What The Writing On The Mummy’s Body Actually Means

The Mummy

The following contains minor spoilers for The Mummy.

The Mummy is bringing a classic horror monster back to the big screen, but this version is very different from previous incarnations, and the change in look doesn't end with gender. If you look closely at the character in her (mostly) human form, you'll see that her body is covered in some sort of writing. As it turns out this isn't just gibberish but is actually specific language from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, a real ancient funerary text. Specifically, the text is an incantation asking the dead for help.

This makes perfect sense within the context of the film. Ahmanet, the Egyptian woman played by Sofia Boutella, is the next in line for the throne of Egypt when her father's new wife gives birth to a son, which makes him the next Pharoah instead. In anger, Ahmanet makes a deal with the god Set, so that she might take revenge on her family and take power. Upon making the deal, her body goes through a physical transformation that includes the words appearing on her body. From that point forward, Ahmanet has power over the dead, so it would appear that the language is what gives her that ability.

These details came from makeup artist Lizzie Yianni-Georgiou who was responsible for applying the makeup to Sofia Boutella. It shows an attention to detail that The Mummy doesn't even need to necessarily have. At no point in the film does the writing on The Mummy's body ever come up. It's not important to the plot, and yet, they made sure that what they put there made some sense within the context of the story. It's all the more impressive as Yianni-Georgiou tells The Hollywood Reporter that it took about three and half hours to apply the makeup every day. They certainly could have saved time by making the work less intricate but felt these details were important.

If this attention to detail continues on, it will be good news for the new Dark Universe that starts with The Mummy. All of Universal's classic monsters will be returning to the big screen as part of a large cinematic universe. In addition to the title character herself, The Mummy will also introduce Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll. From there, we are expecting Bride of Frankenstein to follow as well as films based on The Invisible Man and the Creature From the Black Lagoon. In addition to sharing cast between films, there's a good chance that much of the behind the scenes crew will continue to work on these films as well, as that will allow for a continuity of design.

We're looking forward to seeing what the Dark Universe has in store when The Mummy arrives in theaters tomorrow.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.