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Alex Kurtzman on THE MUMMY and a New Universal Monsters Continuity

Alex Kurtzman on THE MUMMY and a New Universal Monsters Continuity

Universal Studios began by making monster movies. The first film by the new studio, headed by Carl Laemmle, was The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1923 starring Lon Chaney. In the years that followed, everything from Dracula to Frankenstein to The Wolf-Man to The Creature from the Black Lagoon became part of Universal’s signature monster cadre. This weekend, the trailer for Alex Kurtzman‘s film The Mummy hit the internet and people have been wondering how/if it will fit into continuity–any of them–of the films that came before. Kurtzman told us, in a press event last week, that this movie is truly a rebirth.

The first thing the director, and the person tasked with shaping the proposed Universal Monsters shared universe, told us before we saw the trailer and a footage package is that none of what we were about to see from the Tom Cruise film would share a universe with the Brendan Fraser movies of the late-90s/early-00s. At all. 1999’s The Mummy does not factor in to this movie in the least, and in fact, Imhotep, the Mummy played by Boris Karloff in the 1932 original and Arnold Vosloo in the ’90s continuity, is not the titular monster. This time it’s an Ancient Egyptian princess named Ahmanet, played by Sofia Boutella.


So that’s fine for this Mummy movie, but they’re proposing a shared Universal Monster-verse. Do any of those movies factor in as well? Kurtzman made sure to say this is a brand new continuity across the board. 2014’s Dracula Untold — which was bandied as the first entry in the proposed saga — will also not be recognized. And, while he didn’t name it, the continuity also won’t include 2010’s The Wolfman, though there was much less assumption that it would. The Mummy takes place in contemporary times (obviously) and we have no reason to believe the whole cinematic universe won’t be based there predominantly.

The question then becomes, if a modern-set cinematic universe of monsters is to begin, how will it treat the books Dracula and Frankenstein — two huge pillars in the horror world. Kurtzman says they’ll probably be treating them “as if the books don’t exist. That doesn’t mean we don’t revere and love the books and [won’t] pay homage to them and respect the spirit of what those books are,” he continued, “but it would be too meta for Dracula to be referencing himself either in a movie or a book.”

Kurtzman assures us that, while Dr. Jekyll (played by Russell Crowe) appears in this movie, don’t expect too many other crossover monster characters. Van Helsing, for example, will not be in this movie, however they’re also working on a solo movie for Dracula’s nemesis, which will be independent from the Hugh Jackman movie and will take part in the cinematic universe. Kurtzman told us that writer Jon Spaihts — who wrote the first draft of The Mummy–is working on the script of a new Van Helsing movie with Arrival scribe Eric Heisserer.

So: The Mummy is truly the beginning of a brand new continuity, unrelated to and unfettered by anything that came before, other than a use of the characters. Check back on Nerdist throughout the week for more about the new Universal Monsters universe. And let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images: Universal

Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Twitter!

For more horror, check out my show, One Good Scare!

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