Blumhouse's Wolf Man Producer Uses MCU And DC Movies To Explain Where Horror Remake Fits In Universal's Dark Universe

 The wolfman transforming inside operating viewing room in The Wolfman.
The wolfman transforming inside operating viewing room in The Wolfman.

Just about any rundown of upcoming horror movies is going to feature a few high-profile remakes in the bunch, such is the genre’s way. One of the more anticipated revamps (or re-wolfs, as it were) is Universal and Blumhouse’s The Wolf Man, with Invisible Man’s Leigh Whannel handling directing and co-writing duties. The latest remake debuted its first footage at CinemaCon 2024 to high praise, but without fully contextualizing the film’s place within the studio’s overall Dark Universe plans. Now, one producer has shed new light on how interconnected this franchise is meant to be.

Ken Kao, who is also serving as a producer on the 2024 horror Cuckoo and the upcoming novel adaptation of Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary, spoke with ScreenRant about whether or not Universal’s latest throwback to its Classic Monsters line-up fits under the overarching Dark Universe umbrella. And he brought up Marvel and DC movies to make his point more clear. Here’s how he put it when asked:

Well, I think you've probably got to set an interview with the powers that be at Uni to get a clear answer on that one. That's above my pay grade, truly. But as an outsider, I would say that the Mummy's Dark Universe, in my humble opinion, felt like it was reactive to what was going on with all the superhero stuff — the MCU and DC universe. And we know there's been a lot of talk about what happened with all that [in] the last year or so. I guess you could call it maybe more like the Joker approach.

Understandably, even if Ken Kao is one of the key producers on Wolf Man, the powers that be at Universal Pictures are wholly responsible for the project and how interconnected it should be with other films. So any opinions he shares about the film could technically be debunked or confirmed at will by studio execs, which means the above explanation should be taken with a grain of salt, and only while dancing with the devil under the pale (full) moonlight.

But if it does turn out to be legit, I think taking the outside-the-box Joker approach is probably the smartest route for the Dark Universe films at this point. The most recent two attempts to jump-start this monster-filled line-up were Joe Johnston's less-than-beloved 2010 effort The Wolfman and Alex Kurtzman's equally maligned The Mummy with Tom Cruise. Both were imbued with the goal of building up cinema's spookiest universe, but both failed to win over audiences as franchise tentpoles.

Indeed, the most successful Universal monster movie of late was Whannell's The Invisible Man in 2020, which brought a refreshing spin to the world of H.G. Wells' novel and its past adaptations, and without any abundantly obvious attempts to create a hyper-connected synergy with any other horror movies. In Ken Kao's mind, this is the right approach to take with Wolf Man. He continued:

In my opinion, especially if you're going to do it for contained pieces, like Blumhouse is really good at doing, [it] makes a lot more sense to me. So that's a good playbook.

For all that the MCU now features roughly 4 billion projects within its multiversal boundaries, Jon Favreau's groundbreaking Iron Man didn't weigh down 2008 audiences with endless hints at the massive universe yet to come. First and foremost, its purpose was to give audiences a fun time at the movies, and only after it and other standalone movies like Thor were successful did The Avengers and other connection-heavy projects get manifested into existence.

As it should have been from the start, the plan with Blumhouse and Universal's Dark Universe should always be to establish a foundation of interest and success with several projects before looping them all together and trying to call it a cinematic universe. And if, like Joker, the projects continue to live on their own without morphing into anything interconnected, so be it.

The point here, in the end: just make a good damned Wolf Man movie, Blumhouse and Universal! And if you want to make Bruce Wayne and Batman the main protagonist, do it!

The Wolf Man, which replaced Ryan Gosling with Christopher Abbott and co-stars Julia Garner and Sam Jaeger, is set to arrive in theaters on January 17, 2025. Head to our 2024 movie schedule to see what'll be hitting theaters and streaming before then.