Recently I had the chance to sit down and finally watch the first (and possibly only) entry in Universal’s Dark Universe series The Mummy starring Tom Cruise.
I didn’t care for the film.
That said, coupling the fact that I just watched The Mummy and the recent news that Guillermo del Tor said he was offered the Dark Universe by Universal – but turned it down – got me thinking. What would the Dark Universe have looked like had Del Toro taken up the reins?
In this article, I will do my best to try and piece together what Del Toro’s Dark Universe may have looked like by diving into his filmography, deciphering his most beloved collaborators, and suggesting where all the elements may have fit.
So let’s get to it.
Del Toro’s The Creature from the Black Lagoon
First, let’s start by saying that Del Toro’s first film within the Dark Universe would have been The Creature from the Black Lagoon. I say this is obvious because The Shape of Water is, basically, The Creature from the Black Lagoon by way of Del Toro’s twisted imagination.
Now I have not yet seen The Shape of Water so I can’t comment on it specifically, but I have heard it is a modern masterpiece. So I guess Del Toro’s Dark Universe would have kicked off with a Best Picture contender. Not, you know, Mission Impossible: The Mummy.
But where would Del Toro’s Dark Universe have gone from there?
Let’s take a look at the possibilities of his versions of The Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolfman, and The Invisible Man.
Del Toro’s The Mummy
How about an Aztec Mummy? Did the Aztec’s have mummies? Not really, but let’s say that we play with history a bit and say they did. Really a mummy could just be resurrected Aztec royalty, correct? Yeah, let’s just go with that.
Or maybe the film could be about a mummy that guards the gates of El Dorado? That could link it up with the above-mentioned Creature from the Black Lagoon film as the lost city is said to have been somewhere near the Amazon River.
Now imagine a version of The Mummy that played out like a hard-R version of, well Mel Gibson’s hard-R flick Apocolypto. Sounds f*cking badass, right? And who better to direct this new version than Gibson himself?
Meh. Let’s say Del Toro would rather skate past any controversies and instead hired another director. How about J.A. Bayona? After all, the filmmaker did direct The Orphanage (which Del Toro executive produced) and the man can handle big-budget spectacles as we’ll (hopefully) see once Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom hits this June.
Del Toro’s Dracula
Being that Dracula is the biggest baddie in the Dark Universe, I think Del Toro would have directed this film himself. But if he didn’t, I’d say he’d go with Andres Muschietti. After all, Muschietti and Jessica Chastain already worked together on Mama.
Jessica Chastain as Dracula? Yessir. That, or, you know, maybe Chastain is really playing one of The Brides of Dracula that revolted, or hell even Mina Harker. Better yet, if Chastain keeps her natural red hair, maybe she could be an alt-history version of Lucy.
Anyhow, Tom Cruise’s The Mummy had a female Mummy, but I think Del Toro would have made Dracula a female. Much more interesting than another old man Dracula.
Speaking of females…
Del Toro’s Bride of Frankenstein
I only say he’d keep Angelina Jolie as the bride because she would be f*cking perfect. That said, as perfect as Jolie would be a The Bride of Frankenstein, I think I have someone better.
How about Emily Blunt? Sure maybe she’s not as great a choice as Angelina but just wait. It will all make sense in a few more entries…
Anyhow, I think that as much as Del Toro praised the horror-romance flick Spring, he would try to capture some of that horror/romance glory by hiring that film’s directing duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead to take the head on this film.
On top of all that, I’d say this film takes place before Frankenstein. This is what the Dark Universe was going to do anyhow, but for the sake of fun, I’ll explain why I think this route works best in the next entry.
Del Toro’s Frankenstein
Again I think it would be wise for Del Toro to have kept with Dark Universe’s casting of Javier Bardem as Frankenstein. And if not Bardem then Michael Shannon.
As I mentioned above, this film should come after Bride of Frankenstein. This is because Bardem should (gasp!) actually play Dr. Frankenstein, and not just the monster. Yes, in this new Dark Universe, Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s monster are one in the same. Mind. Blown.
But we’ve already seen so many Frankenstein stand-alone films, so I’m thinking Del Toro would have done something much more epic. Such as…
Del Toro’s The Wolfman vs Frankenstein
I like to think Del Toro would have kept Benicio del Toro as The Wolfman. And director Joe Johnston as well. The Wolfman reboot wasn’t bad. And I think Del Toro would know this and keep it canon.
That said, I don’t know if he would want to retread the same ground again, so let’s say he found a way to keep things alive by pitting Javier Bardem’s Frankenstein Vs Benicio Del Toro’s The Wolfman. The series’ first crossover. It would be badass.
Especially if – as mentioned above – Emily Blunt played The Bride of Frankenstein. That’d get the two fighting…
Del Toro’s The Invisible Man
This is the entry that I got the most excited about once I cracked it. It was the hardest of the films to figure out, but once I remembered that Idris Elba had a starring role in Del Toro’s Pacific Rim, all the pieces fell into place. Just add in director Guillem Morales who helmed the stellar fright flick Julia’s Eyes, which Del Toro produced, and The Invisible Man could be the best of the entire series.
But how does he fit into the bigger picture? Well, I heard once upon a time that Dracula’s biggest issue was he couldn’t see his own reflection. He didn’t know himself. Get it? All analogies aside, this could be the tether that binds our new Dracula, played by Jessica Chastain, to our new Invisible Man. Del Toro loves romances and what better to bring the two together than a mutual feeling of being forgotten by the rest of the world. Makes sense to me.
Now I know what you’re thinking: Where is Del Toro’s main go-to Ron Perlman in all of this? Well, just like Del Toro would have done, I’ve been saving the best for last. Yes, I believe Del Toro would have saved Perlman for quite possibly the most badass role in his Dark Universe…
Del Toro’s Van Helsing
Ron Perlman kicks all of the monsters asses all across Del Toro’s Dark Universe. ‘Nuff said.
And there you have it, those are the rundowns on the planned Dark Universe films and what I think they may have looked like under the guidance of Guillermo del Toro.
What do you think? Let us know below!