At a certain point, Universal might just have to wash its hands with the current iteration of its Dark Universe and try again sometime in the future. The franchise of movies meant to reboot the classic Universal monsters has hit stumbling block after stumbling block since the Tom Cruise-starring The Mummy flopped in theaters last July.
Since then, The Bride of Frankenstein was indefinitely delayed, producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan have left the universe to focus on other projects, and now another upcoming film is suffering setbacks. Ed Solomon, who was signed on to write an updated take of The Invisible Man starring Johnny Depp, has parted ways with Universal.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Solomon cites creative differences as the reason for his departure. “At the end of the day, I think Universal and I had a different idea of what the movie was gonna be,” he says. “We began thinking that our notions would meld, and I should’ve listened more closely to what they really were wanting.”
Solomon continues, “I think Universal has had to come to a kind of reckoning of, ‘What are we doing with the Dark Universe?’ and, ‘What is our real intention with it?’ and I think they’re reconfiguring it now, which I think is probably good.”
One interesting takeaway from what Solomon has to say is that Universal is “reconfiguring” the franchise. It wasn’t too long ago that The Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro revealed that turning down the opportunity to spearhead the Dark Universe was his biggest professional regret. Perhaps Universal would be willing to give him a second shot at the franchise.
Barring that, maybe it’s best if Universal takes a few years and then restarts the monster universe from scratch. There’s bound to be plenty of life left in the classic Universal monsters with the right creative force behind the wheel. Thus far, it seems like that force is missing.