– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Yesterday, Universal Pictures unleashed the first full-fledged trailer for The Mummy. This morning the trailer, as well as reactions to it, are making the rounds all over the world. Now that we’ve all gotten our first look at what Universal has in store for us, the topic of this new Cinematic Universe they’re trying to build is a hot one. 

As you likely know, Cinematic Universes comprised of shared worlds where various films come out and are part of the same overall mythology are all the rage. The Mummy will be part of a Universe that includes Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, and more from the classic roster of monsters from Universal’s first big heyday.

They announced these plans back in 2014, the same year when a film called Dracula Untold came out. At the time, things were kind of fuzzy with regard to whether or not that film would serve as the launch of this proposed shared world. The film was already pretty much done, and in the can, when the murmurs of Universal’s ambitious plans first came to light. So how would it work to set up a Cinematic Universe if it wasn’t originally intended to do so?

Turns out, it’s not going to factor in at all.

While there’s a high likelihood that we would’ve seen the Luke Evans version of Dracula pop up in one of these upcoming films if Untold had been a runaway hit…it wasn’t. The film was a misfire that was ravaged by fans and critics, while only doing so-so at the box office. Alex Kurtzman, who’s helping oversee Universal’s monster franchise, won’t confirm whether or not the failure of Dracula Untold factored into this decision, but he did reveal definitively that the film will not be canon in a new chat with Collider.

When asked about it, point blank, Kurtzman said “No,” with regard to Dracula Untold being part of Universal’s Monster Universe. He then went on to talk about the concept itself.

“The thing people forget is that the Universal Monsters were the first mash-up; they were the first universe built. It started with, I think, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and that was the first time that they put them together and then from there they started cross-pollinating all the monsters. But that was only because Frankenstein had succeeded so many times as a film, and had spawned its own sequels, and Wolf Man had done the same, that Universal was at a point where they said, ‘God, we don’t know what to do with these characters anymore. Why don’t we put them together?’ and then new stories emerged.”

The conversation then took a turn that I find to be quite interesting. I wasn’t aware of the fact that Russell Crowe’s character is actually Dr. Jekyll. That can be a fascinating little wrinkle here, and another casting coup, when you consider that they already landed Tom freakin’ Cruise to be in a Mummy movie. 

Here’s what was said about Crowe’s Jekyll:

“In looking to figure out how to place The Mummy in a larger context and setting up this organization that has actually been dealing with monsters for longer than any of us have been around, it became clear that we needed somebody to be the voice of that organization. The next thought was like, ‘Well, it could be Joe Mcgillicuddy, or we could actually go into another character that makes sense organically.’ It was a real point of conversation with Tom [Cruise]. And part of what Tom’s character, Nick, learns about the mummy and about the history of the mummy comes through Jekyll’s very deep understanding of monsters and how monsters have existing quietly in this world for eons.”

Color me intrigued!

I was a little on the fence about last night’s trailer, because it came off as more of an action-thriller than as a classic horror movie, but I’m willing to give The Mummy and Universal’s Monster Universe a chance when the movie- officially the first in the new canon- comes out on June 9, 2017.

SOURCE: Comic Book Movie

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.