The Dark Universe’s Bride of Frankenstein Would’ve Been a Time-Hopping, Gothic Horror Film

Elsa Lanchester as the Bride of Frankenstein in 1935's Bride of Frankenstein.

Image: Universal Pictures

Universal’s Dark Universe died before it could even get off the ground, one of multiple attempts at building a cinematic universe after Marvel’s made it look so cool in the present day. But audiences very much said “yeah, no” to its debut film, the Tom Cruise-led The Mummy, back in 2017. Among the various plans there were for the Dark Universe was a remake of Bride of Frankenstein starring Angelina Jolie as the titular bride and Javier Bardem as her husband, with a planned release for Valentines Day 2019.


Similar to other Universal Monsters like Invisible Man and The Wolfman, the Bride’s film is reportedly now being rewritten to stand on its own with nary a whiff of a cinematic universe in sight. In the meantime, screenwriter David Koepp (Kimi, You Should Have Left) opened up about the “dramatic history” of the attempted remake to Collider. He described it as a “great big movie,” with Bill Condon (The Greatest Showman, Beauty & the Beast 2017) attached to direct. He’d written it with two time periods in mind, and for at least the first one, it wouldn’t have been the blend of action and horror that The Mummy tried to go for. Set in the 1870s similar to other Frankenstein films, the early parts of the film would’ve been a “lavish, beautiful, gothic horror production.” That was the plan for “the first 30 or 40 pages,” after which the Bride would’ve “gone inert” before being reawakened 150 years later in our current present.

But then The Mummy came and fizzled out, taking the Dark Universe with it. Koepp later rewrote the script to be considerably smaller, but that also didn’t work out. He’s since left the project, and while he doesn’t know what’s happening with the new attempt at a remake, understands that this is just part of the screenwriter gig. “Bride is a treasure, obviously, and it doesn’t belong to me. And I got two really good cracks at it, so definitely fair to let someone else have a try.”

While Universal’s trying to figure out what to do with the character, Apple and A24 are said to be taking their own crack at it. Back in 2020, it was reported that they snagged Scarlett Johansson to play the character in a modern retelling simply called Bride, where she’s a fabricated wife who escapes her husband to find her true identity and remake herself in her own image. It’s…an interesting premise, but it may have to hold you over until Universal finds a way to bring the Bride and her monstrous paramour to cinematic life a second time.

Wondering where our RSS feed went? You can pick the new up one here.