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end of the universe

Universal is scrapping its planned shared universe of monster movies

Universal Pictures is abandoning its elaborate plans for an interconnected monster movie universe after just a single film.

An Invisible Man movie from Upgrade director Leigh Whannell and prolific horror producer Jason Blum is currently in the works at the studio, Variety reports. Universal had already announced a new Invisible Man movie years ago, but it was to star Johnny Depp and take place within a Marvel-style universe of monster films set to launch with 2017's The Mummy starring Tom Cruise. So confident Universal was in this idea that a promotional photo was even released in 2017 showing Depp alongside the stars of The Mummy and Javier Bardem, who would play Frankenstein's monster in a future film. This shared world was referred to as the "Dark Universe," a logo for which appears at the start of The Mummy.

But that's all being scrapped in light of The Mummy being a critical and financial failure, and Variety reports Depp isn't expected to star in this Invisible Man movie anymore. Universal has reportedly "tabled the idea of an interconnected universe" entirely and in hiring filmmakers for future monster movies is no longer insisting the stories take place in the same world. Universal's president of production himself told Variety that the studio is "excited to take a more individualized approach for [the monsters'] return to screen."

It also seems Universal is pivoting in terms of tone because while The Mummy was essentially modeled after a Marvel superhero film, Variety reports the future monster movies will be "rooted in horror." Perhaps if these upcoming films are successful, crossovers can still be possible, as was the case with classic movies like Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. But for now, the studio has evidently learned not to get too far ahead of itself.