Universal Pictures has announced plans to reboot Van Helsing as part of their shared monster universe. Universal has also tapped Jon Spaihts (Prometheus) and Eric Heisserer (The Thing) to write the film, according to Variety.
The film will follow the titular character who first appeared in the classic novel, Dracula. The character is known for dedicating his life to hunting the undead prince. The character last appeared in 2004’s Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman (X-Men: Apocalypse) playing the title role as a monster hunter who clashes with many of the Universal monsters including Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolfman.
Spaihts is also tapped to write Universal’s reboot of The Mummy franchise that will kick-off the cinematic universe followed by the upcoming Van Helsing film. Universal has made a number of attempts at rebooting their monster franchises over the years with varying success. Their 1999 reboot of The Mummy spawned two sequels as well as a spin-off in The Scorpion King. Less successful was a 2010 version of The Wolfman and last year’s Dracula Untold, which was supposed to be the first in a shared-monster universe. It looks as though that film will be ignored for this version of the monster world. It’s also unclear whether Universal will set the franchise in the victorian era as films like this year’s Crimson Peak have failed to find success at the box office.
This news comes two weeks before the release of Victor Frankenstein from Twentieth Century Fox. Lionsgate also took their turn at Mary Shelly’s creation with I, Frankenstein. Many of these classic monsters are open for adaptation as they are old enough to fall under fair use laws. The monsters made famous by Universal in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s include Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, The Mummy, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera, The Wolfman, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, and The Creature From the Black Lagoon. Universal hasn’t announced any further plans for their other monsters.
Along with the Universal monster universe, Spaihts also worked on the script for Marvel’s Dr. Strange which is currently shooting. He is not working on Ridley Scott’s Prometheus sequel, Alien: Paradise Lost. Heisserer will likely use his work on scripts for The Thing and Nightmare on Elm Street remakes to bring a horror sensibility to the film.
We’ll be sure to have more on Van Helsing, The Mummy and other films in Universal’s monster universe as it develops.