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Who's who in Universal's Dark Universe franchise


Universal's 'Dark Universe' franchise kicks off this June with the release of Tom Cruise's The Mummy.

Essentially a reboot of Universal's classic monster movies from the 1930s and 40s, the planned series gathers together several of Hollywood's biggest A-listers to play the most iconic boogeymen in cinema history.

The wider concept is to be developed by Mummy director Alex Kurtzmann and Fast & Furious writer Chris Morgan. Check out the photo below for a sneak peek.

You of course know the actors – but do you know who they're playing? Let us fill you in...

Tom Cruise/Sofia Boutella

The movie: The Mummy

One of Universal's most chilling and enduring legacies has already been reworked into the two Brendan Fraser action movies from 1999 and 2001.

This June Star Trek writer Alex Kurtzmann plans to take the Mummy saga back to its creepy, skin-crawling horror roots, albeit spiced up with plenty of spectacular action befitting its star, Cruise.

He plays adventurer Nick Morton whose unwitting discovery of an ancient Egyptian tomb leads to the resurrection of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella). A former princess whose bloodlust and desire for power led her to being entombed alive, she soon wreaks havoc on the 21st century world.

The real kicker is that she has chosen Nick to be a vessel for her evil, and as she gains in power Nick ends up increasingly consumed by dark forces. Given we've seen Cruise escape many dangerous scrapes before in the likes of Mission: Impossible, we wonder how he's going to wriggle out of this black magic conundrum.

And with Kingsman star Sofia Boutella bringing her action chops and dancing background to the role of the villainous Ahmanet, it might be wise to run and hide...

Russell Crowe

The movie: The Mummy

Another fixture of the new movie is the Oscar-winning Gladiator star. He plays classic horror character Dr. Henry Jekyll, created by author Robert Louis Stevenson, who has a slight problem in the form of his terrifying alter-ego, Mr Hyde...

Jekyll is introduced in The Mummy as a key member of Prodigium, a secret society dedicated to the study of monsters and ancient evil. It remains to be seen how much of a role Crowe's character will play in the new movie, but he's a key player in the saga that's about to unfold.

"How they’ve pulled all of this stuff forward into a contemporary world and how they’re building it out from there, and how all of the different character interweave into each other’s stories, it’s fantastic," Crowe raves to Collider.

Javier Bardem

The movie: Bride of Frankenstein

This Spanish superstar has already built a formidable reputation playing scary characters from the remorseless assassin Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men to Bond villain Raoul Silva in Skyfall.

So if anyone can put an engrossing, tortured spin on the timeless character of Frankenstein's monster, it's Bardem. We already get to see what he looks like rendered as a ghoulish, undead villain in this week's Pirates of the Caribbean movie, so we can't wait to see how he's rendered in Universal's movie.

It's going to be directed by Beauty and the Beast filmmaker Bill Condon and Bardem self-deprecatingly jokes about not requiring much prep to play the role.

"Yes, I am very interested," he tells Screen Rant, "and also, they know that I have the head size, so they are not going to waste a lot of money in makeup, which is good. That puts me on the top of the list."

Johnny Depp

The movie: The Invisible Man

The lustre may have left him in recent years but it's pleasing to note that Depp can still command such a famous character (originally created by author H.G. Wells).

Immortalised by Claude Rains in Universal's celebrated 1933 chiller, whose special effects dazzle to this day, The Invisible Man will be getting a no doubt quirky spin from the Pirates star.

Given the nature of the story we can't imagine that Depp's good looks will get that much of an airing. But given he's such a physical actor, as seen in Tim Burton classics Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, he's surely capable of investing life in the character.

What do you make of the planned 'Dark Universe' franchise? Let us know @Cineworld.