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Alex Kurtzman on what the ending of The Mummy means for the Dark Universe

Tom Cruise The Mummy

This article contains major spoilers for THE MUMMY, so if you haven't yet seen the film, please take several steps back and close the door behind you. Unfortunately for Universal, it doesn't take much more than a cursory glance to see that THE MUMMY hasn't gotten their Dark Universe off to the roaring start which they were hoping it would. I'd be surprised if THE MUMMY's poor reception actually stalled Universal's new franchise, but I'd imagine that there's been some scrambling happening behind the scenes to make sure that the next film, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, is a bigger success. We'll be getting into spoilers below, so consider this your final warning.

During the finale of THE MUMMY, Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) sacrifices himself in order to defeat Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) and resurrect Jennifer (Annabelle Wallis) by fusing himself with the Egyptian god Set. No longer a man, Nick Morton has now become a monster, complete with bandages, and rides off in search of another adventure. Dr. Jekyll (Russell Crowe) comments that they may one day need a monster to defeat a monster, and that there's still hope for Nick so long as he retains a shred of his humanity.

While speaking with THR, director Alex Kurtzman teased what Nick Morton's power over life and death means for the future.

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?

It remains to be seen whether there will ever be a sequel to THE MUMMY, but Kurtzman said that "it's entirely possible" that Nick Morton could show up in one of the other Dark Universe films. Alex Kurtzman also commented on the choice to give Tom Cruise a Mummy makeover.

It was definitely a conscious choice, and it was a choice that evolved out of a lot of design work. You always want to throw a lot into the design work. We did designs where you turned Tom into an absolute monster and you can't recognize his face. We did a version where we went halfway and you saw and there were just little details. At the end of the day, I subscribe to the "hide the shark" theory. If you give the audience just enough that their imagination can run wild, it tends to be far more effective than just letting them see everything in the harsh light of day. That led to the idea that what we didn't see will be far scarier than what we did see. We actually used a fair amount of the design from Tom looking like a full monster in the one moment when he screams over Jenny. Because it's so fast, you can't quite process exactly what it is. You can tell something is very wrong, but you can't quite tell what it is. The choice to play their scene with Tom essentially in silhouette was very much designed from the idea that what you don't see is going to be scarier, and there's a subjectivity to the storytelling in that moment, because she's trying to see him as we're trying to see him. I'm kind of tying her experience to the audience's experience and hopefully it makes you lean in a little more to wondering what it looks like.

THE MUMMY is now playing in theaters, so be sure to check out a review from our own Chris Bumbray!

Source: THR

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