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Well, a very sad bit of news has hit the web Underworld fans.
It looks like everyone's favorite guilty pleasure vampire vs. werewolf series is finally getting rebooted with a few slight changes to the cast.
The vampire huntress star, Kate Beckinsale, has confirmed that she will not be returning as the lead character in the next Underworld installment. Instead, the reins are being passed to someone that is, for the better part of the word, underwhelming.
Theo James, who was recently seen opposite Shailene Woodley in Divergent, will be returning to extend his role from Underworld: Awakening (his role was essentially 10 minutes of screentime). The fifth installment of this franchise is reportedly launching with James as the lead and two uncast female leads in an effort to milk more money out of this vampire-like franchise...
It just keeps getting resurrected.
I've been a huge Underworld fan since I first saw it on TNT when I was 15, but even as a fan of this saga, I have to say that this is a huge mistake.
First of all, this series has been well known for having a strong, butt-kicking, independent, and attractive female lead to drive the series to both male and female audiences. Granted, while Beckinsale was dressed in a skin-tight leather outfit, this degrading factor was quickly vanquished as she proved herself to be a competent fighter and solo performer. (Superhero movies, take note.)
It's kind of a slap to both the series' and audience's face by replacing a female lead with a male lead, which is about as original as sliced bread. James has been in one blockbuster movie and hasn't really convinced me that he's a leading man (I'm talking to you Divergent). Beckinsale had a few impressive acting credits before she became the vampire Selene, and even after she continued to build an impressive resume.
However, these movies weren't well known for their success at winning over critics, which should have been the studio's first clue to kill the franchise after the critical failure of Underworld: Awakening (which scored 26% on Rotten Tomatoes).
The fact that they are deciding to "reboot" this franchise with a male lead is clearly an act of desperation to keep Underworld alive.
They've had to put their faith in a side character introduced in the last film, and whom hasn't proven himself to be anything other than a piece of meat to entice the ladies.
The fact that Beckinsale has decided not to return is clearly a sign that this Gothic-action saga has clearly lost its touch and needs to be shelved.
We can all go back and enjoy the early films that were so dumb they ended up being entertaining, but we now live in an age where action movies can have great stories and performances. As audiences, we expect a lot more from movies than what Underworld is willing to offer, and this is why further Underworld will probably financially and critically fail miserably.
I really hate to say this, but even as a fan of this franchise, I'll admit that it just needs to stop at this point.
By: Matthew Romeo
(Anything said on this blog does not represent the ideas or beliefs of the station of WHAN as a whole, all of these statements are held responsible by the writer alone)