invisible man writer

Universal’s ambitious Dark Universe was supposed to be a star-studded action franchise on par with Marvel’s MCU. But instead, it seems like it’s dead on arrival.

The most recent blow to the slowly lumbering franchise comes from the writer of the planned The Invisible Man film starring Johnny Depp. Ed Solomon (Men in BlackNow You See Me), who had been attached to the project for nearly two years, has officially parted ways with the movie.

Solomon, who was first announced as the writer for The Invisible Man in 2016, revealed to Digital Spy that he is no longer working on the project.

“At the end of the day, I think Universal and I had a different idea of what the movie was gonna be. We began thinking that our notions would meld, and I should’ve listened more closely to what they really were wanting. I think Universal has had to come to a kind of reckoning of, ‘What are we doing with the Dark Universe?’ and, ‘What is our real intention with it?’, and I think they’re reconfiguring it now, which I think is probably good.

So I’m not working on it.”

This news comes on the heels of lead Dark Universe producers Alex Kurtzman (director of The Mummy) and Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious) exiting the franchise, leaving the universe without anyone at its head. But, let’s be honest, the franchise seemed like it was doomed from the start. First, there was Universal’s over-eagerness to establish a cinematic universe without any investment in a good story. Instead, the studio banked on audience familiarity with its classic movie monsters and the box office draw of its stars: Tom Cruise as Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe as Jekyll/Hyde, Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man, Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s monster, and Sofia Boutella as the Mummy. What followed was the critical and commercial bombing of The Mummy, a limp, lifeless excuse for a blockbuster that wasted the talents of its stars and only grossed $80 million domestically on of a reported $125 million budget.

It’s the second time Universal has put the cart before the horse with a planned cinematic universe — 2014’s Dracula Untold starring Luke Evans was initially supposed to be the launching pad for the Dark Universe. Its poor box office gross was disappointing enough for the studio to pull the movie out of the cinematic universe altogether — something that Universal can’t do this time with The Mummy, which unwisely set up future sequels with Crowe’s Jekyll/Hyde.

So, the Dark Universe stumbles on, even as all signs point toward its doom, like with Solomon’s departure and the frequent delays of its planned second film, Bride of Frankensteindirected by Beauty and The Beast‘s Bill Condon. Universal is also planning new versions of The Wolfman and The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but for now, the fate of the Dark Universe remains uncertain.

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