Among the characters of Universal Studios classic monster franchises from the 1930s and 40s, there are not a lot of heroes. There are plenty of mad scientists and people who find themselves in horrific situations, desperate to escape, but there really aren’t too many who charge into the danger to rescue others. One of the few would be —- Van Helsing, who, as personified by character actor Edward Van Sloan, squared off against the king of vampires himself, Dracula, in director Tod Browning’s 1931 classic film. This first of all the literary and cinematic vampire hunters that followed will be headlining his own film in Universal’s upcoming interconnected Monsters franchise. Not much is known about the project, and when CinemaBlend caught up with screenwriter Eric Heisserer, he kept the veil of secrecy fairly intact. And while he did confirm that the Van Helsing that he wrote is part of Universal’s nascent franchise, he indicated that that had the potential to change.
It is right now. This is early in the process, and it’s evolutionary. I don’t know if that’s going to stay that way. But right now there is an absolute… there’s some cartilage that links it to other pieces, like The Mummy.
So is this an indication that the studio is hedging their bets? It’s possible. Dracula Untold in 2014 was supposed to be the film that kicked off Universal’s Monsters franchise, but that was retracted fairly quickly after the film tanked at the box office. The studio could be looking at a way to still utilize the scripts that they’ve developed if it looks as if ticket-buyers aren’t interested in a series of connected films. But then again, with Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp and Russell Crowe set to appear across the first two films, it seems unlikely that that will be the case.
Universal’s Monsters series kicks off with The Mummy on June 9, 2017. Installments featuring the Invisible Man, the Wolf Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Bride of Frankenstein and more are in the works for the next couple of years.