As was made crystal clear last week, Universal Pictures is moving full-speed ahead on an interconnected monster movie franchise dubbed the “Dark Universe”. The first film in this plan is The Mummy, which hits theaters next month and is anchored by Tom Cruise, but over the past couple of years Universal has been securing talent to fill out the rest of its Dark Universe even as the films themselves don’t have directors. Johnny Depp has agreed to play the Invisible Man, Oscar-winner Javier Bardem is Frankenstein’s monster, and Russell Crowe appears in The Mummy as Dr. Jekyll and his alter ego Mr. Hyde. But now a new name has surfaced for another iconic Universal monster: Dwayne Johnson as the Wolfman.
Buried in a THR piece on Universal’s Dark Universe, the outlet notes “there are rumors” that The Rock himself could anchor a Wolfman reboot and fill that role in the Dark Universe. This wouldn’t be Johnson’s first time playing in the “Universal Monsters” sandbox as one of his first movie roles was as the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns as well as the ill-conceived 2002 spinoff The Scorpion King.
It must be pointed out that THR clearly states this as rumor and is not reporting that Johnson is in any type of negotiations with Universal at the moment, but given that he’s one of the most bankable stars around it would make sense they’d want him to be a crucial part of the growing Dark Universe. Moreover, Johnson and the studio have an established relationship on the Fast & Furious movies, with talk that he and Jason Statham may even be getting their own spinoff. So basically, Johnson has certainly had an audience with the higher ups at Universal, and given that Dark Universe is one of their priorities there’s no way the monsterverse hasn’t come up. The question is how serious those conversations have been, and whether Johnson would want to add a Wolfman franchise plus the overall Dark Universe to his already bursting-at-the-seams slate—he’s already anchoring a Jumanji reboot, a Jungle Cruise movie, and an original actioner called Skyscraper all within the next year (and I’m still holding out hope for Doc Savage).
As for whether Johnson is the right choice for Wolfman, it’s hard to say not knowing what Universal’s plans for the characters are, but personally speaking he wouldn’t be my first choice. The Wolfman is a tortured soul, a man at odds with himself, and while Johnson could certainly be physically imposing I’m not entirely sure his larger-than-life stature is a good fit for The Wolfman when he’s not transformed. But again, we have no idea what Universal has planned, so he could be the perfect fit for their specific take on Wolfman.
The character was most recently tackled by Benicio Del Toro in the troubled 2010 film The Wolfman, which found Joe Johnston taking over as director very late in the game after Mark Romanek departed over creative differences. The result was a muddled but not entirely terrible adaptation.