From 1999-2008, Brendan Fraser starred in The Mummy Trilogy. These weren’t just Universal’s most successful attempts in the modern era to leverage its Universal Monsters characters, they were smash hits.
They were so big that there are still theme park rides based on them at various Universal parks across the world. Sequels starred The Rock and Jet Li. There was a spin-off movie. In short, they were quite a big deal!
After the Universal Dark Universe was stillborn and the entire show was sent back to the drawing board, Brendan Fraser recently expressed his willingness to return. He was very clear though, any new Universal Mummy movie needed a single essential ingredient. Fun!
While we try and figure out how the fun and a little camp, tone of the original Fraser movies may fit into any future Dark Universe relaunch it is easy to forget one thing.
There was already nearly a fourth Mummy movie in the Fraser-verse!
In a piece talking about the future of Universal’s Monsters, The Hollywood Reporter’s Richard Newby touched on it:
Universal opted not to go forward with a fourth film that would have seen the O’Connells face off against Aztec mummies in South America with Antonio Banderas playing the villain, and instead set its sights on a cinematic universe.
It’s easy to forget that over a decade ago the fourth film almost happened after the third entry made $401.1 million worldwide. That’s not a bad haul. On those numbers, the fourth movie was a legitimate possibility.
The fourth Mummy movie would have taken the existing formula and plugged in another new location for the usual campy, old school adventure, Indiana Jones-lite adventure.
Given the leaden-footed and maudlin Cruise movie that failed to launch in 2017, we can’t help but wonder what might have been?
The Mummy and The Mummy Returns were both set in Egypt before the franchise moved to China for the final film in the trilogy, 2008’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
In South America, the mummy-fighting duo would have faced off with a mummy of the Aztec variety. It’s unclear if Antonio Banderas’s character would have played an undead ancient or a human protagonist.
However in 2008, Iron Man happened and the MCU was in its infancy, about to push every other studio on a quest for that elusive cinematic universe.
Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man and Paul Feig’s Dark Army show a Universal Monster’s universe may have the occasional twitch in its corpse. Perhaps the time is right?