Alex Kurtzman, one of the key driving forces behind Universal’s Monsters Universe, has revealed that he had initially intended for The Mummy to be a male character, and it was only upon viewing the post-credits sting in X-Men: Days of Future Past – one which introduced the younger Apocalypse – that Kurtzman started over from scratch.
The director’s hand may have been forced, but the similarities resulted in a complete overhaul of The Mummy and, ultimately, a female version of the ancient, all-powerful deity. Kingsman breakout Sofia Boutella was later cast in the role, and excitement is now beginning to build ahead of the reboot’s release in June. Reflecting on that creative turnaround, the writer-director told Cinema Blend that the original thinking was to render The Mummy as an outcast, “a character who is relatable, understandable.”
“I’ll let you in on a secret. There was a moment when I had sort of rendered a design that I liked for a male version of The Mummy. And in that version of The Mummy, the Mummy had been born with a skin pigmentation that at the time would have made him really sort of an outcast. And I thought it was an interesting backstory, because it began to tell the story of someone who had been bullied, which I found topical. I was reaching for a way to make the Mummy a character who is relatable, understandable, and that spoke to issues that we’re dealing with now.”
But the advent of Bryan Singer’s Days of Future Past, and in particular the post-credits scene featuring Apocalypse, put paid to Kurtzman’s initial idea – that is, that The Mummy would be resurrected as a male character.
“I was going down that road, and then I saw the end of Days of Future Past. And they had the character that Oscar Isaac wound up playing as a boy, and it was, I kid you not, the exact same design. And I was like, ‘Oh, man! That is not good!’ And actually it was the catalyst, it was the moment of, ‘Okay, not only is this not going to be different enough, Bryan Singer just did it, I definitely don’t want to go down that road.’ I had had that voice in my head for some time to make it a woman, and that was the moment where, the minute I saw that post-credits scene, I went, ‘We have to start over.'”
Universal’s Monsters Universe will begin in earnest with The Mummy – not Dracula Untold – which is due to be summoned into theatres on June 9, 2017.