There’s still a lot of questions swirling around the next steps in the legacy of the classic Universal Monsters. After The Mummy proved to be the company’s second failure in a row (after Dracula Untold) in getting its “Dark Universe” off the ground, plans for a Bride of Frankenstein and Invisible Man reboot seem to have been put on hold. Some of those plans are now returning to life, although the plans for the Dark Universe have been fundamentally altered—no longer a proper “shared cinematic universe” in the style of the MCU, it will now represent a series of stand-alone films but up-and-coming directors. Although honestly, everything is still so unclear at this point that we’re not sure if they’re even using the term “Dark Universe” anymore.
One piece of concrete news has emerged today, though: Elisabeth Moss of The Handmaid’s Tale will be starring in writer-director Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man. This will team Moss up again with producer Jason Blum, who also produced on Jason Peele’s Us. And judging from the money that film has made to date, plus the presence of Whannell as director, there might actually be reason to be optimistic about Invisible Man’s chances in reviving a bit of interest in this series.
The obvious question, though: Who is actually playing the titular Invisible Man? In the original framework of the Dark Universe as a series of interconnected adventure-horror films, announced via a splashy press photo of all its actors lounging together, this was supposed to be Johnny Depp. That ship, however, seems to have long since sailed—which probably means the same for the possibility of Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s Monster. Although Elisabeth Moss is certainly a good get for this film, you have to wonder if they’re wishing they could change the title to The Invisible Woman right about now. In the original 1933 film by director James Whale, the only notable female character is Gloria Stuart’s “Flora Cranley,” and suffice to say she’s mostly just there to be The Invisible Man’s love interest and anchor to the corporeal world.
Unfortunately, we probably won’t be getting answers to many of these questions in the immediate future, although a casting announcement on The Invisible Man himself would certainly be a nice way to build awareness that this film still exists. We’ll bring you more information on the next phase of what may or may not be the Universal Dark Universe when it comes to light.