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Dark Army: Paul Feig Set To Bring Classic Monsters Back To Universal Studios

The "Dark Universe" is dead. Long live Dark Army!

Per a Deadline exclusive, Universal Studios is ready to take another stab at bringing monster movies back to the big screen — this time packing a frightful gang of beasts and ghouls into an Avengers-styled team-up movie called Dark Army. The studio also announced that Paul Feig — a brilliant creative mind who's worked on some of the best comedies in film and television over the past two decades — is on board to write and direct the film from an idea of his own devising.

Universal has made little secret of the fact that it really, really wants to bring back the sort of classic monster movies that first helped put the studio on the Hollywood map so many decades ago. In recent years, Universal plotted out its own extended universe (á la the MCU), dubbing it the Dark Universe and planning to bring its beloved monsters to the masses via a series of modern updates. Only one of those films made it to theaters: the Tom Cruise-starring The Mummy. Unfortunately, The Mummy failed to scare up quite enough business at the box office, and vanished from theaters faster than the Invisible Man. So too did Universal's plans to bring its Dark Universe to the masses. With Dark Army, Universal is getting a second chance at walking this particular avenue toward success.

Regarding which of those Universal monsters might be teaming up in Feig's movie, studio heads are remaining hush-hush with that information so far. It's a fair assumption, however, that producers will likely want to avoid the likes of The Mummy for now, as the film's failure is still very much in the public consciousness. It's worth noting as well that the aforementioned Invisible Man is likely off-limits as well, given Elisabeth Moss is teaming up with genre powerhouse Blumhouse for a new take on that character

The good news is that even if Feig chooses to focus on other Universal monsters, there's a deep well of classic characters to pull from — with Dracula, Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Wolf Man presumably very much in play. Of course, that murderers' row of monsters will likely feel a little familiar to all you '80s kids, as virtually the same lineup (along with the Mummy) famously teamed up for the big-screen romp The Monster Squad

To be clear, we are in no way insinuating (even as cool as it might be) that Paul Feig is out to remake The Monster Squad with Dark Army. Universal's announcement ultimately dashes that remake idea by further noting that, while Dark Army will indeed feature a few classic Universal monsters, it will also include some ghoulish new creatures of Feig's own creation. And if you think Universal is being tight-lipped about which creatures will feature in Feig's film, the studio is being just as tight-lipped about how — or even if – those creatures will one day see their own movies or possibly crossover into others. At this point, we're not even sure if Feig's film will take a comedic approach to the material, or if it will play it straight and spooky.

Still, since Universal is playing its Dark Army cards very close to the chest, the lack of info might lead one to believe the studio may see its Dark Universe to fruition after all — albeit in a dramatically different way. We'll just have to wait and see how things shake out for Feig's upcoming monster mash.

If you're wondering which actors might be appearing in Feig's Dark Army, the film is very much in the early stage of production, so no casting announcements have been made as of this writing. Given Feig's undying affinity for working with Melissa McCarthy, there's a safe be she'll turn up in the mix somewhere — and she'd be an obvious choice to play the Bride of Frankenstein. 

As for when we might actually see Dark Army for ourselves, that's still anybody's guess. Feig's Emilia Clarke-starring Last Christmas is set to hit theaters this fall, but he's already claimed the director's chair on the sequel to his Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy comedy The Heat, which will presumably shoot before Dark Army. For now, it appears we should all just sit back and be happy that Universal isn't giving up on its hopes to bring us some classic monster madness.