Just days before The Mummy hits theaters, Universal is expanding its recently named Dark Universe with two more films. In an interview with Fandom, director Alex Kurtzman revealed that the studio is working on new versions of The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame to add to its already crowded roster.
“We know we’re going to do Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Invisible Man,” he told the site.
The Phantom and the Hunchback aren’t even really monsters
1923’s The Phantom of the Opera and 1925’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame were two of Universal’s first monster movies, and they laid the groundwork for the studio’s later films. Pulling the two characters into the Dark Universe shows that it’s going back to its horror roots, even though modern audiences are more likely familiar with the two characters from theatrical musicals or Disney films. However, it’s worth noting that neither the Phantom nor the Hunchback are monsters in any traditional sense, just disfigured men. Universal will likely inject some supernatural elements into their stories so they make sense in a world filled with vampires and invisible men. Still, the idea that Quasimodo’s affliction makes him monstrous will almost surely garner criticism, depending on how the material is handled.
Still, this does show how bullish Universal is with its new Dark Universe experiment. The studio is launching its Marvel-esque cinematic universe this week with The Mummy, and Bride of Frankenstein, starring Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s Monster, is currently scheduled for release in February 2019. The upcoming films will all center around a mysterious organization called Prodigium, led by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe). While reviews have yet to even come in for The Mummy, Universal is clearly banking hard on its new franchise.