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From 1999-2008, Brendan Fraser starred in The Mummy Trilogy, Universal’s most successful attempt in the modern era to leverage its Universal Monsters characters. Brendan Fraser recently expressed his willingness to return to Universal’s The Mummy franchise if a continuation or reboot possessed that essential ingredient of fun. While that may be intriguing to fans of the campy Stephen Sommers adventure films, people forget there was almost a fourth Brendan Fraser Mummy movie already.
In a piece talking about the future of Universal’s Monsters, The Hollywood Reporter’s Richard Newby said of the fourthquel:
Universal opted not to go forward with a fourth film that would have seen the O'Connells face off against Aztec mummies in South America with Antonio Banderas playing the villain, and instead set its sights on a cinematic universe.
Given that it’s been over a decade since the last film in the Brendan Fraser-led Mummy franchise, it’s easy to forget that the fourth film almost happened after the third entry made $401.1 million worldwide. But it was a legitimate possibility and there was even an actor in mind for the role of the villain. The fourth Mummy movie would have taken the existing formula and plugged in some new ingredients for another campy, old school adventure.
The Mummy and The Mummy Returns were both set in Egypt before the franchise moved to China for the final film in the trilogy, 2008’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. It seems that the fourth film would have again changed locations again and found Brendan Fraser’s Rick O’Connell and Rachel Weisz/Maria Bello’s Evelyn O’Connell in South America.
There the mummy-fighting duo would have faced off with a mummy of the Aztec variety, as the quest for eternal life is a worldwide pursuit. It’s unclear if Antonio Banderas’s character would have played an undead ancient like Arnold Vosloo, Dwayne Johnson and Jet Li before him, but he would have been the villain in the fourth film and presumably a mummy brought back to life.
Based on the description The Mummy 4 wouldn’t have broken the mold, but it still sounds like it could have been a fun movie. Obviously, none of this happened though.
Rather than continue the existing, financially successful franchise with a fourth film, which was rumored online to be titled The Mummy 4: Rise of the Aztec, Universal decided to reboot the property in the hopes of starting a cinematic universe instead.
This was around the time that the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s success and impact on the industry was becoming abundantly clear so Universal’s decision to reboot The Mummy to pursue the de rigueur film franchise format of the day is understandable. That choice obviously didn’t work out though as Universal’s Dark Universe proved dead on arrival with the 2017 reboot of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise.
Now we’ve circled back around. And in a marketplace dominated by nostalgic properties, the prospect of a fourth Brendan Fraser Mummy movie is highly appealing, especially as we continue to wait for Indiana Jones 5. Universal has abandoned the Dark Universe and is instead moving forward with individual projects like Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man and Paul Feig’s Dark Army, so perhaps the time is right. But as Brendan Fraser said, it has to be fun.
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