Source: The Invisible Man via Facebook.
When Universal announced their plans to create a Dark Universe, a cinematic world populated by the ghoulish stars of a series of monster movie reboots, it appeared that the classic horror genre would be getting its own version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Many fans were excited by the prospect of legendary horror characters existing in the same world and popping up in each other’s movies, with that excitement enhanced by the suggestions of a sterling cast brought on board.
Alas, those plans for the Dark Universe have been shelved after The Mummy disappointed at box offices, with the 2017 movie devised to provide the starting point for the shared universe’s narrative. This is despite boasting a cast featuring actors in Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe, with both stars normally commanding a devout box office following.
While their intention to develop a universe of interconnected monsters has been put on the backburner, Universal have reasserted their desire to press ahead with reimagining classic horror characters in modern film productions. The Invisible Man is set to go ahead as a standalone film, with Variety reporting that Leigh Whannell is at the helm as director. Whannell’s work in co-creating Saw and Insidious makes him a strong choice to create a chilling interpretation of the classic character.
Depp dropped from the role
Johnny Depp was originally slated to take on the leading role, but The Invisible Man will go ahead with a new actor as the mysterious monster. Universal has not ruled out Depp having future involvement with the character, while there is uncertainty over the future of the other Dark Universe actors. Javier Bardem was signed on to play Frankenstein’s Monster in the Bride of Frankenstein, a movie that was previously linked to a 2019 release date but has subsequently stalled.
The Mummy was largely expected to receive a sequel, but there is no doubt over the future of its characters. In particular, Crowe’s role as Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde was originally intended to tie together the Dark Universe movies in a fashion akin to Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the dissipation of the Dark Universe understandably changes the plans for Crowe’s character.
Source: The Mummy via Facebook.
A long history of the Invisible Man
Beyond Whannell’s position at the wheel, little is currently known about the Invisible Man’s upcoming movie. The Invisible Man has enjoyed a long and rich history across a variety of forms. The mysterious figure first appeared in HG Wells’ 1897 novel as the titular character, with the violence detailed in the book setting the Invisible Man down a path that made him one of the staples of the horror genre. Film adaptations of novels may seem like a more recent phenomenon, but this is not the case; in 1933, Claude Rains was cast as Dr. Jack Griffin/the Invisible Man in a faithful retelling of the book.
Seven years later, horror icon Vincent Price took on the now-famous role in The Invisible Man Returns. A more comedic approach was inevitable when Abbott and Costello met The Invisible Man in a 1951 movie, although that comedy was tinged with darkness. Interestingly, that Abbott and Costello outing was part of a series in which they ‘met’ other renowned horror characters, including Frankenstein’s Monster and the Mummy. Perhaps this work by the legendary comedy duo went some way to inspire Universal’s Dark Universe.
Since that string of movies released across a couple of decades, the Invisible Man has largely remained characteristically elusive in popular culture. A 1984 BBC six-part serial is the most notable of the television interpretations of the character, but the mythos of the Invisible Man has since largely gone untouched in this century.
The most noteworthy use of the Invisible Man in 21st century culture is in the slot game named after the classic character, developed by renowned online slot developer NetEntertainment. The Invisible Man slot can be accessed in places like 888casino, one of the most highly recommended online casinos by Oddschecker as a result of the sign-up offer, with its availability at leading casinos perhaps surprising considering that slots usually focus on more recent trends and movies.
The slot deploys images inspired by those films in the mid-20th century, with the Invisible Man providing an unusually eerie backdrop to an endeavor that is usually more lighthearted. There is no doubt that when the Invisible Man movie hits cinema screens, the character will return to the level of fame that it commanded in the first half of the 20th century. With that, a succession of online games and spin-offs will be surely be inspired to explore the Invisible Man’s back story.
What lies ahead for Universal’s monsters?
The changes in planning regarding the Dark Universe inevitably invites questions over whether these mooted horror flicks will ever come to fruition, but Universal has remained staunch in its commitment to delivering high-quality monster movies. That commitment entails the financial support needed to realize these monster movies on the big screen with high production values. When most people think of their favorite horror pictures, they normally lean towards those made several decades ago when production options were more restricted. With that restriction came the necessity to innovate around the core narrative thrust, as opposed to blinding viewers with technical bells and whistles.
Movie fans will be hoping that Universal remain true to the largely minimalistic features of classic horror films while incorporating just enough studio wizardry that enhances the picture without compromising the suspense. Seeing A-listers in unabashed horror pictures is almost a rarity in the 21st century, so Universal’s original plan for the Dark Universe was a tantalizing prospect.
That interconnected universe may come to the pass in the upcoming years ahead, although that will hopefully be part of a grand vision rather than a clumsy retrofit. For now, horror fans will be keenly awaiting updates of The Invisible Man to find out who they’ll be seeing (or not seeing) in the titular role.