Universal Moves Away From Dark Universe, Bets Big On Exorcist Trilogy

The idea of a shared cinematic universe has picked up steam in recent times, with many studios looking to tell multiple connected stories within one large, established world. For Universal Pictures, the Dark Universe was conceived as a series of past monster films that will be rebooted for a new generation of audiences, with the events set to take place in a shared universe.

It seems this plan is being put on hold, as Universe shifts its focus to building and expanding upon the story of 1973 horror classic The Exorcist. The studio has reportedly paid US$400 million for the rights to a new trilogy, which will see Oscar-nominated role of Chris MacNeil, alongside Leslie Odom Jr of the Hamilton fame playing a father who tracks her down when his daughter is possessed.

Instead of a reboot or remake series (contrary to early reports), however, the movies are described as “a compelling continuation” of the original big-screen title, with the first entry expected to hit cinemas in October 2023. Subsequent films, in contrast, may only be available on Universal’s US streaming service Peacock. David Gordon Green, who has worked on the new Halloween trilogy featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, has been tapped to direct the franchise.

Considering the popularity of The Exorcist, the plan to further explore its universe doesn’t really come as a surprise, especially in this age where the trend gravitates towards bringing old classics back for modern viewers. Yet, there’s still a chance for a flop: the previous sequels and prequels to the 1973 movie have failed to win over both the crowd and the critics, and 2017’s The Mummy, which was the first entry of the Dark Universe, certainly could do with a lot more work.

The Invisible Man subsequently made up for the poor showing when it released in 2020 as the second film in the Dark Universe line-up, racking up positive feedback and response from viewers and critics alike. This means there’s perhaps some glimmer of hope that everything might pan out according to plan, but hey, you’ll never know – guess we will just have to wait and see.