Theory: How The Mummy’s ending sets up the rest of Universal’s Dark Universe

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[WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING OF THE MUMMY. IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE MOVIE YET AND CONTINUE TO READ, YOU CAN’T GO CRYING TO YOUR MUMMIES!]

Right-o. The Mummy. It’s not a great film. I’ve said that enough over the last few days, and that’s not what I’m here to talk about now. See, once I accepted its terribleness I instead started thinking about what the point of it all was. Just how does it set up the rest of Universal’s monster movies? What is the game plan for this Dark Universe? Will we have a bunch of separate films – with Russell Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll and his organisation Prodigium being the connection – before we get some kind of mega monster mash-up?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe may have been the inspiration for this and just about every other shared movie universe currently out there, but that model doesn’t quite make sense for the Dark Universe. These Universal monsters are mostly the baddies in these things and definitely not the “let’s team up to save the world” sort. The Mummy director/co-writer and co-architect of this universe, Alex Kurtzman, has already indicated that they’re treating each of the subsequent movies in this franchise as separate stories and are not rushing to do a crossover film. And I’m calling bullsh#t on that!

Before watching The Mummy I was mulling over an article about who Tom Cruise could actually be playing in The Mummy. He’s description as just a soldier of fortune that gets caught up in this mystical adventure seemed a bit too low-key. In a universe of monsters and demi-gods, you don’t hire an actor of Cruise’s status to just play a generic action hero by the name of Nick Morton. Except that’s exactly what they did. At least for most of the film, because at the end of the movie in a bit of scripting that makes no real sense, Cruise became the vessel for Set aka the Devil, aka the god of evil by stabbing himself in the chest with the McGuffin mystical dagger… which is exactly what they’ve been trying to stop Sofia Boutella’s actual Mummy Ahmanet from doing the entire movie! All because Morton had somehow fallen deeply in love with the recently slain Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) after a one-night stand during which he stole from her her life’s work. What’s more, when stabbed with the ritual dagger, instead of being taken over by Set who would then go on to enslave humanity, as we had all been led to believe would happen, he instead kind of… didn’t.

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Somehow Nick Morton is able to remain fully in (Cruise) control while still having all of Set’s immense powers over life and death, which he immediately uses to destroy Ahmanet and ressurrect Jenny. Which, if you ask me, sounds like a pretty sweet heroic gig and I’m not sure why people weren’t just lining up to give it a go. The only downside here is that Morton no longer has Cruise’s poster boy looks but has instead been transformed into an actual monster. Boo hoo.

We don’t actually get to see this monster except in the most fleeting of scenes though, which Kurtzman explained to THR was a conscious decision as “what we didn’t see will be far scarier than what we did see”. Kurtzman went on to explain where these final moments of the movie finds the character, as a bandaged Morton rides off into the desert with his recently resurrected sidekick (Jake Johnson).

You are always looking for a way to articulate the big idea of the movie in character terms. This is the story of a monster of a human being, who has to be a monster in order to find his humanity. That was a cool organizing principle. Now he is, of course, filled with light and darkness. Those two elements are going to pull at him. Who knows what his monsterness will evolve into over the course of the next film? We have a lot of ideas about that. … They live in a gray area, not just the monsters, but the characters who inhabit their world inhabit a gray area, and I look forward to seeing how Nick’s struggle evolves, because he now understands the best version of himself, and yet, he’s going to have a literal devil inside of him. How are those two things going to work together?

And this is where my crazy theory for the future of the Dark Universe comes in. I think what we just witnessed in The Mummy was actually the origin story of its Big Bad. We know that Morton is out there now, trying to figure out who/what he is, all while keeping his darker side at bay. We also know that Russell Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll and Prodigium is, and will be, tracking and sometimes taking down other monsters out there, which we’ll probably see in the other movies. So what if along the way something happens that causes Morton to lose his internal battle and Set takes over? The God of Evil is fully reborn. For real this time. And just like any lord who fancies bringing about an apocalypse, he will probably want some [strike]horsemen[/strike] acolytes. Who better than the other monsters that Prodigium had been rounding up?

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So, in essence, we could be seeing characters from these other films – whether they be some of the more human “monsters” themselves, like Johnny Depp’s Invisible Man, or some other new heroic human characters – teaming up to defeat Set with the likes of Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man, the Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Phantom, etc., all in his thrall. Of course, I suspect the good guys won’t really “defeat Set” as much as they need to get through to the man, Nick Morton, and have him take control again. This setup will allow for the introduction of new characters, and get a team-up movie without betraying the scary monstrous natures of some of these classic characters and still keep Cruise, the Dark Universe’s biggest star, as the headline act while still technically being a big hero as well.

What do you folks think will happen? If you have a different theory, then sound off in the comments below!

Last Updated: June 14, 2017

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

  • I think the best thing is to pretend it never happened, and watch the Brendan Fraser movie!

    • Jim of the Banana

      Tom Cruise is a poor man’s Brendan Fraser

      • Original Heretic

        I’ve heard it said that Kevin Bacon is the poor man’s Tom Cruise.
        What does that make Kevin Bacon to Brendan Fraser?

        • Jim of the Banana

          Dear Sir! Kevin Bacon is the real deal. In a street fight, Kevin Bacon would easily curbstomp Mr Xenu (Tommy Cruise).

          • Original Heretic

            I would TOTALLY pay to see that.

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