Before Marvel Comics brought their characters to the screen or Star Wars made spinoffs, the first "cinematic universe" was made up of Universal monster movies. Recently, Universal had the idea to bring these classic characters back with something it called the Dark Universe. However, the plan has hit numerous setbacks over the last year since The Mummy was released in theaters, making us question whether or not it would ever actually become a universe at all. The last thing that we heard was that the Dark Universe was potentially being "reconfigured" but it seems that perhaps the franchise sees some light at the end of the tunnel. Artist Robert Vargas recently posted to Instagram that he met with the Dark Universe team at Universal and it appears he'll be contributing in some fashion, which means things there are apparently moving forward. According to Vargas...
Great meeting this morning with the amazing Dark Universe team. Thank you Universal Exec, Holly Goline and Crash for the hospitality. Looking forward to contributing to the Universal Pictures legacy with my work. Monster things in the works ;) Stay tuned!
The Dark Universe got off on a bad foot with only $80 million in domestic box office receipts last summer for Tom Cruise's The _Mummy. However, the international box office came to the rescue and the movie finished with over $400 million in total. Still, it was less than clear where the Dark Universe was going after that, especially after it lost Alex Kurtzman who was handling the direction of the entire franchise. More recently, Ed Solomon, who was set to write The Invisible Man for Johnny Depp departed that project. The Bride of Frankenstein_ was originally set for release in February of next year, but it has since been pulled from Universal's schedule entirely.
Robert Vargas doesn't state exactly what role he would be taking within the Dark Universe. As an artist, the obvious answer is that Universal is interested in having him design the look of the Dark Universe in some way, perhaps he'll be working on character design for The Creature From The Black Lagoon or the Bride of Frankenstein. Traditionally, Vargas is a mural artist, so perhaps he'll be creating some murals as part of the promotion of future Dark Universe movies.
So, while it's unclear exactly what is next for the Dark Universe, what does seem clear is that something is next. Whatever Universal has been doing behind the scenes, the studio is now ready to publicly acknowledge about the Dark Universe again, otherwise, we wouldn't have seen a public Instagram post like this.
It will be interesting to see where things go from here. Will the Dark Universe pick up where it left off or have things changed significantly? We'll have to wait and see.