Introducing Universal’s Dark Universe

Tom Cruise’s The Mummy is the first in an enormous, dark and murky universe

Tom Cruise’s latest isn’t just a movie, it’s the start of a new universe. A very dark one indeed.

Universal’s Dark Universe (which it announced the name for this week) is the studio’s attempt at having what Marvel has with all its superhero movies – an interlinking playground of iconic characters that can be manoeuvred around like chess pieces in a multimillion dollar playground of possibility.

And so it was that, along with the announcement of that name, the studio also released a fresh group shot of the actors who have now been cast in this universe. Left to right they are: Russell Crowe, who will debut in The Mummy as Dr. Henry Jekyll before getting his own spin-off; Javier Bardem, who will be Frankenstein’s monster in a new version of The Bride of Frankenstein, directed by Beauty and the Beast’s Bill Condon; Tom Cruise, who is The Mummy’s hero, Nick Morton; Johnny Depp, who will reboot The Invisible Man; and the Mummy herself, Sofia Boutella.

Yet to be cast are the leads for their planned remakes of Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Wolfman and Van Helsing. And those are just the movies that the studio has announced so far. Given it also has the rights to Dracula, The Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and many more – and that it is clearly investing in sheer star power – expect plenty more soon.

That, of course, is all on the understanding that this first movie – in which Cruise unearths the ancient evil in the modern day – performs well at the box office. It is, frankly, a massive pressure to be heaped on one single movie, but the early signs look genuinely strong. And, let’s face it, if anyone can pull it off, it’s Cruise.
The Mummy is in cinemas from Thursday June 8.

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