franchise to rival the biggest names in the game – i.e. The Conjuring universe.
While the MCU, SUMC (Sony Universe of Marvel Characters) and DCEU fit the same criteria, they’re practically in a league of their own when it comes to size, scope, and box office revenue.
In light of The Mummy‘s failings, though, Universal ordered DU back to the drawing board, and have since decided to focus their creative energies on standalone horror pics based on some of the most recognizable monsters in cinematic history. It’s a plan which has already given rise to The Invisible Man, Leigh Whannell’s modern retelling of the spooky specter, while we understand Paul Feig (Ghostbusters) has also been tasked with a top-secret project for the studio.
Expect Frankenstein to tread the same path, then, and the fact that James Wan is now attached to produce fills us with confidence. This is, after all, the prolific director behind Aquaman, Saw and the aforementioned Conjuring movies, so it’s fair to say Wan brings a wealth of experience to the (operating) table. All that’s left now is to pump fresh life into a dormant horror icon.