Even though Universal’s plans for a shared cinematic universe crashed and burned with 2017’s The Mummy, the studio is still very interested in leveraging their stable of classic monster characters. To that end they have hired Upgrade director Leigh Whannell to head up a new take on The Invisible Man.
According to Variety –
[T]he movie is part of a fresh strategy for Universal’s monsters properties, bringing creative directors with distinctive visions to the classic characters and moving on from the interconnected Dark Universe concept…
[T]he titles will be rooted in horror, with no restrictions on budget, tone, or rating, and no expectation that they will exist as part of a shared universe. An insider close to the process said freeing up the characters’ origins and stories to different interpretations will help them appeal to modern audiences.
As such, Johnny Depp, who was attached to the Dark Universe iteration of The Invisible Man back in February 2016 is not involved here. Neither will this film be a part of any shared franchise. It will stand on its own.
Joining Whannell on the project will be his long-time producing partner Jason Blum, who, through his Blumhouse pictures production company, has a ten-year first look deal with Universal. The pair previously worked together on Insidious: The Last Key.
No writer has been attached to the project yet.
Universal first adapted H G Wells’ classic science-fiction novel in 1933 with James Whale, the shaper of many of Universal’s classic monster characters, directing. The initial movie was hit and spawned a cycle of sequels that lasted another four films.
In the wake of Marvel Studios hugely successful interconnected superhero franchise, Universal looked towards doing a similar thing with their classic monsters characters. Writers and directors were brought in and soon a number of projects including Bride Of Frankenstein with director Bill Condon attached, The Wolf Man with writer Aaron Guzikowski scripting and Creature From The Black Lagoon with Gangster Squad screenwriter by Will Beall. The Phantom Of The Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame were also in line to join the Dark Universe franchise.
But that all came to a screeching halt in June 2017 with the release of The Mummy. Even with a marquee value name like Tom Cruise headlining the film, reviews were bad and audiences stayed away.