Universal Pictures’ Dark Universe is moving forward, despite the poor reception of the film’s first installment. Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Haunting of Hill House) is expected to take the lead in “The Invisible Man,” taking a spot that once belonged to Johnny Depp. Leigh Whannell is directing, writing and executive producing the movie, which is scheduled to hit theaters on March 13, 2020.

The other stars of the film include Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Harriet Dyer, and Storm Reid. Filming on the project is expected to start later this month.

The Dark Universe launched with “The Mummy” in 2017. That movie featured Tom Cruise as Nick Morton, Sofia Boutella as Ahmanet, Russell Crowe as Henry Jekyll, and Annabelle Wallis as Jenny Halsey. The movie was a financial success and made over $409M worldwide off an estimated budget of $125M. A little over 80% of that gross came from foreign markets, and domestically the film only made $80M in theaters. Critics instantly panned the film, which currently sits with 16% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. After the poor domestic showing of “The Mummy,” many believed that all future plans for the Dark Universe would be cancelled, but Universal Pictures is pushing forward with hopes of creating a series of connected films like Marvel, Star Wars, and DC Comics.

Before the launch of “The Mummy,” Universal Pictures released a photo of Depp, Crowe, Cruise, Boutella, and Javier Bardem to highlight the upcoming shared universe’s top talent. The Dark Universe was designed to connect all of the old monster movies from yesteryear, including Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Bride of Frankenstein. With Depp out of the picture and “The Mummy” a miss with audiences, “The Invisible Man” could be a standalone movie at this point, and depending on the reaction, could be the start of a new interconnected franchise.

On the bright side, it will be difficult for “The Invisible Man” to get a lower Rotten Tomatoes score than “The Mummy,” but the studio will need a lot of marketing to convince people to give the film a chance on opening weekend.

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