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We’re Still Getting an Invisible Man Movie, But Without a Shared Universe or Johnny Depp

Maybe I'll go check it out now.

Universal’s attempt at cashing in on the cinematic universe fad, the Dark Universe, is widely known as the cinematic universe that couldn’t. While Marvel, DC, and even Godzilla got their own cinematic universe (and managed to get beyond one film), Universal’s first attempt, The Mummy, was so reviled critically and commercially that it all but damned the universe before it fully began. Now, Blumhouse is starting to take over the abandoned films, but without the addition of a shared universe.

In an exclusive with Variety, it was revealed that Blumhouse will be producing Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man. Universal’s president of production Peter Cramer said, “Throughout cinematic history, Universal’s classic monsters have been reinvented through the prism of each new filmmaker who brought these characters to life. We are excited to take a more individualized approach for their return to screen, shepherded by creators who have stories they are passionate to tell with them.”

Variety writes that the idea of an interconnected universe has been tabled for now, and: “By not mandating a unified, connected universe of monster stories, the studio will be able to open up the characters to filmmakers who will be inspired to create their own unique stories. Insiders say Universal has met with a number of prominent directors for various properties, and The Invisible Man is one of those new films. But hiring Whannell does not necessarily mean this will be the next monster movie to go into production, as other pitches are also coming together revolving around different characters.”

One major change outside of the lack of a connected universe? The star originally attached to the project, Johnny Depp, is rumored to no longer be attached to the project. Variety reports that Depp, along with other Dark Universe talent such as Javier Bardem, Tom Cruise, and Russell Crowe will have the option of returning to pending filmmaker’s visions, but apparently Depp is out as the titular Man.

This might simply be due to a difference of vision or Depp not wanting to be attached to a potential flop such as The Mummy was, but it could also be a sign that filmmakers are no longer keen to work with Depp following Amber Heard’s allegations of domestic abuse and allegations of him striking a crew member on the set of one of his films. Depp’s last major blockbuster, The Crimes of Grindelwald, underperformed at the US box office, and he has recently been removed from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. His star might be setting at this point in time, which honestly is for the best.

I love the idea of more monster movies, especially ones from Blumhouse (though hopefully a woman will be brought on to direct one or two). Blumhouse has had success with their Conjuring cinematic universe, as the films have attracted talent and money without being too overly connected. This might be the best thing for Universal, and a way for them to rekindle their dying monster ‘verse. Hopefully, everything will be better than The Mummy, which shouldn’t be too hard.

(via Variety, image: Universal)

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Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.