A few years ago it was announced that Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci, the screenwriting team behind the first two "Transformers" movies and the J.J. Abrams-directed "Star Trek" movies (they wrote for many years on "Alias"), would be coming to Universal to tackle reboots of both "The Mummy" and "Van Helsing," profitable properties that had originated as remakes by Stephen Sommers.
Since then, there hasn't been much movement.
While Tom Cruise was originally announced to play the monster hunting lead in "Van Helsing" and Len Wiseman was going to, for a time at least, direct "The Mummy," neither seems certain, with Wiseman officially leaving the project earlier this year. Still, while doing press for his upcoming "Ender's Game" movie (with IGN), Orci said that a plan was still very much in place, one that could link the classic Universal Monsters in a shared, Marvel-style universe.
"There's an interesting thing that could happen at Universal where they have this amazing library of their old monsters and these kinds of heroes, and the idea of trying to create a universe," Orci, who recently came under fire for belittling "Star Trek" fans on a message board, explained, when asked about "Van Helsing." "'We're also producing 'The Mummy' for them. We're kind of imagining updating these kinds of things. You don't want to just make remakes when you're doing a thing, unless it's worthy of being a remake, but when you have an idea for something that can actually be made different and yet be true to what it was. We just had a notion of how to make it modern and have a slightly different tone. It's not going to be just a remake."
The public has always had a kind of cyclical fascination with the Universal Monsters, where every decade or so there will be a spike in interest, which will then fade and remain fallow for a while. In the early '90s there was a period where they were everywhere -- there were new toys and they were in theme parks and beer commercials. Then things settled, until the Brendan Fraser "Mummy" made them cool again. Had "Van Helsing" (and, to a lesser extent, the somewhat underrated Benicio del Toro "Wolf Man" movie) been more of a success, then this plan for a kind of shared Universal Monster universe would probably already be taking place. What's disappointing is that most of these monsters will be modern day incarnations. Sad trombone.
When asked what monster he'd love to get his hands on, Orci said, "I love Frankenstein just cause it's such a twisted, complicated monster. A monster that's not really a monster." Then he compared it to "Ender's Game" and I stopped listening.