In the divorce between writing partners Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, it seems that while Orci will keep Star Trek, Kurtzman will continue to be a part of the Universal Studios Monsters franchise by doubling down on The Mummy, now not just as its co-screenwriter, but as its director. In what will be his directorial follow-up to the 2012 disappointment People Like Us, Kurtzman takes it on himself to not just relaunch Universal’s Mummy franchise, but to start the ball rolling in realizing a shared universe for Universal’s Monster line-up which includes Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolfman.
Confirmed by THR, Kurtzman is set to direct The Mummy from a script he wrote with Chris Morgan (every Fast and Furious movie since Tokyo Drift). The Mummy is the linchpin for Universal’s plans to develop a series of films based on their famous monster movies made in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, hits like Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff, or The Wolfman starring Lon Chaney Jr. The studio’s intent is to create “action-adventure tentpole with horror elements,” says the trade paper, which will then lead up to an Avengers style team-up of all the monsters in a new version of Van Helsing.
Now Kurtzman is a busy guy. In fact he’s already been attached to a franchise player in the form of Venom, one of Sony Pictures planned spin-offs of The Amazing Spider-Man and part of a planned shared universe of films based on Spider-Man characters. Are we to understand now that Kurtzman may be moving on from that project? A recent interview on Collider offered some potential insight:
Q:Where are you at with The Amazing Spider-Man 3, in terms of timing?
A: It’s still in conversation. Everybody is still figuring it out.
So, it’s too soon to say when we’ll see it?
It’s all up for grabs, right now. We’re just trying to figure it out.
And where will Venom fit in?
Venom will come after Sinister Six, I think is the plan.
And you’ll direct that?
That was almost two weeks ago, but rumblings about Sony re-considering their Spider-strategy have been persistent since the May 2 release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The best thinking of our finest nerds has been that a third Amazing Spider-Man would be then followed by the Sinister Six film, which would then be followed by Venom. We may be talking about 2020 by the time it’s all said and done, so there will be plenty of time for Kurtzman to fire off The Mummy and maybe a sequel in the meantime. Of course, Drew Goddard vacated showrunning duties on the currently shooting Daredevil Netflix series so he could focus on directing Sinister Six, so that might suggest that Sony is more anxious for their Spiderverse ti begin. That might mean Kurtzman may have to pick and choose his franchise, or that Spiderverse plans are done like Mary Jane’s disco boots.
I know nerds out there are looking at Kurtzman’s situation like a Sophie’s Choice of crappy studio-pushed franchises, but I will point out that Kurtzman is the co-creator of Sleepy Hollow, a demented mash-up of a horror/procedural/dramedy that should not have worked in the slightest, but is easily one of the most enjoyable series on TV when measured for pure fun. Now maybe that’s to the credit of the team behind the production, or maybe that’s due to Kurtzman’s insight into what appeals about the genre. If the latter is true than The Mummy might be something enjoyable, if not though then Stephen Sommers‘ Mummy might look like Shakespeare by comparison. Time will tell.
The Mummy is currently scheduled for a May 22 release date on what’s shaping up to be a very busy Summer of 2016.