Universal Assembles “Writer’s Room” for Cinematic Monster Universe; WOLFMAN, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, and More Reboots Planned

     November 12, 2014


I’ve written before about how this new “interconnected universe” approach to franchise filmmaking is a bad idea.  Approaching the film medium like a television series scales back the individualized nature of each film in favor of a serialized, streamlined approach, but Marvel movies make a ton of money so this trend continues to catch on, and Universal is going one further by assembling a literal writer’s room for its Monster Movie Universe.

Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman (Transformers) and Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious franchise) are spearheading Universal’s reboot of its classic monsters, with The Mummy on tap to be the first film out of the gate in 2015 with Kurtzman directing.  But now the duo is getting some help in shaping the Monster Movie Universe, as they’ve assembled a brain trust of screenwriters that includes Prisoners scribe Aaron Guzikowski and Men in Black writer Ed Solomon to develop subsequent features.  Hit the jump for more, including which Universal monsters are getting the reboot treatment.

the-wolfman-posterPer Heat Vision, three writers have joined Kurtzman and Morgan to help shape the Cinematic Monster Universe: Noah Hawley (the creator of FX’s Fargo), Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners), and Ed Solomon (Now You See Me).  We learned about Hawley’s involvement a couple of months ago, but the hiring of Guzikowski and Solomon is a new development.  The idea is for the team to “have a hand in each other’s movies and offer help as needed as they work on a model of serialized storytelling.”  Essentially, Universal is approaching its interconnected Monster Movie Universe exactly like a television series, breaking the stories of each film as a group and then assigning specific scripts to certain writers.

Guzikowski will take point on a new The Wolfman picture, but Hawley and Solomon have yet to be assigned specific projects as the plan is still coming together.  Universal recently announced an April 2017 release date for an untitled monster picture, and seeing as how The Wolfman is the only specific project confirmed outside of The Mummy, it’s probably a safe bet that Wolfman will be the second film out of the gate.

The other planned movies in Universal’s interconnected universe, per Heat Vision, include Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Bride of Frankenstein, and Van Helsing.  Disappointingly, The Creature from the Black Lagoon is nowhere to be found.

I remain unconvinced that this serialized approach to franchise storytelling is a good idea.  Marvel Studios has undoubtedly turned out some good films from its cinematic universe plan, but they sacrifice individual identities in favor of a streamlined approach that makes the writer/producer (ie. showrunner) king and the director a bit of a hired hand—same as in television.  With Universal now hiring a group of writers to spearhead its monster universe, we can likely expect more of the same.  It’s probably futile at this point, but I still hold out hope that Guillermo del Toro gets to make his long-planned adaptation of Frankenstein under this umbrella given his relationship with Legendary—now housed at Universal.

So now that we know which movie reboots are on tap, which filmmakers would you like to see take them on (assuming they have some degree of creative freedom in this “cinematic universe” landscape, that is)?  Sound off in the comments below.


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