The studio is planning on rebooting Van Helsing as a horror/thriller with Julius Avery (Overlord) as the director and James Wan (The Conjuring, Insidious) will produce through his Atomic Monster banner.
What makes the Universal’s decision to name Julius Avery director of the project and James Wan as producer is it keeps in line with the studio’s transition away from their original Dark Universe decision. Three years ago Universal Pictures tried to jump start their monsters-version of the MCU. The plan was to create a universe where Universal’s monster classics all existed together with The Mummy jump starting the franchise. Unfortunately, the film under performed at the box office with critics and fans alike unhappy with the reboot. In the wake of this the studio scrapped the project and instead focused on standalone films with The Invisible Man performing incredibly well, raking in $130 million globally. The studio has even said they’re open to the idea of R-rated films, something they haven’t done often in the past but something both Julius Avery and James Wan are well-known for.
Universal Pictures is keeping details of the script for Van Helsing under wraps and it’ll be interesting to see what changes Avery makes to the script. Eric Pearson, who wrote the script for Black Widow and did some work on Thor: Ragnarok, originally had a script ready for Universal Pictures. However, it looks like Avery will be rewriting the script and it is not known whether or not he will be keeping some of Pearson’s work or none of it at all.
The last time Universal Pictures released Van Helsing was back in 2004 with Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale as the main cast. The film didn’t perform well at the box office but Universal apparently always wanted to bring the film back and launch a franchise around it. Now, it seems they may get their chance.