Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Guillermo Del Toro Regrets Passing Up Offer To Take Control Of Universal's Monsters

Guillermo del Toro has had so many ideas that didn't come to fruition over the course of his career, his unrealized projects have their own Wikipedia page. But amidst all of those non-starter projects, the director says he only has one real professional regret: that he didn't take control of Universal Pictures' monster properties when he had the chance.

Del Toro revealed his one regret in a discussion with the New York Times journalist Logan Hill following a recent screening of his well-received new movie, The Shape of Water. In the freewheeling, fifty-minute conversation, the Mexican filmmaker said that he was offered creative control over several of Universal's classic monster properties a decade ago—and that instead of pursuing the project, he turned the offer away.

"The only time I repent I didn't do something", del Toro said, "was 2007, when Universal, in an incredibly gentle and beautiful manner, said, 'Do you want to take over the monster universe?' And they gave me the reins of several properties, and I didn't do it. That I repent. This is a confessional moment. That I repent."

As you know, Universal went on to attempt to create its own shared cinematic universe of monster movies this year, launching its "Dark Universe" brand with the Alex Kurtzman-directed, Tom Cruise-starring The Mummy. It went poorly. 

Del Toro says the reason he doesn't have any other professional regrets over the course of his film career is because his mistakes have generally made him a better filmmaker. For their part, the people in charge at Universal are also certainly learning some hard lessons from past errors, at least regarding its Dark Universe; the intended follow-up to The Mummy, a remake of Bride of Frankenstein, is now stalled, and the people who spearheaded the concept have now left their Universal posts.

Del Toro didn't go on to discuss what he may have done with the properties had he taken up the offer to be the head wizard of the Dark Universe. It's not even certain that he would have established a shared universe; in 2007, Marvel Studios' groundbreaking cinematic universe was still an untested idea, with its Iron Man still a year out from release. 

But shared universe or no, anything could have arguably been better than the soulless exercise in franchise-building that was The Mummy. As it stands, Universal's Dark Universe is dead just out of the cradle, with the only things that commemorate it ever having been here being a pointy logo, an awkward photoshoot, and the most thoroughly embarrassing movie of Tom Cruise's career.

Aside from this one missed opportunity, things appear to be going well for del Toro. The filmmaker recently announced a year-long sabbatical from directing, but is still serving as a producer for many other projects, like the successful Netflix series Trollhunters. His latest, The Shape of Water, will be out in wide release on December 1.