Ah, the Dark Universe. It seems like just yesterday Universal Pictures was telling the public about its this franchise that would open the door for classic monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolf Man to live in a shared world akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe… and then that door was quickly shut when 2017’s The Mummy critically and commercially underwhelmed.
However, that doesn’t mean that Universal is letting its classic monsters just collect dust on the proverbial shelf. Deadline reports that a new project is in development called Dark Army, which will be written and directed by Bridesmaids’ Paul Feig and is based off an original idea he came up with. Feig will produce Dark Army with Laura Fischer through his Universal-based production company Feigco Productions.
No specific plot details for Dark Army were revealed other than it will feature a mixture of classic Universal Monsters and original characters that Paul Feig created. It was also mentioned that Dark Army is another example of a Universal Monster movie that’s tossing aside inter-connectivity among properties in favor of being driven by “filmmaker passion,” just like next year’s The Invisible Man, which is being directed by Upgrade’s Leigh Whannell, and stars Elisabeth Moss and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.
Universal was keen on joining the cinematic universe game, but when your first entry is met with negative reviews and only makes $410 million on a budget somewhere between $125-$195 million, it’s no wonder the studio scrapped the franchise, which would have included a Johnny Depp-led Invisible Man movie, Bride of Frankenstein and Creature from the Black Lagoon, to name a few.
Still, the Universal Monsters, many of whom already existed in classic literature, have been film fixtures for decades, so it’s also wise that Universal doesn’t abandon them completely. Dark Army sounds like it’s a good opportunity to bring these all these characters together and have them interact with some fresh faces without needing to worry about juggling so many movies. It brings to mind the 1987 cult classic The Monster Squad, which saw a group of kids confronting the Universal Monsters, who are led by Dracula.
Since Paul Feig is known for his comedy work, don’t be surprised if, like The Monster Squad, Dark Army also has some humorous elements. This also won’t be Feig’s first time working with spooky material, as he wrote and directed the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot. It’ll be interesting to see if Feig’s Dark Army can help reinvigorate the Universal Monsters brand following the failed attempts earlier this decade.