As Universal begins to roll out its plans for a mega-franchise based on its most famous horror properties, the company has decided that 2004’s Van Helsing needs to be revisited as a part of their gestating setting. But in spite of the clear influence from superhero settings like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Extended Universe, the film’s writer emphasizes that there’s going to be a key difference to set the movie apart – the protagonist is going to be an ordinary human.
Collider reported in an interview with screenwriter Eric Heisserer (Lights Out, Arrival) that his approach for the script is going to emphasize having a hero that relies on his natural talents and abilities instead of falling back on some kind of superpower.
“Well I guess the biggest thing that’s already been said is it’s contemporary, it’s a modern-day reimagining… I can talk about my emotional state of what I’ve been passionate about or sometimes frustrated by are the number of films where we find an extraordinary character with superhuman abilities that becomes a hero to solve a problem that a normal person cannot solve. And I was eager to try and buck that trend and showcase someone who had no extraordinary powers, just resourcefulness and will and kind of a stubbornness who’s able to tackle some of these bigger problems. Because I don’t like the idea that we’re infusing our public and our pop culture with the idea that only super people can solve the world’s problems. I like the idea of the everyday hero stepping up to the plate and getting things fixed.”
This approach isn’t all that surprising considering that 2004’s Van Helsing didn’t feature a superpowered protagonist and was much more of an action-adventure movie if anything, but it is a departure from Dracula Untold, which more or less felt like a dark fantasy, medieval version of a superhero origin story. In any case, it doesn’t sound like we should expect Dr. Abraham Van Helsing to turn into a werewolf in the final act of the movie.
The Mummy, which will be the first movie in the setting following the decanonization of Dracula Untold, will be released on June 9, 2017. The movie’s cast includes Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, and Russel Crowe. Two subsequent installments will be released on April 13, 2018 and February 15, 2019. Aside from Van Helsing, other projects that are in development include reboots of Creature From The Black Lagoon, The Bride Of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and Wolf Man.